Backing Up Your Data on an Encrypted USB Drive with Back In Time

There is no doubt that we should backup our data often. Anybody who's lost data because of a crashed hard drive knows that. Backing up data can be a tedious task, but fortunately there are tools, like Back In Time, that brings it all down to a click of a button.

Back In Time is a simple backup tool for Linux, with a nice GUI, that one can use to take snapshots of pre-defined files and directories. In this guide, I'll show you not only how to use Back In Time to backup your data, but also how to store your backups on an encrypted USB drive for additional privacy and security.

Encrypting your USB Drive

  1. Start by installing cryptsetup:

    $ sudo apt-get install cryptsetup
    
  2. Open the Gnome Disk Utility, which comes pre-installed on Ubuntu (Disks), select your USB device and the partition you want to encrypt. Click on the format button.

  3. As format type select LUKS + Ext4. Enter a password, an (optional) name for your partition, and then click on Format...:
    GNOME Disk Utility

  4. Before writing anything on your USB drive, unplug the device, and plug it in again to test your password. A dialog should appear asking for your password, which you should type in. Click connect to continue:
    Unlock volume

Backing Up Your Data with Back In Time

  1. You can install Back In Time using the Ubuntu Software Center:
    Ubuntu Software Center

  2. The first time you run Back In Time, you should see the Settings dialog (if not, click on the settings button on the toolbar).

  3. In the settings dialog, click on New to create a new profile MyProfile, and then select a directory in your encrypted USB drive where your backup snapshots should be saved:
    Back In Time

  4. Click on the Include tab, and select the files and folders that you want to backup:
    Back In Time

  5. You can also select which files/folders you want to exclude from being backed up, on the Exclude tab:
    Back In Time

  6. When you are finished, click OK. On the main window, clicking on the snapshot button will backup your data:
    Back In Time

  7. A new snapshot should appear under the snapshots list. Restoring your data is just as easy. Select your snapshot on the left and file name on the right, and click the Restore button like shown in the picture:
    Back In Time

For more information, you can check the official Back In Time documentation here.