Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time
April 12, 2023 17:05
October 28, 2008 11:48
December 8, 2015 22:06
January 22, 2017 23:41

Build Status Coverage Status Source code documentation status

Back In Time

Copyright (C) 2008-2022 Oprea Dan, Bart de Koning, Richard Bailey, Germar Reitze, Taylor Raack

It is an easy-to-use backup tool for files and folders. It runs on GNU Linux and provides a command line tool backintime and a Qt5 GUI backintime-qt both written in Python3. It uses rsync to take manual or scheduled snapshots and stores them locally or remotely through SSH. Each snapshot is its own folder with copies of the original files, but unchanged files are hard-linked between snapshots to save space. It was inspired by FlyBack.

You only need to specify 3 things:

  • What folders to back up.
  • Where to save snapshots.
  • The backup frequency (manual, every hour, every day, every month).

Maintenance status

The development of this project has been dormant for a while. But a small team has started in summer 2022 to get things moving again. Stick with us, we all ♥️ Back In Time. 😁

We are currently trying to fix the major issues while not implementing new features. If you are interested in the development, please see CONTRIBUTING.


Documentation, FAQs, Support


Back In Time is included in many distributions. Use their repositories to install it. If you want to contribute or using the latest development version of Back In Time please see Build & Install in our There you will also find the dependencies.

If your GNU/Linux distribution don't offer an official package for Back In Time please open an issue there and let us know about it. Until then you can use the following alternative options.

Alternative installation options

PPA for Ubuntu and Debian-based distributions

There is a PPA (Private Package Archive) with current stable version (ppa:bit-team/stable) and a testing PPA (ppa:bit-team/testing).

# You can ignore "Warning: apt-key is deprecated..." for now (see issue #1338)
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bit-team/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install backintime-qt


sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bit-team/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install backintime-qt


There is an AUR package backintime that also includes the GUI (backintime-qt).

# You need to import a public key once before installing
gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 615F366D944B4826
# Fingerprint: 3E70 692E E3DB 8BDD A599  1C90 615F 366D 944B 4826

tar xvzf backintime.tar.gz
cd backintime
makepkg -srci

An alternative way of installation clones the AUR package which has the advantage to use git pull instead of downloading backintime.tar.gz to be prepared to build an updated version of the package:

git clone
# Optional: Edit PKGBUILD to comment the `make test` line for the first-time installation of version 1.3.2 or less
cd backintime
makepkg -si

Known Problems and Workarounds

File permissions handling and therefore possible non-differential backups

In version 1.2.0, the handling of file permissions changed. In versions <= 1.1.24 (until 2017) all file permissions were set to -rw-r--r-- in the backup target. In versions >= 1.2.0 (since 2019) rsync is executed with --perms option which tells rsync to preserve the source file permission.

Therefore backups can be larger and slower, especially the first backup after upgrading to a version >= 1.2.0.

If you don't like the new behavior, you can use Expert Options -> Paste additional options to rsync to add --no-perms --no-group --no-owner to it. Note that the exact file permissions can still be found in fileinfo.bz2 and are also considered when restoring files.

Non-working password safe and BiT forgets passwords (keyring backend issues)

Back in Time does only support selected "known-good" backends to set and query passwords from a user-session password safe by using the keyring library.

Enabling a supported keyring requires manual configuration of a configuration file until there is e.g. a settings GUI for this.

Symptoms are DEBUG log output (with the command line argument --debug) of keyring problems can be recognized by output like:

DEBUG: [common/ keyringSupported] No appropriate keyring found. 'keyring.backends...' can't be used with BackInTime
DEBUG: [common/ keyringSupported] No appropriate keyring found. 'keyring.backends.chainer' can't be used with BackInTime

To diagnose and solve this follow these steps in a terminal:

# Show default backend
python3 -c "import keyring.util.platform_; print(keyring.get_keyring().__module__)"

# List available backends:
keyring --list-backends 

# Find out the config file folder:
python3 -c "import keyring.util.platform_; print(keyring.util.platform_.config_root())"

# Create a config file named "keyringrc.cfg" in this folder with one of the available backends (listed above)

See also issue #1321

Warning: apt-key is deprecated. Manage keyring files in trusted.gpg.d instead (see apt-key(8)).

In newer Ubuntu-based distros you may get this warning if you manually install Back In Time as described in the Installation section here.

The reason is that public keys of signed packages shall be stored in a new folder now (for details see

You can currently ignore this warning until we have found a reliable way to support all Ubuntu distros (older and newer ones).

This issue is tracked in #1338.

Tray icon or other icons not shown correctly

Missing installations of Qt5-supported themes and icons can cause this effect. Back In Time may activate the wrong theme in this case leading to some missing icons. A fix for the next release is in preparation.

As clean solution, please check your Linux settings (Appearance, Styles, Icons) and install all themes and icons packages for your preferred style via your package manager.

See issues #1306 and #1364.

Problems in versions older then the last stable release

Incompatibility with rsync 3.2.4 or newer

The release (1.3.2) and earlier versions of Back In Time are incompatible with rsync >= 3.2.4 (#1247). The problem is fixed in the current master branch of that repo and will be released with the next release (1.3.3) of Back In Time.

If you use rsync >= 3.2.4 and backintime <= 1.3.2 there is a workaround. Add --old-args in Expert Options / Additional options to rsync. Note that some GNU/Linux distributions (e.g. Manjaro) using a workaround with environment variable RSYNC_OLD_ARGS in their distro-specific packages for Back In Time. In that case you may not see any problems.

Python 3.10 compatibility and Ubuntu version

Back In Time versions older than 1.3.2 do not start with Python >= 3.10. Ubuntu 22.04 LTS ships with Python 3.10 and backintime 1.2.1, but has applied a patch to make it work. If you want to update to backintime 1.3.2 in Ubuntu, you may use the PPA: see under INSTALL/Ubuntu PPA.

March 2023