Timeshift phantom backups

So lately I have been having some weirdness relating to timeshift.
Inside the timeshift ui application, it lists 7 backups.

Whenever I update package, it will throw me a bunch of errors for the directories of various backups, saying something about being read only.

after a long while, it will complete, and show me a list of 14 backups.

How do I delete these obsolete backups from the list?

It really takes a long time to go through 7 backups that don’t exist.


They do seem to exist.

I tried to delete them manually from /run/timeshift/backup/timeshift-btrfs/snapshots, but I can’t.

It seems locked.

There’s a link to a lock file at


Thanks in advance.

Can you not delete them within Timeshift UI?
I’m pretty sure using timeshift to delete them is the proper way.
Though to be honest i do not use btrfs with my system.


Half of them don’t show up in the timeshif UI.

Also if timeshift isn’t running the directory /run/timeshift/ doesn’t seem to exist.

I am updating right now, and one of the updates is timeshift. Maybe it will fix itself in a little while.


After todays update, they OS no longer boots anyway.
I will end up having to reflash this machine with something.

What a pain.

Another Edit: I was able to get back into the OS with time shift.

I will wait before updating again.

You can try running “sudo btrfs subvolume list /” to check what you are dealing with.

Then you can erase a read-only backup, say “2021-09-19_04-56-38” with “sudo btrfs subvolume delete /run/timeshift/backup/timeshift-btrfs/snapshots/2021-09-19_04-56-38/@”

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When I try to list subvolumes, I get an error “btrfs subvolume list: exactly 1 argument expected, 0 given”

What argument would you suggest I give it?

It is a “/”. Run “sudo btrfs subvolume list /”


That Works!
Thank you so much.

I wonder what caused this problem in the first place, but I will deal with it this way for now.

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