Doing backups with Ubuntu: again with Back In Time

In the past, I’ve always used Back In Time to do my data backups, then I switched to DejaDup when it became the official Ubuntu backup tool in 10.10.

I’ve been quite happy with DejaDup: simple and neat interface (maybe even too simple), easy to use, solid.

The problems with DejaDup started when I wanted to search for a particular file across the backups. I was sure it was there, but I couldn’t remember in which backup (the date of the snapshot) I included it. DejaDup doesn’t provide a “snapshot browser” as Back In Time does and it is not possible to browse the data directly on the storage device as it is archived in tar format.  The only option is to recover a snapshot by its date.  In this situation, the lack of a more advanced set of functions made me fell helpless.

I don’t want to talk about the features of Back In Time here, as they are well documented on the web site along with some nice screenshots, but about why I preferred it over DejaDup. A single reason:

  • Backups are stored in plain format (files and folders) on your storage device, with the same directories structure of the source data

This implies a whole set of benefits:

  • Control: you can browse a snapshot with your favorite file browser or even with the very rational Back In Time interface. You have everything under your control (“Was that folder included in the backup?” Just go and check it!)
  • Portability: you can extract the data you need from the storage device even if the backup application is not installed. As long as the OS of the computer where you need to extract the data is able to read the file system of the backup driver, you can get every file you need

In conclusion, I installed Back In Time and re-started doing my incremental backups with this very nice tool.

If you want to give it a try (gnome and kde versions are available from Ubuntu repositories):

sudo apt-get install backintime-gnome

or

sudo apt-get install backintime-kde
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