This is the twelfth in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For this article, we’ll look at Timeshift, a graphical and command-line tool similar to the System Restore functionality offered by Windows, and the Time Machine Tool in Mac OS. For details of all tools in this series, please check the table at the summary page of this article.
Timeshift is a GTK3-based, open source, system restore utility which takes incremental snapshots of the system using rsync and hard-links. These snapshots can be restored at a later date to undo all changes that were made to the system after the snapshot was taken. Snapshots can be taken manually or at regular intervals using scheduled jobs.
This application is designed to protect only system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are not protected. This ensures that your files remains unchanged when you restore your system to an earlier date.
For the avoidance of any doubt, if you’re looking for a complete backup solution (including data backups), you’ll need to use different software.
The developer provides 32-bit and 64-bit packages for Debian/Ubuntu based distributions. But most other good distributions also provide their own package.
The developer has absolutely no plans to support flatpak, AppImage, or snap.
The developer does, however, provides the full source code, which you can download, compile and install.
The software requires very little configuration. There’s a helpful wizard which makes this step straightforward.