Alternatives to the OS X “Time Machine” program for Ubuntu and other Linux users

Make Tech Easier has a few articles online that mention programs that Ubuntu users (and possibly users of other varieties of Linux) can install that more or less emulate the “Time Machine” feature of Mac OS X. The first article is from back in 2008:

Time machine For Ubuntu? Try Timevault and Flyback

The problem with the software mentioned in that article is that neither has been updated in years. However there is a much newer option, that would probably be the best choice for many users:

Automate Your System Backup With Back In Time

That one backs up your entire system, or anything you tell it to. The is one additional newer option:

Restore Your Linux System to Earlier Date with TimeShift

The problem with that one is that as the article explains, it will “…only backup and protect system files and settings. It doesn’t handle your data and document…” and apparently that’s by design. So if that’s what you’re looking for – and it could be useful, particularly if you like to try the latest and greatest versions of your system software – then go for it.

And yes, we are aware that some experienced Linux users will skip the GUI’s and just create their own backup schedules using rsync, but the problem with that is that a lot of newer Linux users just can’t seem to grasp rsync, nor do they want to. They just want a convenient backup program that’s at least somewhat akin to Time Machine on the Mac. And we’ve previously posted articles or links related to Grsync : Graphical rsync backup tool on Ubuntu (12.10 / 13.04 / 13.10), Redo Backup and GPartEd Live to backup a working system and restore it to a new (possibly larger) drive, and Disaster recovery with MondoRescue. So, there are many options out there for Linux users, and if you have a favorite one that we’ve missed (non-commercial only, please), feel free to leave a comment and let us know!

EDIT: Some additional links we’ve created or come across since this article was originally published:

Easy Linux backup software with Time Machine like functionality | (TechNotes)
Link: Time Machine for every Unix out there (TechNotes)
Attic – Deduplicating backup program (Ubuntu Geek)
Backing Up on Linux with Duplicity (
Disk ARchive (dar) – “dar is a shell command that backs up directory trees and files, taking care of hard links, Extended Attributes, sparse files, MacOS’s file forks, any inode type (including Solaris Door inodes), etc. It has been tested under Linux, Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, MacOS X and several other systems, it is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).”
Relax-and-Recover – “Relax-and-Recover is a setup-and-forget Linux bare metal disaster recovery solution. It is easy to set up and requires no maintenance so there is no excuse for not using it.”
Rsnapshot (Rsync Based) – A Local/Remote File System Backup Utility for Linux (Tecmint)
Time rsYnc Machine (tym) – “A backup utility with the approach popularized by the Time Machine of Apple.”

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