backintime (1) - Linux Manuals

backintime: a simple backup tool for Linux.


backintime - a simple backup tool for Linux.

This is command line tool. The graphical tools are: backintime-gnome and backintime-kde4.


backintime [ --backup | --backup-job | --snapshots-path | --snapshots-list | --snapshots-list-path | --last-snapshot | --last-snapshot-path | --help | --version | --license ]


Back In Time is a simple backup tool for Linux. The backup is done by taking snapshots of a specified set of folders.

All you have to do is configure: where to save snapshots, what folders to backup. You can also specify a backup schedule: disabled, every 5 minutes, every 10 minutes, every hour, every day, every week, every month. To configure it use one of the graphical interfaces available (backintime-gnome or backintime-kde4).

It acts as a 'user mode' backup tool. This means that you can backup/restore only folders you have write access to (actually you can backup read-only folders, but you can't restore them).

If you want to run it as root you need to use 'su'.

A new snapshot is created only if something changed since the last snapshot (if any).

A snapshot contains all the files from the selected folders (except for exclude patterns). In order to reduce disk space it use hard-links (if possible) between snapshots for unchanged files. This way a file of 10Mb, unchanged for 10 snapshots, will use only 10Mb on the disk.

When you restore a file 'A', if it already exists on the file system it will be renamed to 'A.backup.currentdate'.

For automatic backup it use 'cron' so there is no need for a daemon, but 'cron' must be running.


During backup process the application can call a user callback at different steps. This callback is "$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/backintime/user.callback" (by default $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is ~/.config). The first argument is the reason:
Backup process begins.
Backup process ends.
A new snapshot was taken. The extra arguments are snapshot ID and snapshot path.
There was an error. The second argument is the error code.
Error codes:
The application is not configured.
A "take snapshot" process is already running.
Can't find snapshots folder (is it on a removable drive ?).
A snapshot for "now" already exist.


-b, --backup
take a snapshot now (if needed)
take a snapshot (if needed) depending on schedule rules (used for cron jobs)
display path where is saves the snapshots (if configured)
display the list of snapshot IDs (if any)
display the paths to snapshots (if any)
display last snapshot ID (if any)
display the path to the last snapshot (if any)
-h, --help
display a short help
-v, --version
show version
show license


This manual page was written by Oprea Dan (<dan [at]>).


backintime-gnome, backintime-kde4.

Back In Time also has a website: