Question about cloning system

Asked by pacomet

Hi everyone

I have recently installed Timeshift and started backing up my system. It runs fine storing snapshots in /timeshift. But I would like to save images to another device in case there is any problem with the disk so I can boot from the cloned one.

My system has 4 HDD (1 TB) and I would like one of them to be a clone of the system disk. I see the clone device option in timeshit. My question is, will cloning format or delete data that is actually on the target disk? Should I save that data before cloning? Will it be an exact copy/mirror of the main disk?

Thanks in advance


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Tony George (teejee2008) said :

Cloning will not format or delete data. It will copy all files from the snapshot to the target partition and then make some changes so that the cloned system boots properly. /etc/fstab will be modified and Grub2 will be installed to the MBR of the target device.

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pacomet (pacomet) said :

Thanks for answering. When I proceed to cloning to another device a message appears telling / will be mounted in /dev/sdd1 which I understand it means that in case of restoring /dev/sdd1 will be mounted as / partition. Is it right?

When I accept another message appears telling

"Files will be overwritten on the target device!
If restore fails and you are unable to boot the system,
then boot from the Ubuntu Live CD, install Timeshift, and try again."

What does it exactly mean?

Why if cloning/backing up the messages are all about restoring? Maybe I don't understand because of my english but I expected to find a clone/backup button, not a "Restore" one.

I just want to have a clone of /dev/sda1 on /dev/sdd1 to boot from there in case of disk problem.

Thanks again

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Tony George (teejee2008) said :

yes, that's right. /dev/sdd1 will be used as the root (/) of the cloned system. Your current system /dev/sda1 will be copied to /dev/sdd1.

Any system files on /dev/sdd1 will be overwritten with files from your current system.

Cloning and restoring are almost the same hence some of the messages are re-used.

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Jon Biddell (moldor) said :

Hi Tony,

I have a similar issue, but slightly different. I have Timeshift running on 3 laptops - one is my "server" (my main workstation), plus a Chromebook and a "sacrifical" laptop for testing. They all save backups to /home/timeshift.

What I would like to be able to do is specify an NFS share for my backups, which will be on an external USB HD on the main workstation. For example;


Then the Chromebook would backup to;


At the moment I'm using rsync to copy the local backups over to the right area, but as we both know one day I'll forget to do it and the machine I'm working on will crash, taking my Timeshift backup with it.

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Tony George (teejee2008) said :

Timeshift uses hard-links to share common files between different snapshots. NFS shares do not support hard-links. You can copy the snapshots manually as you are doing now but the shared files will get duplicated and the snapshots will occupy a lot of space.

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