What is a good system backup program?


Just wanted your view on the best backup program which can do following:

  1. Backup system
  2. Backup home
  3. Backup to separate ntfs drive (inside veracrypt encrypted partition)
  4. Compress
  5. Incremental backups.
  6. Delete backups older than X version.

I'm considering between:
A. Timeshift
B. Borg backup
C. Back in time
D. Deja dup.
E. Clonezilla
F. Anything else you suggest.

TimeShift can't backup to ntfs and doesn't seem to have compression so thats not ideal.

Clonezilla can't backup to partition that is already mounted, which means it can't backup to a veracrypt data partition. That kills this option for me.

Borg backup seems to be able to do everything in 1-6. Also it has deduplication, so the final result is much smaller. On increments its extremely fast.

I haven't used dejadup or backintime much but they don't seem to have compression, although can save to external ntfs drive.

I'm leaning towards borg backup, but not sure if its going to mess things up with symlinks or other things I don't understand.

Any advice on best backup with above criterion would be appreciated.


1 Like

Check out vorta. It is a GUI front-end for borg. Depulication, compressions, encryption, etc all supported.

You get real deduplicated backups, not snapshots like timeshift.


I use vorta gui for borg. thats def what I'm leaning towards.

Just did a backup of my windows partition with vorta on borg. 18G compressed/dedupliated into 6G.

Waiting to see result of manjaro backup with borg.

Just wondering what I'm missing as to why timeshift is the default in manjaro when it seems so lacking compared to borg?

  • Timeshift is very easy to use
  • Timeshift is a good at taking and reverting system snapshots

Some people use it as a general purpose backup tool but that isn't really what it is.

AW 'cmon ..... you guys can't do this to me!

I was finally just getting comfortable and settled in with daily system snapshots using TimeShift and hourly backups of my home directory using BackInTime. Did a few practice recoveries of my system figured I was doing pretty good. Almost felt like I knew something about Linux and Manjaro .....

And now you have to tell me about this shiny borg/vorta combination that might be better?!?!? Guess I'll have to check into these and test run a few more recoveries.

ok, already hit my first snag with using vorta/borg.

tried putting / root as source and less than 1kb got backed up then finished?

I thought maybe no access rights, so I ran sudo vorta and same result.

Came across backupninja which promises to be a helpful front end for borg/duplicity and more for system backups. This got me further with 200mb but it gave up as the include folder list didn't match manjaro. might try playing around with this.

If somebody has figured out a way to run borg while logged in for same system backups that would be ideal. I'm thinking it would probably worked if I ran it off a live usb to backup my installed manjaro but thats too much headache.

Dejadup seems to be most viable at present. Its a front end for duplicity and seems to be a native gnome app. It allows destination to veradisk partition and it compresses aswell. still not as good as borg as it doesn't have deduplication, but this will have to do until I figure out live system backups with borg.

found the answer.


apparently it can do it. woohoo.

just need to test this.

voila it worked.

This archive: 8.14 GB > 2.94 GB

8gb compressed and deduplicated in 2.9gb

no errors.

below is command I used. If you have better idea on which directories needed or not, pls suggest.


borg create --stats --compression zstd,9 --one-file-system --verbose --progress --exclude-caches --exclude '/var/cache/*' --exclude '/var/cache/*' --exclude '/var/tmp/*' --exclude '/home/*/.gnupg' --exclude '/home/*/.local/share/Trash' --exclude '/home/*/.Trash' --exclude '/home/*/.thumbnails' --exclude '/timeshift' --exclude '/mnt' --exclude '/dev' --exclude '/proc' --exclude '/sys' --exclude '/tmp' --exclude '/run' /mnt/veracrypt1/bak/borg/manjaro::{now:%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S} '/'

actually duplicati is probably better than all as:

  1. It deduplicates/compresses almost aswell as borg

  2. has really simple gui and daemon to do smart backups per day/week/month/year automagically without any effort once setup.

  3. can do all above + if needed save to cloud encrypted on anything rclone can use as backend.

  4. accessible from linux/windows/mac whereas borg is only linux based.

Duplicati wins it seems.

Be careful with duplicati. I used it before switching to borg. Twice I have backup sets become unrecoverably corrupt.

Backups are useless if they don't work when you need them.

advice needed from manjaro experts on below comment

## locally-mounted-filesystem repo

once you start doing "sudo borg create", your repo files will be owned by root and also your borg cache might be in /root and be owned by root (depends on sudo options). if you then use borg as non-root, you'll run into permission issues when accessing the repo files and either the same for the cache files or you'll have 2 different caches, one for root and one for the non-priv. user (might be a space and time consumption issue).

Does above mean my solution won't work for borg? might have same problem in duplicati with permissions on a restore.

If so, only solution might be to use dedup or timeshift backup which is borged offsite?

It just means that you always need to run it as root. You can't run it as root sometimes and not others.

Ultimately, if you want to backup /, you need to do it as root.

As long as your data set isn't too large, restic is another option. It can run on Windows and you have more options for remote backups.

Ultimately, I chose borg because it is rock solid and the way it stores data works really efficiently with rclone to put the data in the cloud.

thanks for that.

i gave up on restic as it doesn't have compression / deduplication.

borg doesn't have rclone backends.

duplicati has best of both worlds. I hear the point about corruption, but i've never had a problem with it locally or on cloud so far.



How many times have you had to restore from your borg backup? I have to admit, I find the compression to be a bit enticing - but I guess I've got a little fear of the unknown


I haven't been forced to yet but I do test restores regularly.

I have tested restoring small file sets directly from the cloud and larger restores from the local repositories.

IMO, borg is one of the most mature backup solutions for Linux.

If you encrypt your backups. Make sure you have a copy of the ecryption keys somewhere safe.

results so far....

  1. Borg restore whole system failed. I booted up from live manjaro and restored whole system on hd from borg backup. On reboot it failed. I think it may have something to do with the permissions/ hard/soft links?

  2. Timeshift worked well generally. Restore a few times and it worked well. Later, I kept trying to restore to a point before installing nordvpn and it failed each time. Seems its not 100% reliable on manjaro.

Booted up from live usb and tried to restore timeshift this way. It refused to restore as hd installation is on an encrypted partition.

  1. Dejadup. Did a full system backup and it failed to backup some files/folders. Must be permissions issue again. Didn't try running as root. May have to try that next time.

  2. Clonezilla. Useless to me, as it can't save system partition on encrypted drives/partitions using veracrypt (for compatibility with windows).

  3. Backintime, Duplicati - I think these will run into same issue as borg for system files. Possible permissions/hardlinks etc.?

I've run out of linux options for full system backup that is completely reliable.

Does anyone have any other options?

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