My final goal is to have a full backup of the system (like time-machine) and use it to reinstall it in case of disaster. The intermediate goal is to backup all the working areas more times over the day.

Well, I followed all your suggestions: removed deja-dup installed Backups using apt-get didn't backup the root (not yet applied the suggested patches to incorporate /)

but the result is always the same. it looks as there is some corrupted data: Note the the final message is always the same!!!!

Traceback (innermost last):
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1555, in <module>
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1541, in with_tempdir
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1393, in main
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1511, in do_backup
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 572, in full_backup
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 454, in write_multivol
    (tdp, dest_filename, vol_num)))
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/asyncscheduler.py", line 146, in schedule_task
    return self.__run_synchronously(fn, params)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/asyncscheduler.py", line 172, in __run_synchronously
    ret = fn(*params)
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 453, in <lambda>
    vol_num: put(tdp, dest_filename, vol_num),
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 342, in put
    backend.put(tdp, dest_filename)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/backend.py", line 395, in inner_retry
    % (n, e.__class__.__name__, util.uexc(e)))
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/util.py", line 79, in uexc
    return ufn(unicode(e).encode('utf-8'))
 UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xe2 in position 37: ordinal not in range(128)

The configuration is now:

Folder to save: /etc /dev /run /bi /sbin /snap /sys /proc /opt /media /root /lib64 /lib /srv /var /usr /mnt
Folders to ignore: Trash, /backup, /git, /neo4j, /sys_backup /home
Storage location: Local folder - /sys_backup
  • Why are you running a snap version of deja-dup when Backups (same thing) is included in 18.xx? Also, you wouldn't use deja-dup to backup /. – heynnema Mar 20 at 17:28
  • Well, I uninstalled DejaDup and trried to search for Backup, but nothing happened. I did sudo apt-get install Backup put nothing was found. The only I found to install is 'command 'backup' from deb openafs-client` ` So, the answer at your question is: I didn't find any Backup, and decided to install DejaDup. Any idea how to retrieve and install the original one? The only I found is command 'backup' from deb openafs-client – Paolo Di Pietro Mar 21 at 9:02

Uninstall the snap version of deja-dup, and install the non-snap version. Use deja-dup to backup specific folders in your home directory (not all of / or ~/).

sudo snap remove deja-dup # remove the snap version

sudo apt-get update # update the software database

sudo apt-get install deja-dup # install deja-dup

Install timeshift and use it to backup system/OS files...

The closest thing to a Windows-like restore point is by using Timeshift. I use it to save snapshots to an external USB hard drive. Although it can, it's normally not used for backing up your /home directory, just system-level changes. Use Backups (Déjà Dup) for backing up /home files.

Timeshift is a system restore utility which takes snapshots
of the system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be restored
at a later date to undo system changes. Creates incremental snapshots
using rsync or BTRFS snapshots using BTRFS tools.

More information at https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift

Add the PPA and install with:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa

sudo apt update

sudo apt install timeshift


Dejadup works fine for root. You just have to do it right.


I suggest you separate your system and user backups.

It would probably be helpful if the application detected this pattern and advised the user of this alternative method.

  • I didn't find sudo deja-dup-preferences Any idea how/where to find it? – Paolo Di Pietro Mar 22 at 16:24
  • @PaoloDiPietro You can't find it because it's been removed. Great... Honestly, A backup that complex is better done using duplicity directly. Run it as root via a cron and make sure it preserves permissions/ownership. Example, wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/duplicity#Front-ends – ppetraki Mar 25 at 13:00

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