Timeshift: One external drive to backup 2 different systems

I want to know if i run into issues, if i want to backup my PC and my Laptop with Timeshift on the same external HDD and how i can see what image i created to know if it was for the PC or for the Laptop?

btw. all 3 Drives using Ext4.

Thanks in advance

You cannot do this on the same volume, because timeshift uses the mountpoint /run/timeshift/backup for that, which would cause your backups to get mixed up. And given that timeshift uses rsync and makes hard-links for files that have not changed since the previous backup, it would be a recipe for disaster.

What you could do on the other hand is create two partitions on that drive, and use the first partition for the backups of the desktop and the second partition for the backups of the laptop.

So, in practice, say that you create a /dev/sdb1 partition and a /dev/sdb2 partition, and then you tell the timeshift on the desktop to use /dev/sdb1 as the target, and the one on the laptop to use /dev/sdb2 as the target.

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Would it work by regrouping backups of the same system under a sub-directory on the backup drive, and manage mount points so that the right directory gets mounted to /run/timeshift ?

Backup drive:
|\ desktop
||\ 2022-01-01
||\ 2022-01-02
|\ laptop
||\ 2022-01-01
||\ 2022-01-02
mount UUID=backup-disk-uuid /mnt/timeshift
mount --bind /mnt/timeshift/desktop /run/timeshift

No, because timeshift has its target directory hard-coded in. It will automatically mount the volume that you’ve designated as the target, create a directory /timeshift in the root of that volume (unless one exists already), and then use that as the parent for its snapshots.

The problem is also that it will automatically mount the root directory of the target volume at /run/timeshift/backup, without looking at any existing mounts or at /etc/fstab.


Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are looking to set 2 profiles, 1 to back laptop and the other to backup you PC.
However, timeshift doesn’t allow that.
It only knows the one location to backup locations.

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Thanks to solve my question Aragorn, i also want to thanks the others too.

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Timeshift is meant for snapshots. It’s goal has never been to create backups, those you usually store on other drives in case of a drive failure.

For that, if you would use BTRFS, there is btrbk, which is really nice:

If you use Ext4 there are plenty of other tools.

Not quite. If that were true, then it wouldn’t offer you a choice to use either btrfs snapshots or incremental rsync backups.

I read in another Linux Forum that BTRFS is a very complex Filesystem and that it can be really dangerous to use it, if the user is not aware of its complexity. I have no idea if this is really true or not, maybe its worth it to verify that.

I personally have zero experience with this Filesystem and me as a linux noob (maybe best… average linux user). I also don’t think its smart to use all possible Filesystem, maybe there will sooner or later corrupted files if i copy+paste files from btrfs>ext4>exfat and so on, i think i better stay away from this stuff.

I actually just see in the options in Timeshift that its possible to create a Full Backup with ext4 Filesystem. So why i shouldn’t use it?
I read the biggest improvement and in combination with Timeshift to use BTRFS on Manjaro install to choose Snapshots in Grub, instead booting into another Kernel or boot from USB Liveimage and chroot, if something goes wrong, its just faster to rollback.

Do you encounter bugs or had bad experience when backup with Timeshift? Why you recommend btrbk above Timeshift?

There are some experimental features, but i don’t see a risk using it for its basic, default ones, which have long matured now.

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