Backing up Your Data on Your Linux System


The following article is part of a series of articles that provide tips and tricks for Linux newbies – or Desktop users that are not yet experienced with regard to certain topics. This series intends to complement the special edition #30 “Getting Started with Linux” based on openSUSE Leap, recently published by the Linux Magazine, with valuable additional information.

This article has been contributed by Stephan Barth, Technical Project Manager Maintenance at SUSE.


No single computer is one hundred percent safe. Hardware failures, virus infections (well – on a Linux system, this might be the least possible security threat, but anyways …), even thefts can happen, no matter how well you take care. If you want to reduce the risk to be left in the lurch because you lost all your data, files and pictures, you definitely should do regular backups.

Many people consider backup capabilities to be a fundamental part of an operating system. And of course Linux offers a lot of backup commands, tools and solutions-but many of them can just be run on the command line. Déjà Dup provides both for creating incremental backups: a command line option (for the hard-core techies), but also a really nice and easy-to-use graphical application.


First of all you might have to install the package deja-dup via YaST. No worries, there is an article about YaST in the Linux Magazine special edition “Getting Started with Linux” which explains the installation of extra packages – just have a look. YaST will take care that all necessary parts are installed.

First start

As soon as the installation is finished, you can start Déjà Dup from your KDE desktop menu. Click on the menu icon, go to the submenu ‘System‘, and from there, choose ‘Backups‘:

After the first start Déjà Dup offers some default settings which you can keep or change:


Make sure that you double check every option in Déjà Dup, because depending on the installation or your personal preferences, you probably want to change some of the pre-defined settings. For example, one default setting that makes sense to use is skipping the ‘Trash‘ or ‘Rubbish bin‘ folder when making a backup. On the other side, there is also the ‘Downloads‘ folders listed in the ‘Folders to ignore‘ tab. However, depending on how this folder is used, you might NOT want to ignore it in a backup run.

Déjà Dup is most powerful when it comes to the options on where to store your backup, as the tool provides a bunch of choices. You can store your backed data on the local network, or on popular Internet and Cloud services like Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage and Rackspace Cloud Files. And even if it is not the safest option to store the backup locally on your computer, it is nevertheless an option.

Last but not least you can define to automatically perform a backup regularly. If you use your Linux-based device on a daily basis, it makes sense to make a backup every day. But as a minimum, weekly backups are recommended. You can also decide if your backup should be stored for six month, a year, or even forever.

Performing a Backup

Finally, you can create an immediate backup: select the ‘Overview’ option and click the button ‘Back up now…‘. Déjà Dup might ask if you want to encrypt the backup file with a password. Especially when you plan to upload your backup files to a cloud storage provider, you should definitely use this cool feature to ensure even better protection of your data!

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  • Avatar photo Marco says:

    nice, easy and readable work. Thank you Stephan.

  • Avatar photo davidvj says:

    There is a problem with the ‘folders to Ignore’ in that many folders can not be added to the list. For instance ~/.thunderbird which can contain massive amounts of data that is already sitting on an outside server. Cache files are also a problem .. such as ~/.cache/mozilla.
    Any ideas how to solve these problems?

  • Avatar photo shmuelmetz says:

    I was expecting an article discussing the backup options available in openSUSE, possibly with recommendations and feature comparison. This article is only about Deja Dup, and a more specific title would be appropriate, e.g., “Backing up Linux with Deja Dup”. Thanks, and stay healthy.

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    Meike Chabowski Meike Chabowski works as Documentation Strategist at SUSE. Before joining the SUSE Documentation team, she was Product Marketing Manager for Enterprise Linux Servers at SUSE, with a focus on Linux for Mainframes, Linux in Retail, and High Performance Computing. Prior to joining SUSE more than 20 years ago, Meike held marketing positions with several IT companies like defacto and Siemens, and was working as Assistant Professor for Mass Media. Meike holds a Master of Arts in Science of Mass Media and Theatre, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/ Germany, and in Italian Literature and Language from University of Parma/Italy.