Lets Simplify Backups

When you store information on your computer you need a way to back it up. This information it important. It required time, effort and focus to create it. Loosing that data is like loosing $500 out of your pocket which is how much you could be paying to recover it. Backup your data regularly. What I realized, the easier it is to backup your data and restore it, the more often you will do it.

I looked through my “Ubuntu software center” program in search for some easy backup programs. I found a backup program that allows you to take snapshots of your data, either just files or folders. The program I ran into was called “Back in Time“.

For a brief definition of this program, it is a tool that allows you to backup your most vital data by selecting files, or folders, choose where to store them, take a “snapshot” of them, and place them in your preferred storage location.

Creating snapshots was easy as well as the installation. When you can easily backup data with little knowledge of the program, it makes the program much more useful. Though knowing a program in-and-out is invaluable, sometimes you want something that just works the moment you use it.

When you first launch the program, you are given a configuration window where you must select a snapshot profile, which is the ID of the backup. By default, the first profile is named “Main Profile“. This profile is required in order to launch any backups. It cannot be remove nor skipped in the configuration. You are not allowed to edit the profile’s name. I found this a little awkward.

I setup the “Main Profile” snapshot to backup my entire user profile. Which was everything, even hidden files. My profile is important, so I am taking no chances.


Screenshot - 01262014 - 02:24:00 PM


The next step is to select a location for the snapshot. When backing up your critical data, it is best to place them on a storage medium that you can easily disconnect from your computer, like a USB storage drive.

I had a spare hard drive I was going to use as one of my main storage devices. Unfortunately, it was giving me I/O errors. There was something wrong with the internal operations of the drive. This was just a software test, so I use a backup partition on my primary hard drive.

The next configuration on the same tab is to configure a backup schedule. You have options of minutes, hours, days etc. I actually setup the program to take a snapshot every hour. For some reason, it do not take the next snapshot automatically until I rebooted the system. Something that needs to thoroughly played with. I left it disabled.

On the next tab is where you select the files you want to backup. You can select single files or folders. The folder I selected was my entire profile folder, which was more then 10 GB in size. The rest of the tabs are extra options if you want to extent the functionality of the program. I kept things basic just to see how well the program functions at its basic level.

back in time file selection
After you setup your backup parameters, you are taken to the main window of the program. The user view is displayed in three panes.

snapshot of profile folder

The first pane on the left lists all the snapshots you have taken under the snapshot’s profile name along with the date it was taken. In the middle, is the backup folder that you selected to backup which is located under the “Backup Folders” category title. Clicking on that folder will show you everything in that folder that has been backed up. Above that category is the “Global” category. There you see the hard drive’s “root” directory and the “home” directory. You can use these links to navigate through your file system. “Back in Time“, has a built-in file manager.

The pane on the far right lists all the files and folders in your backup snapshot. You can check the files to confirm they are intact by opening them, or just to see if the files that you backed up, have been backed up.
Back in Time” was actually straight forward and pretty simple to use. Simple enough, I decided to create another backup folder called pictures. Just having fun.
Leave your thoughts and comments below about what you have learned from using “Back in time“.


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