Context: I was thinking about making snapshot for safety reasons, so I downloaded Timeshift but once installed, I have to make a choice between Rsync and BTRFS Snapshots

I already read the documentation:



Question: But considering I'm really new to system restore point and snapshots, I can't figure out which one should I choose, and what's the difference ?

3 Answers 3



Timeshift works in two modes: Rsync mode and BTRFS mode.

In the rsync mode, snapshots are taken using rsync and hard links, and common files are shared between the snapshots to save disk space.

In the BTRFS mode, snapshots are taken using the BTRFS file system. BTRFS is supported on only systems having an Ubuntu-type subvolume layout.


  • BTRFS is a filesystem that needs it own partition to store its backup.
  • RSync could save data anywhere, it's more flexible.

I have Rsync option checked in my TimeShift settings, because it is easier to setup than BTRFS— I use TimeShift to restore from little oopsie like theme misconfiguration, wrong package version etc. it's work quite well.

If you required more intermediate case, go for BTRFS then. You're creating a snapshot of your system on the same partition to which you can roll back.

  • 1
    BTRFS is a filesystem that needs it own partition to store its backup. This is not true. BTRFS is a file system that is usually in its own physical partition. It does not require another physical partition to store the backup. Jul 30, 2023 at 0:27

A Btrfs snapshot is done in 1 second. rsync takes much more time. So Btrfs snaps are super handy.


The really main difference is that RSYNC can create snapshots on an external disks. Not the same BTRFS. So, if your need is to prevent an unrecoverable crash of your hard disk, you must use RSYNC. After that using a live boot media (pendrive or DVD) you can install on the live boot media Timeshift and the restore your system from the external difk.


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