If there is an application, does it work like "Time Machine" where it save backups of your computer and if wanted, go back to an earlier time on the computer for example where an virus was not there?

Here is an definition of Time Machine that Apple wrote:

Time Machine is the built-in backup that works with your Mac and an external drive (sold separately) or Time Capsule. Connect the drive, assign it to Time Machine, and start enjoying some peace of mind. Time Machine automatically backs up your entire Mac, including system files, applications, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, and documents. But what makes Time Machine different from other backup applications is that it not only keeps a spare copy of every file, it remembers how your system looked on any given day—so you can revisit your Mac as it appeared in the past.


You could give a try to Back in Time. It is in repository.

In documentation he explains why he do it.

Why did I write the application ? When I read about Apple’s TimeMachine I thought it’s nice tool to have. I searched for equivalent applications for Linux and I find TimeValut and FlyBack.

Since February I'm making backups with it, but never had tried a full or partial restore.

It uses rsync and not the mechanism like inotify used by Time Machine. So it is running every x time and not each time the file is wrote.

  • So you recommend Back in Time as a good equivalent to Time Machine? – jaorizabal Mar 15 '12 at 0:04
  • I prefer "Back in Time" in favour of "Déjà Dup" because it has more granularity when do the backups and keeping backups. During some time I've it configured to make backups every 10 minutes and it doesn't go very well, mainly because the destination disk was full. Now with backups every hour, I'm only notice is there when I undock the laptop and the usb disc goes away and it warns it doesn't have the destination disc :) Recovering files with GUI is ok, but my full recommendation it will be when I restore my computer from a crash without the application it works well. – Pipe Mar 16 '12 at 12:12
  • Link is broken. – Wildcard Jul 21 at 23:27
  • Links updated... – Pipe Jul 23 at 9:07

You could do a full backup of the root folder "/" with Déjà dup, the default backup client of ubuntu. When restoring you can use a live cd to avoid your system entering in a weird state.

  • Will backing up the root folder backup files on separate physical drives? Will it mount those drives if it needs to? – opensourcechris Dec 24 '12 at 13:38

You might also consider TimeShift. The project page is on Launchpad.

Timeshift's main use is to create a system restore point before making (potentially risky) system changes, as stated on the web site:

TimeShift is similar to applications like rsnapshot, BackInTime and TimeVault but with different goals.

TimeShift is designed to protect only system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are excluded. This ensures that your files remains unchanged when you restore your system to an earlier date. If you need a tool to backup your documents and files please take a look at the excellent BackInTime application which is more configurable and provides options for saving user files.

  • I have not used it myself, but it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to download the deb package for TImeshift as you will need to install it on any livecd you boot from in order to, hopefully, recover the system. If your livecd is not on the internet, you wont be able to do it. – pierrely Jul 24 at 7:06

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