Does anyone have a backup solution that will provide a bootable backup of elementary juno on the regular?

Coming from mac, I remember the days before time machine, and they were not pretty.

In short, my preferred strategy would allow me to:

Every morning boot yesterday's bootable backup and begin working. This way, I immediately know, for certain, whether yesterday's backup is viable.

Otherwise, one ends up needing to restore one day and realizes that, for some reason, the latest backup is not booting.

I have tried:

  • Deja Backup
  • Timeshift
  • Back in Time
  • Clonezilla

Clonezilla is the only one that will provide a bootable clone, but that said I was not able to boot the clone I made.

I feel like Clonezilla is the way, but could use some company trying determine the best method of using it.

My guess is that someone reading is the lead admin at a lab running elementary on a bunch of machines and has this method on lock- and may be even netboot to boot... to boot.

  • Have you looked into [timeshift](github.com/teejee2008/timeshift )?
    – dsSTORM
    Feb 13, 2019 at 16:27
  • Yes I did try timeshift and had restore problems. Very possible they were user errors. But also "It is designed to protect only system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are excluded." I have heaps and piles of config files in ~/.local and ~/.config. These user files are essential to my system setup. That said I DO prefer to backup personal media files like pics, vids, and music seperately from a bootable backup.
    – Winston
    Feb 13, 2019 at 17:40
  • Yes but there is an option to back up files too. Anyhow what it does is back up your configuration files so that you can boot back into a working configuration. I would say to give it another try (it is generally seen as the macos time machine equivalent afterall). Apart from timeshift you've otherwise excluded all the gui options that I know of, you could try to use rsync via command line but that's beyond my expertise.
    – dsSTORM
    Feb 13, 2019 at 17:44
  • ok thanks for the encouragement! will give timeshift another shot
    – Winston
    Feb 13, 2019 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


Winston, I used Clonezilla to maintain bootable images of both Mac and PC workstations in an enterprise environment. Although, to achieve a bootable image I booted off a USB drive with the latest version of Clonezilla specifically created for that purpose. Then I would save the image to an external (read: USB) drive. Since that time, we have moved away from "monolithic" imaging and have turned to OS imaging and managed software installation (see Munki).

In the end, Clonezilla is the only product that I have encountered that will create bare metal (read: bootable) images for Windows / Mac / Linux clients. I believe the one exception maybe Apple's new APFS file system (that replaced HFS+), but I'm sure a solution is on the way...

In my test network, I am backing up to a server through the SMB protocol and the Deja Dup Backup tool (available through AppCenter). This is not a bootable backup but a selected backup of the critical areas of my Elementary OS (Juno) system.

I hope that helps.

  • Thx K, good to know you had clonezilla working.
    – Winston
    Feb 18, 2019 at 23:41

I haven't tried a backup solution I liked using or really trusted. Clonezilla seems particularly counter intuitive IMO.

When I thought "bootable" backup I thought a script that rsyncs to an external HDD, rsync the EFI partition to a small FAT32 partition and rsync the rest to a large EXT4 partition. It would just be an exact copy of the moment you last ran the script though, there wouldn't be a GUI listing other days and weeks etc.

rsync copies in a much smarter/faster fashion than cp (etc) if it's updating an existing group of files, I think most backup GUI's use it behind the scenes.

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