A good incremental backup program

Would like an incremental backup program that does not compress or encrypt. Basically, I want the backup to look like the file system on the hard drive. I guess this is obvious, but after the first initial backup where everything is backed up, then in later backups, only modified, new or deleted files are updated. Any recommendations?

Based on your stated use-case you may want to investigate using rsync.

There are some good examples of using rsync here:


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Hello Gary

rsync also has a GUI front-end called Grsync. If you look at this post:

The video gives you a good introduction to Grsync. :slightly_smiling_face:

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The problem I have is "Windows on the brain" I guess. My son, who has wanted me to switch to Linux "forever" finally got his wish. He recommended UnbuntuMate LTS because I'm not a hobbyist like he is. I just want a stable OS that looks and works the same long term. He explains that Linux is mostly business oriented, so I find that the backup programs are for backing up the "enterprise" to the "cloud" or another server. I'm just A guy, with A computer (no network) and an external hard drive and I want a program to back up my data incrementally...which to me means that I edit files, delete files, rename files, move files around on my hard drive and I want a backup program to make incremental copies of my files and file structure on my external drive so I can view and access those files unencrypted and uncompressed on another computer, in case mine crashed, and I would see the same file and folder structure I'm used to and the same filenames I'm used to and be able open those files from my external drive. My son says that the GUI part of Linux is only a couple percent of the user community and it is way more oriented to business. So maybe what I want just doesn't exist. The backup program that came with MATE 19.10 is of the compression and encryption variety...basically gobbledegook when I look at the files. I don't want to lose my stuff. I want a safety backup program that after the initial backup of everything, will then only update the files that have been created, edited, changed, deleted, renamed, etc.

Hallo Gary

That is exactly what Grsync does. :slightly_smiling_face: You just set up the source (highest level in your tree) and destination folders (on your backup drive), set the parameters (take the time and watch the video all the way to the end - there's lots of really useful information on how to use Grsync in there), and off you go. Remember to use the button that allows you to do a trial-run before you actually press "backup".

By the way, hearing your "use-case", I would recommend that you format your backup drive with the "NTFS" file system. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you. I will attempt to get this program. One thing I DON'T like about Linux generally is that it assumes much knowledge of its users. As near as I can figure out, Grsync is a GUI program sitting on top of Rsynch program and each has to be installed separately. Back when I was in Windows, I'd download a program, run the 'setup' program in it, and I had a new program. I guess one doesn't do that in Linux. And then there are dependencies and repositories...WTF. I just can't install the d*** program and learn to use it. Sorry, am whining. I have to learn more about Linux than I care to. I'm a user, not a hobbyist interested in the Distro of the week, like my dear son. Sorry, am whining again. Anyway, I am grateful for your assistance. I'll see if I can figure this out. Merry Christmas.

Quick question. What application in Windows are you using to perform this type of backup?

Your stated use case is closer to mirroring rather than incremental backup.

The included Backup application installed in Ubuntu MATE is Deja Dup. It uses an application called duplicity on the backend.

Deja Dup does compress the files it backups up. However you can set it up to not use a password.

You can backup to a variety of locations including a local drive. You can restore data from that drive to another system.

Jason Evangelho has written a nice introduction to _Deja Dup and he links to a video he has produced about it.

Good luck, hope this is helpful.

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I have been using LuckyBackup on many distros for a number of years.
the defaults are suitable, but after using it for a while I have learned that it is quite "powerful".
Install and try! It just works.

Hy Gary,
the best I can recommend is FreeFileSync. I also tried some other solutions and found this program the best for my needs.


I had not heard of the program before. Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

I was using a program that came with the WD external HD I had bought. After I switched to Linux, I deleted the program. Then my son says there is a program called Wine that allows one to run Windows programs in Linux. The little Windows program did exactly what I wanted the way I wanted. Wish I hadn't deleted it. I did try deja dup. When I saw the, as I put it, "gobbledegook" it turned my backup files into, I gave up on it.
It is amazing to me how complicated this backup problem seemingly is and how complicated it is to fix it in Linux. I 'm used to downloading a Windows program, running a setup program and it installed. If I don't like it, I uninstall it and try something else. I keep running into roadblocks with Linux. Someone suggested I try Grsync. The screen shots looked good. Downloaded it. It has to be compiled first. I figured out what that meant, though I don't have a clue how to do it... maybe my son knows. Is it because there are 'zillions' of different Linuxes that each program has to be tweaked to run in each specific or version of distro? There is apparently no backwards, forwards or sideways compatibility. Then I found stuff for an earlier version of Ubuntu and it wouldn't run in this later MATE version. Linux seems like "the wild west" to me....no rules, everybody does their own thing. Maybe I'll look at deja dup again. At least I don't have to do anything other than just install it...and then it works!