Timeshift GUI does not list the same number of snapshots as would be shown through ls command in the terminal

Doing ls /run/media/path/to/drive/timeshift/snapshots returns five snapshots but the GUI shows only four. The fourth snapshot listed on the terminal is missing from the GUI. This happened after a strange occurrence where I was backing up the fourth snapshot that shows up under ls, I left the GUI (didn’t close it) and when coming back, the timeshift GUI is gone, looks like it was closed for some reason. Out of worry that this snapshot didn’t finish, I created the last snapshot, which shows up both in the GUI and through ls. Should I be worried that any of the snapshots are now broken?

These are the contents of the five snapshots:

total 110488
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     1021 Mar 31 21:34 exclude.list
-rw-r--r--  1 root root      272 Mar 31 22:04 info.json
drwxr-xr-x 16 root root     4096 Feb 25 22:44 localhost/
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 66421191 Mar 31 21:47 rsync-log
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 46697262 Mar 31 21:47 rsync-log-changes

total 64884
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     1021 Mar 31 22:08 exclude.list
-rw-r--r--  1 root root      272 Mar 31 22:08 info.json
drwxr-xr-x 16 root root     4096 Feb 25 22:44 localhost/
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 66421108 Mar 31 22:08 rsync-log
-rw-r--r--  1 root root      812 Mar 31 22:08 rsync-log-changes

total 64360
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     1021 Apr  2 22:32 exclude.list
-rw-r--r--  1 root root      272 Apr  2 22:33 info.json
drwxr-xr-x 16 root root     4096 Feb 25 22:44 localhost/
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 65815031 Apr  2 22:32 rsync-log
-rw-r--r--  1 root root    67944 Apr  2 22:32 rsync-log-changes

total 63148
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     1021 Apr  4 22:21 exclude.list
drwxr-xr-x 16 root root     4096 Feb 25 22:44 localhost/
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 64647300 Apr  4 22:22 rsync-log

total 63924
-rw-r--r--  1 root root     1021 Apr  4 22:25 exclude.list
-rw-r--r--  1 root root      272 Apr  4 22:26 info.json
drwxr-xr-x 16 root root     4096 Feb 25 22:44 localhost/
-rw-r--r--  1 root root 64647444 Apr  4 22:26 rsync-log
-rw-r--r--  1 root root   791858 Apr  4 22:26 rsync-log-changes

Clearly the fourth snapshot doesn’t have some files the other snapshots do. There are changes between the third and fourth snapshots in my system, so it should have something to backup. Why this behavior?

I would suspect that timeshift crashed. Reasons unknown. In any case, at the end of a snapshot, timeshift creates a Json file, which is then used in the GUI to read the snapshot. If this file does not exist even though data exists, it will not be displayed either. So the backup was canceled and timeshift crashed. Is it possible that there is no more storage space left for the new snapshot?

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No, there was still more than 400 GB available space in my drive.

Well, then I can only suspect a hardware problem, but here I can only guess because I don’t know anything about your system. USB connection has a loose contact?

Timeshift works for me pretty well, but I don’t use rsync, but btrfs snapshots. I think it makes no sense to store snapshots (volatile backups) on external storage. They are there to recover the system, not as backup, but as quick recovery.

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Probably USB connection was shaken or something like that.
On the contrary, I like the idea of having backups and snapshots on a separate device for the obvious reason of not having the risk of losing them along with the main data when the hard drive gets compromised in any way. Also, I am using a laptop and I don’t like using some of my main drive for snapshots. If I were using a desktop CPU with slots for secondary drives, then storing snapshots there is a good option.

Well, the purpose/intention of timeshift isn’t a traditional backup and the developer makes it clear:

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 Baqpaq which is more configurable and provides options for saving user files.

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 – TeejeeTech

Backup your valuable data separately and not along with your system files.

So maybe this helps to understand:

timeshift → Windows system recovery
borg/vorta/dejadup etc. → WIndows Backup

Just saying… but do as you like.

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No, but you should remove the one that’s not listed in the GUI. The others are just fine.

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I do, the snapshots I have above only contain system files, /home directory is excluded.

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