Home BorgBackup Pika Backup: The Ultimate Desktop Client For BorgBackup Users

Pika Backup: The Ultimate Desktop Client For BorgBackup Users

Secure Your Data with Ease: Pika Backup and BorgBackup Combined

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 1.2K views

Are you concerned about losing valuable photos, documents, or music from your Linux desktop? Pika Backup offers a stress-free solution! In this comprehensive tutorial, we'll learn what Pika Backup is, its features, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to install and use Pika Backup on Linux for backing up and restoring files.

What is Pika Backup?

Pika Backup is an open-source software that provides a user-friendly interface for creating backups of personal data. It's designed to be simple yet powerful, suitable to both beginners and advanced users who need a reliable backup solution.

Pika backup is powered by BorgBackup, a well-known deduplicating archiver application with compression and encryption capabilities. Since it utilizes the well-regarded BorgBackup software under the hood, it should be reliable and efficient.

Whether you're looking to backup your data locally or on a remote server, Pika Backup provides an intuitive interface that guides you through the process of creating, managing, and restoring backups.

Pika Backup Features

Pika Backup offers several compelling features:

  • Local and Remote Backups: You can create backups on various storage devices, including USB drives, as well as on remote servers. This flexibility ensures that you can secure your data in multiple locations, enhancing redundancy and safety.
  • Scheduled Backups: Pika Backup allows you to set a schedule for automatic backups, ensuring that your data is regularly backed up without requiring manual intervention. This feature is important for maintaining up-to-date backups and can protect against data loss due to unforeseen events.
  • Efficient Data Handling: By not needing to copy known data again, Pika Backup saves time and disk space. This efficiency is achieved through deduplication, a process where only unique changes since the last backup are stored, significantly reducing the amount of storage needed for backups.
  • Encryption: Security is a top priority, and Pika Backup offers encryption for your backups. Encrypting your data ensures that it remains confidential and protected from unauthorized access, making it suitable for sensitive or personal information.
  • Archive Management: Pika Backup provides tools to list created archives and browse through their contents. This feature allows you to easily manage your backups, verify their contents, and ensure that your important files are being successfully backed up.
  • File and Folder Recovery: Recovery is straightforward with Pika Backup. You can recover individual files or folders through your file browser, allowing for precise restoration of data without needing to restore an entire backup archive.

Install Pika Backup in Linux

The officially recommended way to install Pika Backup is via Flathub. Make sure you have installed flatpak and enabled Flathub remote repository. If you haven't done it already, refer the following link:

After setting up flatpak and enabling flathub, run the following command to install Pika Backup:

$ flatpak install flathub org.gnome.World.PikaBackup

Launch Pika Backup

Open Pika Backup application from the Application menu. You can also launch Pika Backup by running the following command in your Terminal:

$ flatpak run org.gnome.World.PikaBackup

Setup Backup Repository

The first step after launching Pika Backup for the first time should be setting up a new backup. Since we haven't configured any backups yet, we need to create one.

To do so, click on the "Setup Backup" button.

Pika Backup Interface
Pika Backup Interface

When setting up the backup repositories in Pika Backup software, you are given two options: either create a new repository or use an existing one.

Create or Select a Backup Repository
Create or Select a Backup Repository

Creating New Repositories

If you don't have any existing repositories and want to create a new repository, you need to choose any one of the given location choices:

  • Location on your Local Disk
  • Remote Location
  • External Drive(s)

Select your preferred location where you want to create your new backup repository.

Create a New Repository in the Local or External Disk:

If you wish to save your data on your local drive or any external drives connected to your local system, just click the appropriate location.

Enter a repository name, enter your encryption password if you prefer password-protection to your data. Then, click the "Create" button.

Enter Backup Repository Location Path and Encryption Password
Enter Backup Repository Location Path and Encryption Password

You can also click the gear button on the top to provide additional command line options. These command line arguments will be added to the call of borg binary.

Create a New Repository in a Remote Location:

If you choose to store your data in a remote location, you need to provide the explicit remote path as shown below:

ssh://user@server-ip/<path>

You should replace "user" with your remote username, "server-ip" with the IP address of your remote server, and "path" with your specific path.

Example:

ssh://ostechnix@192.168.1.50/~/mybackup
Configure Remote Repository
Configure Remote Repository

Please note, if you select a remote location as your backup repository, configuring Key-based (passwordless) SSH authentication is recommended. This setup ensures that scheduled backups can run automatically without requiring user intervention.

Using Existing Repositories

If you have already created backup repositories with other BorgBackup-compatible software, select a location that contains an existing backup repository.

  • Location on your Local Disk
  • Remote Location

View Configured Backup Locations

Once you have selected the backup location and created the backup repository, it will appear under the "Backup" tab in the Pika Backup interface.

View Backup Destination
View Backup Destination

As you see, I have configured my Seagate 1TB external hard disk as my backup location.

Clicking on the Backup Location will display additional details, including the Volume name, Device name, Backup directory path (i.e., the repository), and the total and available space at the destination location.

Viewing Details of the Backup Location
Viewing Details of the Backup Location

We have now created backup repositories to store the data. It is time to run the backup jobs.

Backup Files with Pika Backup

Under the "Backup" tab of the Pika Backup interface, you will see the list of files/directories to be backed up. By default, your entire HOME directory will be selected to backup.

Choosing Files to Backup using Pika Backup
Choosing Files to Backup using Pika Backup

If you wish to add other directories in the backup, click the plus (+) sign in the "Files to Backup" section and then choose the directories that you want to include in the backup.

Pika Backup also provides an option to exclude certain directories or files from the backup. If you wish to exclude a directory from the backup, simply click the plus (+) sign in the "Exclude from backup" section and select the directories you want to exclude.

After choosing all the directories to backup, click the "Back Up Now" option. Pika backup will begin to backup selected directories to the repository. It will take some time depending upon the size of the files.

Backup Files with Pika Backup
Backup Files with Pika Backup

Upon successful backup, you will see a message that says "Last backup Successful".

Backup is Successfully Completed
Backup is Successfully Completed

If you click on the last successful job, you will see additional backup information, such as the size of all files, the number of files saved, and the total backup space used.

Viewing Last Successful Backup Info
Viewing Last Successful Backup Info

Verify Backup

Once the backup job is completed, you can verify it under the "Archives" tab of the Pika Backup interface. Under the Archives tab, you will find a list of all backups so far, including the date and time of the archive, archive name, duration taken, etc.

Viewing Archives
Viewing Archives

Schedule Backups

Pika Backup enables you to schedule regular backups at specific time intervals.

To enable scheduled jobs, navigate to the "Schedule" tab and toggle the "Regularly Create Backup" button to ON. Choose the frequency of the backup, such as hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly, and set the preferred time for the backup.

Schedule Backups
Schedule Backups

Now, Pika Backup will automatically start the backup at the specified time.

You can also decide whether you want to remove old archives after creating new ones. If so, go to the "Delete Old Archives" section and toggle the "Regularly Cleanup Archives" button to ON. Then select the amount and time span of archives to retain. The default values are:

  • Keep hourly - 48
  • Keep daily - 14
  • Keep weekly - 4
  • Keep monthly - 12
  • Keep annual - 10

You can set your own values from the "Preserved Archives" section.

Delete Old Archives
Delete Old Archives

Click the "Save Configuration" option to begin automatically deleting old archives when they reach their set limit. This can be useful if you have storage constraints.

Browse Files in the Backup

Navigate to the "Archives" tab in the Pika Backup interface, click the drop-down button under the Archives section, and then click the "Browse saved files" button.

Browse Archives
Browse Archives

This action will mount the archive as read-only and automatically open its contents in your file browser, allowing you to easily browse through the contents of the mounted archive.

Browse the Contents of Archive
Browse the Contents of Archive

Since the archive is mounted as read-only, you cannot create new files or folders, rename, cut, or delete the existing files and folders inside the archive.

Once you are done browsing the files, click the "Stop browsing archive files" button in Pika Backup to unmount the archive.

Unmount Archive
Unmount Archive

Restore Files

To restore files, simply mount the archive by clicking on the "Browse saved files" button under the Archives tab. The archive will then be mounted and automatically opened in your default file browser.

You can simply copy and paste the contents of your archive to your local system.

Restore Files
Restore Files

Delete Archives

If you no longer need a backup archive, go to the Archives tab, unmount the archive if it is currently mounted, and then click the "Delete Archive" button to remove the archive.

Delete Archives
Delete Archives

Pika Backup will prompt if you really want to remove the backup. Confirm the deletion by clicking the "Delete Archive" button.

Confirm Deleting Archive
Confirm Deleting Archive

Remove Backup Setup

To remove the configured backup setup, click the three horizontal dots button and click the "Remove Backup Setup" button.

Remove Backup Setup
Remove Backup Setup

Please note that removing the backup setup will not delete any archives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is the list of commonly asked questions and answers (FAQ) to Pika Backup.

Q: What is Pika Backup?

A: Pika Backup is an open-source graphical software designed to offer a simple and efficient way to back up personal data. It leverages the power of BorgBackup to provide features such as local and remote backups, scheduled backups, efficient data handling through deduplication, encrypted backups, easy management of backup archives, and the ability to recover specific files or folders.

Q: How do I set up a new backup in Pika Backup?

A: Upon launching Pika Backup for the first time, your initial step should be to set up a new backup by selecting a backup location (local disk, remote location, or external drive) and creating a backup repository within it.

Q: Can I use an existing BorgBackup repository with Pika Backup?

A: Yes, if you have backup repositories created with other BorgBackup-compatible software, you can select these existing repositories as your backup location in Pika Backup.

Q: How do I exclude certain files or directories from my backup?

A: Pika Backup provides an option to exclude specific files or directories. Simply click the plus (+) sign in the "Exclude from backup" section and select the items you wish to exclude.

Q: How can I view and manage my backup archives?

A: You can view and manage your backup archives under the "Archives" tab in Pika Backup. Here, you'll find a list of all backups, including details like the date and time of the archive, archive name, duration taken, and more.

Q: How do I restore files from a backup?

A: To restore files, navigate to the "Archives" tab, click on "Browse saved files" to mount the archive, and then use your file browser to copy and paste the desired contents to your local system.

Q: What should I do if I no longer need a backup archive?

A: If you wish to delete a backup archive, go to the Archives tab, ensure the archive is not currently mounted, and then click the "Delete Archive" button.

Q: How do I schedule regular backups?

A: Go to the "Schedule" tab and toggle the "Regularly Create Backup" button to ON. Choose the backup frequency and set the preferred time for the backup.

Q: Can I automate the cleanup of old archives?

A: Yes, by toggling the "Regularly Cleanup Archives" button to ON under the Schedule tab, you can set Pika Backup to automatically delete old archives based on your specified retention policy.

Conclusion

As far as I tested, Pika Backup seems like a solid option for users looking for a straightforward and reliable way to back up their personal data on USB drives.

Pika Backup stands out for its ease of use, efficiency, and comprehensive feature set, making it an excellent choice for individuals looking to secure their data with a robust backup solution.

If you're interested in learning more, I recommend checking out the official website or GitLab repository for further details and potential compatibility information.

Resources:

Related Read:

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