Using Systemback

To get Systemback, see -

The developers ppa says (as of May 2nd) * DEVELOPMENT SUSPENDED * which is not too surprising.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nemh/systemback
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install systemback

Having problems? See -

Get newer versions of systemback? See -

Creating a Live System

After installing Systemback, you should find its launcher in Applications-> System Tools-> Systemback. Launch Systemback and create the live system.

You must supply your password to get to this dialog box. Click on "Live system create".

Supply the name of your (new) live system, replacing "auto". If the live system is to be used as your personal backup, rather than a means of creating duplicate installs on other computers, check the option "include the user data files". You can also set the Working directory where you store live images and isos. This directory must be a writable linux filesystem - no fat, exfat, fat32 nor ntfs directories or partitions can be used for storage. You also have the option to delete previous live systems here if desired. To continue, click on "Create new".

Systemback creates a live system backup. This takes a bit of time and Systemback displays a progress bar.

After Systemback has finished creating the new live system, it offers you the opportunity to write the system directly to a pen (USB flash) drive.

Insert a flash drive if you haven't already done so. Click on the circleback green arrow to refresh this dialog box. The "Write target" box should display a pen drive. Click on a created live image and click on a target drive. The "Write to target" Live operation becomes ungrayed and available. Click on "Write to target".

You will see a confirmation dialog box. Click on Start. System back writes the new image to your flash drive. A progress bar is displayed.

You may also create an .iso from the created live image. Click on your new live image. Then click on Convert to ISO.

Installing the Live System

I searched for the most recent remarks concerning systemback in the Ubuntu forums. The thread below mentioned installing ubiquity as an alternate (and familiar) way of installing the systemback created iso and/or the live system. Ubiquity worked as a familiar installer but ignored my entrance of a different user name, a new password and a new hostname instead installing as me, using my password and using the same hostname as the backup.

sudo apt-get install ubiquity-frontend-gtk

I have used a systemback USB key to reinstall MATE 16.04 several times. Booting the live system lets you see how your custom install runs on different hardware. But to install, select "Boot system installer" at the Systemback custom grub prompt. The installation of the backed up system starts encouragingly. The first screen lets you name a new user, a login name, a user password, and a host name. I used a somewhat flippant example as a test. I then clicked on >>Next.

Partition Settings. Some of the options here will really screw things up so be careful. Don't ask me how I know...

(You may want to make this dialog full screen in order to read the partitions available. Or you can resize the dialog box by clicking the mouse on the lower right corner.) I selected a partition, /dev/sda8, selected my mount point as root ( / ), left format to ext4 checkmarked and then clicked on the left pointing green arrow. The partition appeared under the new mount point column. The >>Next button also became ungrayed.

I selected the swap partition, /dev/sda5, selected its mount point as SWAP and clicked on the left pointing green arrow. It also appeared in the new mount point column. I could not get my data partition to mount as I wanted so left that to later cleanup after my install. I left Grub2 bootloader as Auto and checked Transfer user configuration and data files. I then clicked >>Next.

A confirmation dialog box appears. "Install the system using the following restore point: Live Image." I clicked on Start. Systemback displayed an "installing the system" screenlet. In about two minutes, I saw "The system install is completed." I clicked OK. A screenlet appeared announcing that the computer would reboot in 30 seconds. When it did, my custom Grub screen appeared and I booted into my system as it was when I had last backed it up.

The system loaded slowly as it was "new", and my data partition was not mounted so I had to edit fstab. I also had to renew my symlinks to my data partition. Things went fairly well after that. If you have questions, I'll try to answer them.


Cool! Help me understand. If I do this, I am able to “backup” my live system and replicate the exact same system on another device?

@orschiro Short answer - yes.

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You can use directly the "system copy "tab to replicate your system.
In some systems is needed to purge casper and install live­boot and live­boot­initramfs­tools packages.
Now, it is UEFI compatible.

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Okay, so I have used Systemback for a few years to help maintain a rescue pen-drive for my 32-bit elementaryOS system, (very much based on Ubuntu). This time round, I wanted to use it to clone my main laptop to another 32-bit laptop, (yes, I like keeping these old laptops out of landfill …), fitting that with a 500GB HDD … So, I used Systemback to write a live system to the 500GB HDD but when I booted from it, it seemed to have only 4GB available for my files, and weird things like the cd-rom drive had turned into a mount point and every time I tried to “copy system” or “install system” I found myself on a page in Systemback with only greyed-out options and no green >>NEXT>> button. I did some screenshots to show the problem but, oh I find no way to save them on that system. Folk who’ve used Systemback will understand what I’m talking about here and thanks for reading.
So, any comments or questions to clarify my statement of the problem, all very welcome.

The live system is meant to be written to a USB drive and then that USB drive is used to install the systemback image to a hard drive.

supertuxkart mentions using a system copy tab to directly replicate your system to a hard drive. Perhaps that is what you might try next.

Otherwise please follow my directions given above. If you have a problem, please post in Support & Help. Good luck cerij.

This is a truly great topic & thread MDooley - thanks for making it !!!

Systemback is my go-to tool for imaging & cloning.

Today I tried to install it onto a friends new NB PC only to find that under 18.04.4 that is a total no-go using the same info I've been using.
(The NEMH source is no longer valid...)

I did manage to fiddle it into installing from an archive, but frankly I am uncertain if I could duplicate those steps !!

Looking at the Launchpad page of Sonicwalker has me scratching my head as I see neither any version of it aimed at 18.04 - or any way to download it.

Would someone please explain what is a truly working method to get it installed into 18.04 at this late date ??


I searched for the last download that I used in 18.04. Please see -

which is in Italian and which I don't pretend to understand. However, I clicked on the download link within the page which led me to -

where I chose to use the direct download rather than Save to my dropbox. I was then prompted by a dialog box to either save or open with Engrampa.


I saved (to my downloads folder). I also tested the dropbox download which worked. From there you can install and use Systemback within Ubuntu-MATE 18.04.

I booted into my install of 18.04 and looked at systemback using Synaptic. This is what I found:

I personally haven't used Systemback since 18.04 replacing it with Clonezilla which I use from Parted Magic. For details on that, please see -

For the curious, see the following pages found when chasing down the Italian page: where the author presumably downloads and installs systemback. I didn't test these instructions for accuracy or reliability. where supposedly systemback is still undergoing development. Also not tested for any sort of reliability.

Good luck computerguy.

Thanks Again MDooley !!
Clonezilla cannot make the terrific live install media that Systemback makes - which is precisely what I've used it to make for years.
I too use Parted Magic quite a bit - mostly as it boots quickly & is the easiest way to use GParted on newer h/w IMO.

To add a bit to your entry=>
The 'Linuxbabe' page info no longer works;
The Kendek page had no direct download that I could find.

What my earlier entry was aimed at was getting a direct path from the extracted archive to the final installed result, as the file failed when I used it & I am uncertain what I did next that completed the failed attempt.

Aside of all the aforementioned, it'd be great if someone could figure out how to make a DEB of this app, perhaps via using Debhelper...
I've used it before when I had exact instructions to do so and it worked very well to make a DEB from installation files, but trying it again for something else minus exact info didn't work for me.

IMO, to be able to make a bootable live media of an exact, preferred OS setup - and to also have the option of making an exact duplicate system from that setup in just minutes from that same media, gaining another totally ready to use PC is pure OS nirvana !!

The most I've ever had to do after restoring from a Systemback media is to use Boot Repair Disk to correct GRUB2 - which takes an additional few minutes.

It is my hope that this wonderfully good & useful tool remains around for a long, long time !!

I'm not sure what has prevented you from installing the 18.04 compatible version of systemback as you provided no details.

Here is what I did in 18.04. I brought up the directory where the systemback install tool resides on my system, a sub-directory of Downloads.

I then used the open terminal command that can be found in Caja extensions.

and followed the provided instructions in the readme.txt by entering the command - sudo ./ After providing my password, I saw the following:

Perhaps you also made it this far?

Thanks for replying here MDooley !!
No problem here using the CLI, running install scripts, etc. .
As said in my prior entry here=>

The version I got was not from the same site as yours and did not have an OS selection menu at all.
I ran the install script - it finished with a non-detailed failure message, and then I did something else that I cannot quite recall (sorry !!) and it opened & ran fine.

Now I have started playing with 20.04 on an older NB PC as well.

I visited that site you showed above and grabbed that version, but also noticed a newer entry in the sidebar mentioning 20.04 - so I also followed the link for the newer version to an english page at SF, here:
Hopefully that'll keep me & others using Systemback for quite a while !!

It may be good, but for now SystemBack is really broken with latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS version - see

and on

Restored system misbehaves solidly.


Sorry to hear that !!
I can always use Macrium Reflect or even Clonezilla if I must...sigh.

ReDo has been revived and there is a forked version of called Rescuezilla that is based on Ubuntu 20-04. These are similar to Clonezilla except they have a GUI and some utilities. Rescuezilla is also planning to become fully compatible with the Clonezilla image format, as well as develop additional graphical frontends.

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In the past I was always a ReDo devotee, and was delighted when it was revived.
When that news reached me I grabbed the ISO & gave it a spin & was delighted to see that it worked after being sort of MIA since 12.04 .

It is good in a pinch - but still pales when compared with Systemback=>

  • It is not installable or useful from a running system;
  • It has limited functionality & basically only backs up/restores in a single lump without the added options in Systemback;
  • It has no liveboot installer.

As of this minute - until something better appears for 20.04 - if/when I need to create a transferable image, I'll just use Macrium.

Time for some good news so much later !!

As it happens, I've watched for Systemback forks to come along with support for 20.04 and they have, along with added good stuff.

Details of the fork I've used & verified as working well on 20.04.2:
Systemback 1.8.8 2021-04-14
Brought to you by: alien-tec
Simple system backup and restore application with extra features for *buntu 20.04

The above is up to v2.0 as of 5/15 & in the files there is 'systemback-master.tar.xz' - which is not useful IMO, so when I got the slightly older version I just grabbed all the DEB files & installed them (6 of them), and the newest files are here:

There is another possibly useful fork, here:

I have not used or tested that one though as the other worked flawlessly for me.