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Timeshift for Linux is an application that provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS. Timeshift protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be restored at a later date to undo all changes to the system.

In RSYNC mode, snapshots are taken using rsync and hard-links. Common files are shared between snapshots which saves disk space. Each snapshot is a full system backup that can be browsed with a file manager.

In BTRFS mode, snapshots are taken using the in-built features of the BTRFS filesystem. BTRFS snapshots are supported only on BTRFS systems having an Ubuntu-type subvolume layout (with @ and @home subvolumes).

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


Minimal Setup

Multiple Snapshot Levels

Rsync & BTRFS Snapshots

It is strongly recommended to use BTRFS snapshots on systems that are installed on BTRFS partition. BTRFS snapshots are perfect byte-for-byte copies of the system. Nothing is excluded. BTRFS snapshots can be created and restored in seconds, and have very low overhead in terms of disk space.

User Data is Excluded by Default

Timeshift is designed to protect system files and settings. It is NOT a backup tool and is not meant to protect user data. Entire contents of users’ home directories are excluded by default. This has two advantages:

You can selectively include items for backup from the Settings window. Selecting the option “Include hidden items” from the Users tab will backup and restore the .hidden files and directories in your home folder. These folders contain user-specific config files and can be included in snapshots if required.

Note: It is not recommended to include user data in backups as it will be overwritten when you restore the snapshot.

System Restore

Cross-Distribution Restore

Supported System Configurations


Ubuntu-based Distributions

Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary OS, etc.

Packages are available in the Launchpad PPA for supported Ubuntu releases. Run the following commands in a terminal window:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/timeshift
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install timeshift

DEB packages are available on Releases page for older Ubuntu releases which have reached end-of-life.


Fedora is not fully supported. BTRFS snapshots only support Ubuntu-specific layouts.

Take a look at the issue tracker for open issues and use it with caution.

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install timeshift

Installer can be used on the following distribution types:


Run the following command in a terminal window:

sudo apt-get remove timeshift


sudo timeshift-uninstall

Remember to delete all snapshots before un-installing. Otherwise the snapshots continue to occupy space on your system. To delete all snapshots, run the application, select all snapshots from the list (CTRL+A) and click the Delete button on the toolbar. This will delete all snapshots and remove the /timeshift folder in the root directory.

If you used the installer to install Timeshift, you can remove the installed files with following command:

sudo timeshift-uninstall

Known Issues & Limitations

BTRFS volumes

BTRFS volumes must have an Ubuntu-type layout with @ and @home subvolumes. Other layouts are not supported. Systems having the @ subvolume and having /home on a non-BTRFS partition are also supported.

Text file busy / btrfs returned an error: 256 / Failed to create snapshot can occur if you have a Linux swapfile mounted within the @ or @home subvolumes which prevents snapshot from succeeding. Relocate the swapfile out of @ or @home*, for example into it’s own subvolume like **@swap.

Disk Space

Timeshift requires a lot of disk space to keep snapshot data. The device selected as snapshot device must have sufficient free space to store the snapshots that will be created.

If the backup device is running out of space, try the following steps:

Bootloader & EFI


This is a free application that is provided “as-is” without support or warranty.

If you use Linux Mint and need support for an issue please use the Linux Mint support forums

Issues reported on the Issue Tracker will be fixed during the next update. Updates are done once a year due to lack of time and developers.


This program is free for personal and commercial use and comes with absolutely no warranty. You use this program entirely at your own risk. The author will not be liable for any damages arising from the use of this program. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


You can contribute to this project in various ways:

Timeshift is a non-commercial application. I work on it during my free time based on my requirements and interest. If you wish to support this project, you can make a donation via PayPal.


Bitcoin ~ You can send bitcoins at this address or by scanning the QR code below: