Hassle-free Backup with Déjà Dup

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

May 27, 2010 GMT
Dmitri Popov

The Déjà Dup backup utility may not be the most powerful or flexible backup tool out there, but it does have its advantages. Its straightforward interface makes it dead-easy to configure backups, while the support for the Amazon S3 storage back-end is a boon for users looking for unlimited backup storage on the cheap. In addition to that, Déjà Dup supports incremental backups, and it can encrypt and compress data during the backup operation. Besides Amazon S3, Déjà Dup supports other types of remote storage, including FTP, Windows shares, WebDAV, and SSH. And you can use Déjà Dup to perform scheduled backups.

To install Déjà Dup on Ubuntu, you have to add the project's repository first using the following command:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:deja-dup-team/ppa

Use then the commands below to install Déjà Dup on your machine:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install deja-dup

Once Déjà Dup has been installed, launch it by choosing Applications | System Tools | Déjà Dup Backup Tool. Hit the Backup button to open a wizard which helps you to configure the backup.

Most of the options in the wizard are self-explanatory, so you shouldn't have problems configuring the backup settings (you can edit them later by choosing Edit | Preferences). Once you've configured the backup settings, you can start using Déjà Dup. Since there are only two buttons -- Backup and Restore -- using Déjà Dup is as easy as it gets. Better yet, if you enabled the scheduled backup option, the utility will perform the backup operation automatically.


  • Missing capability

    It would be nice if Deja Dup had the capability to restore individual files, rather than an entire backup set. The way it works is you either have to restore the backup set to an alternate directory and copy files to the original directory, or delete the original directory and hope that the restore operation does not fail and wipe out all your data. Perhaps this capability can be added to the next version of the program.
  • easy backup script

    install rsync, copy and save this snippet of bash code and make it executable.
    yes it works on windows if you install cygwin and install rsync, too.


    backup=/media/backup/ # change this to reflect your backup drive.
    home=/home/neal/ # change this to reflect your home directory.

    if [ -d "$backup" ]
    /usr/bin/rsync -vaxE --delete --ignore-errors "$home" "$backup"
    echo "Mount backup drive!"

    # end script

    Read man rsync to find out what those flags do. Basically, it copies the files and permissions, skips files that have not changed and deletes files that no longer exist in your home directory and continues if there are errors. If you need to retrieve something, mount the drive and find the file you need and copy it back.
  • Deja-dup looks nice, but what if ... ?

    What if your own hard disk gets corrupted ?
    Will you lose the password, and therefore all of the encrypted backups elsewhere ?
    Making backups of your own home directory onto some other media seems still needed for this.
  • Cutting Out Other Distributions

    Sorry for the typo, I meant to say:
    I guess the developers may welcome some help from someone who may offer to package for other systems.
  • Cutting Out Other Distributions

    I guess the developers may welcome some help from someone who may package for the systems.
  • Fedora 13 and deja-dup

    The blog post could have mentioned that deja-dup is the default backup solution for GNOME in Fedora 13. It is a useful piece of software indeed.
  • Looks good so far

    This little program looks like a very nice solution for home systems and networks. If I get a chance I'm going to see if it will handle backing up WinXX systems over samba or sshfs type mounts.

    It is a bit disheartening, though, when good projects limit themselves to only Ubuntu packages. There are as many desktop systems based on rpm out there as their are Ubuntu and tremendously more servers. This isn't a "distro war flame" thing as I am distro/package agnostic, myself. It is simply an issue of common sense. Why cut out 50% or more of your potential market? If I were able I'd take a shot at making a spec file for this. I might still try, though my spec skills are woefully inadequate, I fear.

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