Top 5 System Backup Tools for the Linux Desktop (Updated 2024)

When it comes to data safety and security, Performing backups on regular intervals is a good habit that allows to recover data that is deleted due to Human errors, RAID or disk failure, File system corruption, Datacenter destruction and more. There are many system backup tools on the Linux platform, but which one is the best? Here we have collected the 5 system backup tools for the Linux desktop that are considered first when it comes to data backup.

Here is what you should consider before select backup tools for Linux Desktop

  1. Open-source software – You must use software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be and modified. This ensures that you can recover your data in case the vendor/project stopped working on software or refused to provide patches.
  2. Cross-platform support – Ensure backup software works well on the OS deployed on all desktop and server operating systems.
  3. Data format – Open data format ensures that you can recover data in case the vendor or project stopped working on software.
  4. Backup media – Make sure you can backup data on tape, disk, DVD and in cloud storage such as AWS.
  5. Encryption datastream – Ensure all client-to-server traffic will be encrypted to ensure transmission integrity over the LAN/WAN/Internet.
  6. Database support – Make sure the backup software can back up database servers such as MySQL or Oracle.
  7. Backup span multiple volumes – Backup software can split each backup (dumpfile) into a series of parts, allowing different parts to existing on different volumes. This ensures that large backups (such as 100TB file) can be stored on larger than a single backup device such as disk or tape volume.
  8. VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) – It is Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)and it is used to create snapshots of data that is to be backed up. Make sure backup software support VSS for MS-Windows client/server.
  9. License and cost – Ensure you understand and use of open source license under which the original backup software is made available to you.
  10. Commercial support – Open source software can provide community-based (such as email list or forums) or professional (such as subscriptions provided at additional cost) based support. You can use paid professional support for training and consulting purposes.
  11. Reports and alerts – Finally, you must able to see backup reports, and current job status and get an alert when something goes wrong while making backups.


Open source Enterprise ready Network Backup Tool

When it comes to open-source backup tools for Linux systems, Bacula is one of the most widely used and popular backup and recovery solutions for the Linux system. It also works on different cross-platforms like Windows and Mac OS X.

It is easy to use and efficient in recovering lost data and damaged files in the local system and remotely. Also, Bacula comes with an effective and advanced storage management solution that helps you recover all lost and damaged files pretty much quickly compared to other backup and recovery solutions.

It is the complete backup solution needed for a small or even a large enterprise to maintain and secure their data. Bacula comes with two versions, the Basic and Enterprise version. The basic version comes with all the basic features needed in a backup and recovery solution and the enterprise version comes with a lot of advanced features including Metal backup, cloud back and also backup solutions for VMs.

Get Bacula from here


Protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals

TimeShift is a backup application for the Linux desktop that aims to make creating system backups easier. It follows the same idea as Apple’s Time Machine and lets users quickly restore everything without much effort.

There are all kinds of backup applications on Linux, and TimeShift isn’t the first to try to “make it easy.” However, if you’re not a fan of dealing with system files and complicated settings, this application is the way to go!

Notable features

  • TimeShift supports backup snapshots in Rsync mode or BtrFS’s built-in snapshot feature.
  • Backups can be saved to external devices.
  • TimeShift supports per-user backups, with multiple levels of snapshots (hourly, weekly, etc.)
  • TimeShift’s robust filtering system lets users include or exclude based on custom patterns.

TimeShift is easy to install on most Linux distributions and even comes as the default backup tool on the Linux Mint operating system. Get timeShift from here.


A powerful, fast and reliable backup & sync tool

LuckyBackup is an open-source, cross-platform backup solution that uses the power of Rsync to synchronize any directory that the user specifies.

Since LuckyBackup uses the Rsync tool underneath, it gives users the ability to easily use some of its more advanced features, such as backing up to remote connections.

There are indeed many Rsync front-end applications for Linux that attempt to make things “easier.” Still, LuckyBackup manages to stand out by offering up a simple user interface and dozens of settings and options.

Notable Features

  • LuckyBackup uses Rsync underneath and has a command-line interface along with the GUI component.
  • The tool doesn’t create duplicate backups. Instead, it only syncs the changes to save you disk space.
  • LuckyBackup supports backup over networks and remote computers.

You can get your hands on LuckyBackup, their SourceForge page here.


Fast and extraordinarily versatile file copying tool

Rsync is a command-line sync utility for Linux (and other operating systems) that can keep any two directories in sync locally or over the internet. This app isn’t a backup utility and doesn’t aim to be. However, because of its many useful features, it can quickly be configured to act like one, with its support for quick, automatic syncing of files and directories.

Notable Features

  • The remote-update protocol enables speedier file transfers as it checks if the destination file already exists and stops copying the file again.
  • The delta-transfer algorithm also enables it to sync remote files easily and quickly as it doesn’t send the overall file, but only the differences are only sent and hence the sync is pretty much quick.
  • Rsync can sync files locally or to remote computers and servers.
  • Rsync supports multiple connection protocols including SSH, Rsh, etc.
  • Rsync has a robust command-line interface that is welcome to power-users.

You can get hands-on Rsync from here.

Back In Time

A simple backup tool for Linux

Back In Time is a backup tool for the Linux desktop that creates system snapshots of specific directories that the user sets in the settings. By doing this, it allows users to keep a custom backup system that is more tailored to their needs, rather than a large backup filled with things they do not want.

The application draws it’s inspiration from tools like FlyBack and TimeVault and is available on GitHub under the GNU General Public License v2.

Notable Features

  • Back In Time has an auto-remove feature that is highly customizable. Users can set it to remove backups automatically based on size and age.
  • The program has include/exclude features that can be set to customize the directories that are saved in the backup snapshots.
  • Back In Time uses Rsync to create backups.

Get Backintime from here

Read How to install and back up your Linux PC with BackInTime.


Free backup software to store encrypted backups online For Windows, macOS and Linux

Duplicati is another popular Linux open-source backup solution that is available completely free even for commercial usage. It is designed to run in various operating systems including Linux, Windows, and macOS. With Duplicati, you can easily take online backups and comes with a pause/resume feature to pause the backup process during any network issues and will automatically resume backup once the issue is rectified and the process continues from where it stopped. Duplicati also conducts regular checks on the backups to detect any broken/corrupt backup. All backups are provided with AES-256 encryption and all backups are compressed and stored on the servers.

You can get Duplicati here.

What are your favorite system-backup tools to use on Linux? Let us know on the comments below.

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