Systemback - Simple way to Backup/Restore your Linux System

Systemback makes it easy to create backups of system and users configuration files. In case of problems you can easily restore the previous state of the system. There are extra features like system copying, system installation and Live system creation. More information can be found on Systemback website.

Installing Systemback

To install Systemback in Ubuntu 16.04 you only have to add it's repository to the system and use apt-get to install it like this:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nemh/systemback
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install systemback
systemback install

To install systemback on Ubuntu 18.04/19.10/20.04

Systemback is not supported in 18.04/19.10/20.04. Its binary for Ubuntu 16.04 is compatible so we can run the following command to install Systemback on the newer versions on Ubuntu.

Note: Install with the accepted risk of running the old version.

First remove the nemh PPA if you already installed:

$ sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:nemh/systemback

Now import the GPG signing key which is available in launchpad as follows:

$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B

To add the PPA, type:

$ sudo add-apt-repository "deb xenial main"

Next update the system and install systemback:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install systemback

Restore points

Restore points work similar to the restore points in Windows, the application will create a snapshot of the current system and save it to disk, so you can restore it any time if it is needed.

To create a restore point you need to open Systemback GUI by running the systemback command:

$ sudo systemback

And it will look like this:

systemback restore

Now you simply have to press the "Create New" button (marked with blue in the screenshot) to create a system restore point. It will open a window that it will look like this:

systemback restore point

After it's finished, when you need to restore the system to that point, all you have to do is select the point from the left side and click "System Restore" button on the right side (both marked with yellow on the above screenshot) and it will restore your system to that point.

The system restore window will look like this:

systemback system restore

As you can see you have a few options, to either restore the full system or just restore the system files or user configuration files, depending on what you need to get back.

Note: You can also use the Schedule button from the main menu to automatically create restore points at a set interval.

Live system create

You can use the "System Copy" button to create a full copy of your system in case you needed, but the really nice feature it's the "Live system create" feature, this will create a live image of the current system that you can burn on a DVD or copy to a usb disk and boot it on a computer directly from that device.

To create one you need to click the "Live system create" and it will open the following dialog:

systeback live system

From here all you need to do is select the destination directory and click the "Create new" button. Conveniently after the Live image is created you can click the "Write to USB" button to copy the content on a USB stick that you can use to boot from or "Convert to ISO" that will create a ISO file that you can burn on a CD or DVD to boot from.

Systemback is a nice little utility that makes backups easy and convenient to set up.

4 Comments... add one

  1. Where does Systemback keep its files?

    I wanted to save the backed-up system to a volume on an external USB drive, /dev/sdf6. I tried to change Systemback's Storage location from /home to this volume, but the closest I can come to it,from browsing in Systemback, instead instead produces /sdf6/dev -- I don't know what this means.

    The utility produced a restore point when asked, and it's displayed by the utility, but from the file manager (Dolphin) I can't see where these points are being stored. In other words,there are no new files visible in the volume /dev/sdf6.

    Systemback also offered me the possiblity of setting the location as just /sdf6 (no /dev) but with the same result: points appear to be made, but there's nothing created in the storage location. I also looked for hidden files, but that didn't change the result.

    Can anyone familiar with the operation of Systemback give me a clue as to what's happening?
    Linux Mint Quiana / KDE

    • You can can't use devices in /dev directly. You will have to first mount that device with mount that device to a directory using the mount command like this:

      # mount /dev/sdf6 /mnt/usb-drive
      # mount /dev/sdf6 /media/usb-drive

      Be sure that the directory already exists and also depending on distribution it might get auto-mounted when you plug it in, to check that run:

      # mount

      You should then be able to use that directory to save the Systemback data.

  2. Trying to install systemback on my Mint pc but I get this,
    @OptiPlex:~$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nemh/systemback
    Cannot add PPA: ''This PPA does not support focal''.
    Is this the end of it or is there something I can do? Appreciate your help, thanks.


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