Lost luggage

I have an old Acer Aspire 5742Z laptop, which in the grand scheme of things is known as ‘luggage’. It has a 320 Gb HDD that is probably becoming rather faulty. Both the Windows 7 and Linux Mint installations are crashing regularly and I have since reformatted it to hold Mint alone (no Windows – yay!). But… it still keeps losing data, checking the disk for errors and crashing..

So, let’s Backup any changes..?

I can’t afford a new hard drive for the old beast, so an online or network based backup system to restore the Mint installation with all of the changes  I have made or will make seems to be a super solution.

The Software Manager seems to offer no tempting solution with the terms ‘cloud backup’ or ‘backup’ apart from Dropbox, that I am already using for work data, so I opened the Synaptics Package Manager and searched again. This time I found two likely looking chaps: deja-dup and cinder-backup. So, I duly marked them for installation, applied, entered my root password and waited.

A sense of Deja-vu?

I couldn’t find cinder on my main men, but Deja-dup appeared with the name ‘Backups’, so I clicked on this. It then presented me with a window with 5 options:

  1. Overview
  2. Folders to save
  3. Folders to ignore
  4. Storage location
  5. Scheduling

All seems pretty reasonable. Overview tells me I have no recent backups and none scheduled. Two big hints 🙂

Folders to Save?

I want to do an entire backup of my Mint installation, so that seem to me like everything from ‘/’ (root) downwards. I clicked on the Folders to Save option and navigated to ‘/’ and then clicked ‘Add’. I removed the suggested ‘home’ backup, as I am after a complete system backup.

Folders to Ignore?

The next option is to choose which folders will be ignored from the backup set, and it suggests the Rubbish Bin (fair enough and the contents of my Downloads folder. Hmmm… that will have to go. If I download any PDFs or manuals or anything, I don’t want to lose them on a restore. So I click on ~/Downloads and then the ‘-‘ button and the option disappears.

Storage Location?

This is where you can enter the path to any location for your backup. I am going to use an external hard drive, but you could use a cloud or whatever in this instance. So I click on the ‘Local Folder’ drop-down and choose my external drive. I thne have to enter a path in a text fields so I enter:


as the path name (and cross my fingers!).


Under scheduling the Every Week/Month/Day option is greyed out… strange? And the system wants me to save the backup ‘forever’. Ah, I see the problem- there is a big ON/OFF slider at the top of the dialog window and the backup is turned OFF, so I slide this to the ON position. It then gives me the choice of Day/Week for the frequency and I choose ‘Day’. At the moment, whilst I’m configuring the system, and I probably am going to lose everything due to hard drive crash I’m opting for greater security.

How to get it all going?

So, how to get it all happening? I assume that at a certain time a CRON job will kick it into action, but I’d like tosee the first backup happen now to verify that all of the settings are good. Back to the Overview screen, it tells me that the next backup is today and there is a big button for me to press to ‘Back Up Now’! Guess what? I’m going to press the button..!

And it fails… It cannot create the directory: permission denied.

I then create the directory manually  on the external hard drive, and run the Backup again. Fails with the same error message. Hmmm… maybe the ‘/’ option is global and it needs the mount point of the external hard point for an accurate path?

The full path is:

/media/<username>/<External HDD name>/DejaMintBAK

So I enter this into the ‘Storage Location’ text entry box, and (crossing fingers), try again!

Ooh, it looks like it’s working. Now’s it’s asked me for an Encryption Password, so I enter one….and Away it Goes!!


Follow up – November 2015

Have tried for a few months now and the destination drive I have for backups is also faulty! (rats!) So far… no backup 😦