Recent update to V20 - Ulyana

Hi Folks,
I have an old Acer 5710 Aspire which I recently converted to Linux v19 Tricia from Vista. I was so encouraged by the change over that I didn’t think twice
before I updated it to Ulyana.
Following the update the Acer hard drive has suddenly got very little space left and (consequently, I believe) the machine is running v.e.e.ery slowly. Two
of the files,’ /timeshift’ and ‘/var’, have got very big indeed - 31.1Gb and 28.2Gb respectively. The hard drive capacity is only 70.7Gb anyway, so the
limited free space left seems to be the problem. My questions are 1) Why have these files got so big?
2) Do they need to be that size?
3) What can I do to reduce them?
4) How do I prevent them from getting bigger?
Hope you can still help me out, folks.

Best Regards to you all,

Jeff C.

I hadn’t heard of Timeshift but the link describes it as a backup creation tool that creates incremental filesystem snapshots. I am guessing that it just keeps adding them, soaking up your memory. I suggest that you have a look at the contents of /timeshift and see if that’s the case - and if so, perhaps delete all but the last few. You will probably have to do that as root.
You are not alone in this problem and in extremis you might like to look at, especially if you don’t want the facility.

As for /var: My Ubuntu 16 and Ubuntu 18 contain 7MB’s worth of backups, mostly of dpkg, but on your system it might be working in conjunction with timeshift.

Did you install timeshift, or did it come with Ubuntu19?


Hi Keith,
Many thanks for the quick response. I’m afraid I can’t say whether or not Timeshift came as part of the original package. I remember I got a bit excited when I first changed to the Linux operating system and simply went after everything (as noobs do). I infer from what you’re saying that I might not need Timeshift at all since it appears that the OS is doing the same thing and saving the result in /var. I can see here that I should study the Linux manual a bit more as I don’t yet know enough of the basic terminal mode commands to investigate (let alone manipulate) the hard drive contents. It looks very DOS-like, but I’m sure any resemblance pretty much stops right there and it’s donkey’s years since I last played with DOS anyway - those were the days weren’t they?. I’m wondering, does Ulyana enable me to control the frequency of snapshots being taken? But, hey, I can deal with that once I’ve cleared some disk space, so, first things first, I’ll be taking a look at the websites you directed me towards and pressing on from there. Thanks for restoring my sense of direction.

Best Regards,

Jeff C.

Hi Jeff,

It seems Timeshift comes as part of the Mint 20 “Ulyana” package. It’s based on Ubuntu 20 so I shall have to look carefully into it before venturing into U-20. I am still on Ubuntu-16 as each upgrade looks more Windows-like every time.

For becoming adept at Terminal Mode: if you are happy to read real books, then I thoroughly recommend “The Linux Command Line” by William Shotts. It’s even available as a free download here: file:///tmp/mozilla_keith0/TLCL-13.07.pdf. And, of course, this Forum is always available and we have very many experienced Members to advise you.

Good luck.

Hi Keith,

Many thanks for the kind words and encouragement. Yes, my recent explorations appear to confirm that Timeshift is indeed part of Ulyana. This makes me reluctant to try removing it. I’ve made some progress, however, as the app allows me to edit the /timeshift file contents. Consequently I’ve been able to free up some disk space. I can also modify the frequency of the snapshots that it makes, but I can’t seem to prevent it altogether from making more of them. It’s making incremental copies so, after the first one, which is HUGE, the subsequent others are relatively small. I find I can also direct Timeshift to store its files on a separate USB stick, rather than on the hard drive, so for the time being I’m going to go out and buy one of those, a big one.
Timeshift is making log files too. I wonder, can I simply delete them? Are they of any use if their associated Timeshift snapshots have been deleted? What do you think? Thank you, by the way, for your suggestion regarding ‘The Command Line’. I’ll be looking for a hard copy of it if they’re available, although the download will be useful in getting me started I’m sure.

Best Regards,

Jeff C.

Hello Jeff.

You’ve done some useful research that other readers will find useful.
Timeshift seems more configurable than I was expecting, which is a good thing considering how intrusive it is. Being able to store to a USB stick is very useful, although I guess one has to keep it plugged in all the time, which would be a nuisance for me. I’ve written a script to do full file backups but I’ve lost track of all the little bits of s/w I’ve installed over the years.
Log files: yes, you can delete the old ones.
Do let us know how you get on with Timeshift as I think there will be a lot of people searching for answers and keen to hear of your experience.

Command Line book: I’ve just Googled (actually DuckDuckGo which doesn’t track one’s web searches) “Linux Command Line Shotts” and it gives several hits at ~£23 and well worth it.

Best regards,

You can also set the length of time to keep the snapshot that timeshift makes of your system in the settings, also you can limit the amount of space Timeshift uses.