Linux is a very easy operating system to back up. All of your personal files are found in the Home directory. In a catastrophic crash, like a hard drive failure, if you have backed up the Home directory, getting everything back in working order is very simple and straight forward.
There are several different software packages that you can use to backup and restore your files. We use Luckyback which can be found in in your Software Manager. Luckybackup has two modes – regular and superuser. Regular will allow you to backup your entire home directory, where your photos, music, documents, etc are located. Superuser mode will allow you to do backups for directories like the /var/www directory where your web server files are located.
After you install Luckybackup, the first thing you will do is create a backup job. This is simply selecting the source and destination for the backup. After this is done, you can do a dry run, without actually moving any files. This will help to make sure that the backup will be successful.
As to the destination, you can use a thumb drive if you don’t have many files, or better yet, and external USB hard drive. After the backup, put the thumb drive or external hard drive away in a safe place.
When it’s time to restore a crashed computer, simply reinstall your operating system, remembering to also reinstall Luckyback, then open Luckyback and run restore!
Make sure you don’t open any applications, like your mail client or browser until after you do the restore. This will insure that directories and files that are created dynamically when you launch the application aren’t created.
If you a run web server on the machine to be backed up, and it uses a MySQL database, don’t forget to do an export of your database and save it to your backup drive too!
Luckybackup has saved our bacon more than once, and it can save you too!