i'm getting ready to upgrade my 12.04 install to 13.04, but i have seriously personalized my system with external PPAs, Ubuntu Tweak, and the like. I backed up my system with Deja-Dup, and I was wondering if once my upgrade is finished, i can get all my settings back in 13.04 by restoring from Deja-Dup. Will it even be able to restore? Anyway, it's not a huge deal if it can't. I'm still going to upgrade. I have all the important stuff safe. It would just be a pain if i had to set up all my settings again. If you got any ideas, please say. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.


Short answer is no! Don't rely on Deja Dup. You are better off saving all files manually and then putting them back after your install. Here's what happened to me at the weekend:

I did a full deja dup back up on 12.04, selecting a tried and trusted external HD as backup location. No encryption on the back up. Then I did a clean install of 13.04. My first action after successful install was to restore from deja dup. No can do! It says "no backups to restore".

A look at the relevant folder in the drive shows it contains 1007 volumes of difftar.gz archived files but deja dup, which created these, does not recognise them.

I have been trying to get to the data through the command terminal but all commands are met with responses like "Command line error: Expected 2 args, got 0"

I may be able to get at this data by manual unarchiving each of the 1007 volumes but imagine the time and hassle....

Perhaps I have done something fundamentally wrong (i.e. just followed the deja dup directions). If anyone has advice it would be much appreciated.


This worked fine for me, moving from 13.10 to 14.04. The part about cloud backup using Copy.com is not necessary or required, but it's a nice additional safeguard and free. Also encrypted.

  1. Set up Copy.com (or other choice of free cloud backup utility) to sync a folder on my Ubuntu machine. Create softlinks in that folder of any files which need more immediate or constant backup -- they don't actually have to be moved into the folder since links accomplish the backup just as well. You can, however, move files into the sync folder if you really want them to exist only in your cloud backup and its local sync copies on whatever machines you set up.

  2. Create a machine-specific named backup folder for each of your machines inside of the cloud sync folder. On each of your machines, configure the ubuntu backup utility to backup your home folder to the corresponding backup folder inside the cloud sync folder.

  3. Many common apps cause slight problems with the backup app by unnecessarily setting the wrong permissions on hidden folders inside of your home folder. In most cases you can safely chown -R foo:foo ~ where foo is your username and typically your user group name. That will set all permissions recursively under your home folder such that backups will not fail for that reason.

  4. Now your regular ubuntu backups will be made and also the backup files themselves will be further backed up to the cloud.

  5. One other suggestion is to add /usr/share/fonts to your backup settings since it's no fun to go and re-download all of your preferred extra fonts after a system reinstall.

  6. At this point you can safely do a clean install of Ubuntu, like from a USB stick (recommended... just use the built-in System Disk Creator which finally works this year, no longer necessary to reach for Unetbootin, though that still works too).

  7. From the clean install, you will of course lose all your installed software and solutions for making that easier is the subject of some other post. But as far as your personal data (and fonts, if you choose), just set up Copy.com or your choice of cloud sync as one of the first things you do with the clean new system, then do the same ubuntu backup settings config as before. As soon as your initial sync completes, the ubuntu backup utility is ready to restore your home folder just as you had it before the system install. Do make intelligent choices at this point if there are config file conflicts; in some cases you may want to accept the new versions of certain files if your new OS version has made certain types of changes. But that's beyond the scope of this answer.

Good luck and enjoy the resilience and safe recovery that this brings.

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