How do I restore timeshift with full disk encryption on manjaro

tl;dr Question: How does one restore a snapshot via Timeshift, when using Manjaro with full disk encryption?

I’ve been very happy with timeshift on previous machines, so it’d be nice to continue using it (instead of, eg clonezilla). I basically have the exact same issue described by this post: Timeshift error to restore snapshot on fully encrypted installation (but that post never got resolved).

the error in timeshift

transcribing from a screenshot i’ve taken of the “target” screen’s default values

An encrypted device is selected for the root file system (/). The boot directory (/boot) must be mounted on a non-encrypted device for the system to boot successfully.

Either select a non-encrypted device for boot directory or select a non-

manjaro’s setup for context

edit: here’s what lsblk says my disk layout looks like today (I have an extra 1TB ssd, but otherwise this is what most vanilla manjaro Full Disk Encrtyption installations would look like I’m guessing):

$ lsblk
NAME                                          MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINTS
sda                                             8:0    0 931.5G  0 disk  
└─sda1                                          8:1    0 931.5G  0 part  
nvme0n1                                       259:0    0   1.8T  0 disk  
├─nvme0n1p1                                   259:1    0   300M  0 part  /boot/efi
├─nvme0n1p2                                   259:2    0   1.8T  0 part  
│ └─luks-SOME_REALLY_LONG_HASH_STRING_HERE    254:0    0   1.8T  0 crypt /run/timeshift/backup
│                                                                        /
└─nvme0n1p3                                   259:3    0  34.3G  0 part  
  └─luks-SOME_OTHER_LONG_HASH_STRING_HERE     254:1    0  34.3G  0 crypt [SWAP]

I’m sure this is really a bug in timeshift, but I figure I should post here because I never hit this issue with my non-manjaro installations (like Debian).

aaand another wonderful “hope this helps future web searchers” post :slight_smile: here’s the answer:

[Timeshift] expects /boot to be on a non-encypted partition. Encrypted boot is not supported.

from the author of Timeshift

and possibly helpful if you want to create a new partition just to make Timeshift happy, is this latter comment in the same thread: "Boot device not selected" when trying to restore a snapshot on a system with full disk encryption · Issue #280 · teejee2008/timeshift · GitHub

Hopefully this helps someone else in the future - it took me a couple hours of searching to hit upon that thread, and it’s only because I was looking for the string in the codebase, so I could start debugging, and I happened upon the closed issue… so there’s no websearch results that surface that very key Github issue … just a bunch of unresolved old forum posts.


also it’s worth noting that Timeshift is apparently non-deterministic in throwing this error. I’ve seen some references to this, and indeed can confirm that I just poked around a bunch of old snapshots and closed/re-opened Timeshift until eventually it went ahead with restore without complaining…

Sooo, some optional conclusions:

  • a) Timeshift isn’t as great as I’d originally thought
  • b) Regardless of using timeshift or not (but particularly if you use timeshift): make sure your do more than one practice restore run with your backup strategy of choice, otherwise you might have a really strange non-deterministic behavior like Timeshift’s here.

Are you asking for help or attempting to create a tutorial? :thinking:

No sorry it’s not at all obvious :frowning: I was asking for help, and then I figured out the answer and marked it as a solution. (Solution: there’s no solution - not a supported use-case by the upstream tool)

(and then the most recent reply from me was just leaving more notes for posterity’s sake.)

Are you asking for help or attempting to create a tutorial?

Just to answer this^ specifically:

  • my question: How do I get around this timeshift error [because something about the manjaro setup must be confusing Timeshift]?
  • my answer from my own reply was: oh Timeshift isn’t confused, it just doesn’t support full disk encryption user.
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