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I use Ubuntu 14.04's built-in Backup utility (backed by deja dup) and use daily backups. Every so often (every couple of months) Backup insists that it create a "fresh backup" in case of "backup corruption". I imagine that the motivation for doing this is that if the backup files themselves are on some media which may suffer bit rot from cosmic rays, current spikes, etc or aren't redundant (almost all media is like this for the average computer user), having new fresh backups from time to time would be nice.

However, there are users, such as myself, who use backup media which are much less likely to suffer from backup corruption, and don't need regular fresh backups. In my case, my backup media is a ZFS RAIDZ filesystem whose redundancy and bit-level checksumming prevents random data corruption. Additionally, creating fresh backups takes up large amounts of space (close to 1TB) and so in my case I'd rather just use the incremental backups ad-infinitum as Time Machine for the Mac does.

Is there a way, in Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty, to turn off the "fresh backup" functionality entirely? Another askubuntu.com answer hints at a "secret config key" but doesn't disclose where it is.

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It doesn't seem like there is a way to turn off fresh backups entirely, based on a comment on Launchpad:

Is there a way to completely disable the fresh backup feature?

No. The fresh backups are used for other purposes, like deleting old backups when space gets tight. If only incremental backups were used, Deja Dup couldn't do that.

However, I can approximate "never" by setting the time between fresh backups to be very long. I need to modify the Dconf setting at path /org/gnome/deja-dup/, schema org.gnome.DejaDup, key name full-backup-period. It controls the number of days before a fresh backup is made. I simply set it to 10 years (36500 days) to approximate "never".

For example, to set it to 36500 days from the command line, run:

gsettings set org.gnome.DejaDup full-backup-period 36500

I can also do this from dconf-editor (screenshot)

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You can control the full backup interval by using dconf-editor. If you open this tool and browse to org.gnome.deja-dup you will see an entry for full-backup-period which you may change.

A comment to an answer in this question suggests that the program may overwrite the values, though. Let us know how it works out for you.

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I've never used automatic back-ups. I know in the older versions, you can for sure. Try using this back-up manager. I haven't used it in a while, however.

  • Hmm... pybackpack doesn't seem to be available for 14.04 Trusty - looks like it stopped being included in Ubuntu as of 13.04. – Taylor R Oct 30 '15 at 3:51
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why not use copy and paste to backup your file? it's easy.

  • go into the directory you want to copy
  • right click on the file
  • select copy
  • go into your back-up file
  • then paste it.
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    Well, I agree that is easy for a single file, but it doesn't really answer my question - I was looking for a way to turn off fresh backup using the built-in Ubuntu Backup utility. Thanks anyway! – Taylor R Oct 30 '15 at 4:02

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