Safe way to take backups using Timeshift on an HDD

I want to store my timeshift backups on an HDD since I am running out of space on my laptop.
I am worried that if the HDD disconnects during a recovery, then it will brick my laptop.
Is there a safe way to do this? For example, can I copy a backup from my HDD to my laptop and then do the recovery?

Come on, is this a real scenario? Don’t make things unnecessary complicated. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Sorry, I should have mentioned its an external HDD that is connected to my laptop by a USB cable. It might disconnect from some physical disturbance.
Maybe it won’t not brick my laptop, I don’t know how the backup system in timeshift works.
As far as I am aware, the recovery process replaces files in the root folder. This seems like it would cause major issues if while replacing files, the USB disconnects.
Maybe timeshift already has things in place to take care of this, I don’t know.

… and you want us make believe you are not able to avoid disturbances in ths very rare event of restoring your system? TBH, your post is close to being treated as spam.

actually dood he can just copy timeshift foloer in this external HDD
But doood a disk is a disk

This is silly.
We have a bootable USB to install right? Using an SSD, the install takes what - 5 minutes tops?
After that start a timeshift. If it messes up, then just do it again.
If it fails again, then don’t do Timeshift - just manually copy stuff - like a fresh install but bringing in important configs etc.

If you pull the plug half way into formatting your disk, yoru laptop will still boot to USB enabling you to install.

After that start a timeshift. If it messes up, then just do it again.
If it fails again, then don’t do Timeshift - just manually copy stuff - like a fresh install but bringing in important configs etc.

Right, that makes sense. Thanks.

So if the plug gets pulled, I can just copy paste the timeshift root backup to my root folder? Is there no compression or modification that timeshift does?

Yes and No.
I had problems last time I used it - I picked up a Samsung 860 Evo and set up again. Changing disks messed things up so I decided to go the Fresher install route; Then you install everything manually (not restoring the system/software) and for something like ‘easystroke’ gestures app, I browse to my Timeshift folder (first ensuring the disk is always mounted the same; /mnt/T3).

Step 1 is to take a snapshot of your fresh install with zero issues. This is important - and for this, I use my basic settings: nothing in the home folder, only system.

Step 2 is to check software and configs (for me, #1 is to avoid problems with private trackers - so qbittorrent must get seeding with folders on my two Toshiba drives so I’m prompted to get gnome-disks but can also go browse /mnt/T3/timeshift folder and access my fstab there. Certainly I don’t want old fstab lines restored when I’ve set up somethign different.

There are also issues with hooks if you have swap and/or hibernate if you restore on a changed machine. Maybe look in Timeshift settings at how to exclude your /boot folders. Certainly grub.cfg can mess you up, I had an hour figuring out why my restored system had issues with a hibernation hook, and also I didn’t make swap - but my ‘new’ system seemed to think it was missing.

But generally you do what you like, mess it up, find fixes, and restore it.

After the first time you snapshot, if you set rsync it takes longer to read the config files and compile lists than to actually copy stuff - but generally you go for coffee and come back to a rebooted system.

Some files can be copied straight, some need root permissions. Some things I copy rather than install (fonts in /usr/share and so on).

I was warned a while ago that if you include your whole home folder, then you will risk wiping a day’s work. For that reason, many folks don’t use their system drive/system home folder for saving work. I have my basic /home/Documents folder in /home/Dropbox/Documents along with scripts, launchers and other stuff (and the Dropbox folder IS part of timeshift, so that’s something to backup separately if you don’t want it overwritten).

Generally Timeshift should be changed to NOT include your /home (i.e. only include hidden configs).

Keep a couple of boot snaps, a couple of weekly, a couple of daily, and you’re good to go.

Also check out terminal, maybe cook up an alias if you can’t remember, before/after anything major you can trigger one from there with a comment:
❯ sudo timeshift --create --comments “Happy New Year”