Timeshift taking a lot of time to make a snapshot

I have installed Manjaro, set up Timeshift and wanted to create a snapshot before I update everything. I had excluded root and home. At the moment, the snapshot is being taken onto an USB stick, it has taken quite a bit of time, and estimates that it will take almost an hour more.

Is this normal behavior?

On a sidenote, some people don’t trust Timeshift and use Clonezilla. I’m under the impression that many Linux users use Timeshift. Is Clonezilla safer?

They are completely different tools. Clonezilla makes a 1:1 copy of the drive. TimeShift creates “system restoration points” similar to Windows if you know that feature, so you could get back to a previous system state (without touching the user files though, which is what you want). TimeShift backups are small compared to a full drive copy.

For the time it takes, it may be normal USB stick have poor performance usually. Why don’t you make your snapshots on a normal HHD or SSD (I do mine on the system disk itself).

PS: yeah also do not include /root/ and /home/ TimeShift is not the tool to properly manage user folders backups.


Backing up on usb stick - hell - YEAH - it’s damn slow :grinning:

Clonzilla is 1:1 backup (with the right settings), Timeshift is simple file backup.

Excluding / and /home makes no sense to me, i may be wrong…

No you don’t exclude / (the root of the file system) you exclude /root/ (the /root/ folder for the root user).


Thanks for the replies.

Timeshift seems to get stuck on “Synching files with rsync”.

I ran the Timeshift installation from the terminal, but now it’s even worse.

I wanted to take snapshots on an external medium. I was unaware that I will need this, so I only got a single SSD for my PC. So if I get an external HDD, it will also be connected via USB.

@omano you are correct.

first backups always take time, subsequent ones only backup the changes.

Best way to move forward - install whatever distros you want/need - Clonzilla a compressed image to whatever storage is available. I think you can backup on the same partition if you have enough space. Or the same drive - doesn’t matter. Just get a $20 mechanical drive for backups only or use an old PC/Laptop drive.

You don’t NEED external drive to do the snapshots. By default TimeShift will use the system drive to save the snapshots. Do you have free space on your system disk? If you have plenty (like 20GB) you can use this space, just reconfigure TimeShift from the GUI.
Having the snapshots on an external drive could be good too but I don’t think TimeShift snapshots are that important, I save them on the system itself as I would need them only to revert an update or to do tests on the system. I would backup personal files manually on an external drive though, but you don’t really need tools to do that (but there are some made for this purpose like BackInTime, which is recommended by TimeShift devlopers regarding personal files).

Also to add more to my previous reply, excluding /root/ and /home/ is perfectly logical to avoid backing up huge folders (home folders have games, music, images, movies, and so on…), and this way you also don’t overwrite or delete your personal files during a snapshot restoration (that could be catastrophic, imagine all your recent work done on important documents, restored to previous state when you restore a snapshot :upside_down_face:, or even deleted because they didn’t exist when the snapshot was created).

//EDIT: also I recommend to disable all the automatic snapshots and do a snapshot at some point when you fell like it before an update.

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You may be onto something there, but for example - in home i keep NOTHING, but the OS requirements - build, compile, config. Since the Microsoft disaster on / consolidation i keep everything “custom” outside.

You think you keep nothing but there are also all the user configuration for the system and programs, working directories, browser profiles… Anyway if you keep “nothing” there, you don’t want to backup “nothing” so just exclude it. Also, from TimeShift documentation itself:

User Data is Excluded by Default

Timeshift is designed to protect system files and settings. It is NOT a backup tool and is not meant to protect user data. Entire contents of users’ home directories are excluded by default. This has two advantages:

  • You don’t need to worry about your documents getting overwritten when you restore a previous snapshot to recover the system.
  • Your music and video collection in your home directory will not waste space on the backup device.

You can selectively include items for backup from the Settings window. Selecting the option “Include hidden items” from the Users tab will backup and restore the .hidden files and directories in your home folder. These folders contain user-specific config files and can be included in snapshots if required.

Note: It is not recommended to include user data in backups as it will be overwritten when you restore the snapshot.

Also on SSD my snapshot takes a couple minutes top.

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In a forum I read that somebody was advised to be extra careful and use an external medium for Timeshift snapshots. Is it impossible to mess up the system so much that the snapshots on the same SSD as the system are made useless? I don’t underestimate my ability to mess everything up.

I use regulary Timeshift befor i update my Manjaro (5.10) around 26Gbyte going on my External USB 3.0 drive Samsung Drive (formated with Ext4), it takes around 5min.

I personally prefer to include backup my Homefolder in a snapshot as im aware my settings going overwritten and because i have all my other files outside from my Linux drive, so the only stuff that going replaced and daily changed on my Linux drive are some .txt files.

I think its individual if someone exclude or include some folders, as long as the user is aware about the pro’s & con’s.

Little question, where is the difference between Clonzilla and Timeshift when i include homefolder in Timeshift it should be a 1:1 backup too, right?

Edit: i have to add that i never had to restore my Timeshift snapshot yet.

No it is not the same at all. CloneZilla literally clones the drive, as a perfect image of the disk (that you can even, I think, use forensic tools on). TimeShift creates copies (snapshot) of the system files in a folder at a given point. From (Solved ) timeshift vs Clonezilla - Linux Mint Forums

-Creates complete disc image
-Allows you to restore entire OS, including personal files, to a previous state.
-Imaging and restore is pretty slow, backup images are pretty large.
-No incremental backups.

-By default, backs up only system files
-Allows you to restore the OS if something breaks by rolling back system files. Does not roll back your user files.
-Imaging and restore pretty fast.
-Allows incremental backups - so after an initial backup creating images is even faster, and takes up less disc space per additional backup.

If you want to create complete system images of everything for deep storage or creating a second copy of a disc, use Clonezilla.
If you want something to create quick system backups to guard against potential breakage when running update manager, us Timeshift.


Yeah of course if you know and understand something you can work around it and be cautious (like people opening the file manager as ROOT…). But you don’t have a typical usage of your home folder then if you move everything elsewhere, typical user use the home folder as intended and has all his files in it. My home folder is 700GB currently, when my whole TimeShift snapshots folder is 22GB for all of them.

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I think you should be aware to wait for disconnect our USB drive, after creating a snapshot it still takes time to caching (even when timeshift is closed) and when you disconnect to early some files getting lost… get sure to wait 3-5min longer.

No make sure to unmount properly the drive and disconnect it ONLY when it is properly unmounted, if you just randomly wait random time it is still random and you could still have file corruption of some sort.
That’s true for everything else outside of TimeShift too. When you copy music, documents, and so on, always properly unmount the drive from the GUI (usually a button or menu item to click).

//EDIT: unmount operation should clear the cache and finish everything properly before it unmounts.


Sorry, i mean unmount… not physically disconnected.
If you unmount to early files also could getting corrupted.

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So the difference is Clonzilla overwritte/replace the Partition or all Partitions (on the whole disc) and timeshift just replace all the files and only on the Linux Partition “/” right? And whats going on with swap partition and bootpartition files, when using timeshift?

Hmmm if i understand this right, so Clonezilla is nice if you change your harddrive because of Partition replacing.

My initial idea was to keep the snapshot medium connected at all times. I plan to create snapshots manually, but also to schedule them for every boot.

I’m doing my best to be careful because rolling releases scare me a bit. Somebody said rolling releases are reliable, but that the users are often unreliable. This is my first Linux install (I did use Mint for weeks in live sessions).

Manjaro is my first Linux, besides Redhat Caldera that i used 1995 for a few weeks.
Im using Manjaro since exactly 1 year now and i also worried about Rolling release but besides
one time blackscreen after Kernelupdate/bootup. The Nvidia driver bug, to fix with TTY with strg+alt+F1 - F4 on Boot to replace this driver with a command.

I had no other big issues with Manjaro KDE, only little minor problems here and there.

A good way is also wait 2-3 days after new updates showed up, so people report the issues in Stable Release Tread (Stable Updates - Manjaro Linux Forum).

I personally think auto snapshots on every boot are a big waste of time, but it depends how you handle your system and what other backup drives you are may or may not using.

Stable Rolling Release Time is betwen 10-25days… so if you manually update your stable release, there should be nothing to worries.

The first snapshot and the restore to the first snapshot took a while. However, the second snapshot took a lot less time. Also, restoring to the second (scheduled daily) snapshot was a lot faster.