snap2 Overview, Features, and Screenshots

This is the official website of snap2, an rsync-based, open-source, free backup program for Linux.

I also offer various Linux and open-source-related articles and tools.  Please see the links under "Linux Stuff" in the right margin.

Version: 4.x
Status: Production (stable/tested)

Snap2 can create and manage a series of rotating backup snapshots.  A backup snapshot is a full backup of your files as they were at a given point in time.  However, thanks to Linux hard links and the fact that rsync only has to transmit changes in files, these backups only take a small amount of disk space and bandwidth. Read more »

Download and Installation

Debian Lenny or Squeeze, and Debian derivatives such as Ubuntu:

Installing gtkdialog: One of the snap2 dependencies is gtkdialog, which is no longer available in the official Debian repositories.  I believe it is still available in the Ubuntu repositories - if it is not, see below. Read more »

Backing up using snap2

Run snap2 (the GUI) to set up and optionally run your backups.  If running a Debian-based distribution, Look for the snap2 menu entries in the KDE menu, under "Utilities," or in the Debian menu, under "Applications/File Management.

In Puppy Linux, the menu entries will be in 'Utility.'

As indicated by the snap2 program, there are basically 3 steps to setting up your backups: Read more »

Snapshot Backup vs Mirror Backup

The biggest feature of snap2 is the snapshot type backup.  A backup snapshot captures the state of all files at a given point in time. It is essentially a full backup, but due to the use of Linux hard links, only new and modified files actually take up space on disk as new snapshot backups are made. Read more »

Backup Exclusions

snap2 has a built-in default list of wildcard patterns.  It is:

- *~
- *.log
- temp/
- tmp

This means the program does not backup files or directories ending '~' and '.log', and ignores all files in directories named temp, and all directories or files named 'tmp'.  This list is stored in the file ~/.snap2/default/exclude/default.  If you ever want to change or add to these default exclusions, click the 'Default Exclusions' button on the 'ADVANCED SETTINGS' tab. (Or of course, you could edit the file directly.) Read more »

Backing Up to a Remote Server

snap2 will only back up to remote servers using public key authentication. rsync MUST be installed on the remote server, but not in daemon mode.

Snap2 can automatically set up ssh password-less (public key) authentication for you to a remote server running ssh.  If you prefer that a passphrase be used to lock your public key, you should create your key pair yourself before running snap2, and you will need to set up ssh-agent to tie your passphrase to your local user account. Read more »

snap2 Version History

25-May-2012 (snap2 4.23)

* (snap2) Bugfix: If filesystem root ('/') is Backup Source Directory, backup exclusions could not be added.
* (snap2) Bigfix: Upon deleting a Backup Source Directory, additional directories could possibly be deleted.
* (snap2 snap2engine) Bugfix: Corrected command line messages when zero daily, weekly, or monthly backups are configured.
* (snap2engine): Add special handling of root source directory ('/') backup exclusions

24-Oct-2011 (snap2 4.22)

* (snap2) Improved user prompts about generation and use of SSH keys for remote server authentication. No functional changes.
24-Oct-2011 (snap2 4.21)

  • (snap2, changed remote SSH authentication method to "manual," add "Generate SSH Keys" button to "Advanced" tab.

23-Oct-2011 (snap2 4.20)

  • (snap2, Correct issues with multi-core systems: correct remote SSH authentication detection and remove automatic remote authentication setup.

15-Oct-2011 (snap2 4.19)

  • (snap2) Mirror backup paths did not show 'x' to mark paths that have custom backup exclusions.

   snap2 4.18

  • If backup folder recent.0 exists, indicating aborted previous backup, it can be deleted via 'Backup Tools' on the "Logs and Reports' tab.
  • Updated docs to show program domain name '' instead of ''.

   snap2 4.17

  • Fixed menu entry display in Puppy and possibly other non-KDE window managers

    snap2 4.16

  • readme.txt moved to usr/share/snap2 (with symlink at usr/share/doc/snap2/readme.txt)
  • (remoteutils) added check for gunzip on localhost/remote server before attempting to display a compressed logfile


    snap2 4.15

  • (snap2) Avoid unnecessary downloading of backup list after backup deletion
  • (snap2) Adjusted maximum report size for viewing with internal viewer
  • (snap2) Added external logfile viewer config option
  • (snap2) Added LOGS & REPORTS main tab, rearranged and tweaked GUI for clarity
  • (snap2engine) adjusted age decision for promotion of snapshot from weekly to monthly
  • (snap2) Removed 'About' button
  • (snap2) Relaxed check for hard link creation on local backup storage drive, now issue warning to use only mirror backups rather than abort
  • Updated readme.txt, install.txt, Debian package description
  • changed generic package to gzip compression
  • Added manpage
  • modified file locations and permissions (result of Debianization)

4.14 released 6/02/2010 - (Puppy version only.  There is no 4.14 version for other distros)

  • Fixed non-working "snapshot backup now!" menu entry

4.13 (released 5/23/2010)

  • (snap2) Added code to properly deal with remote authentication when the remote hostname or remote login is changed
  • (snap2) removed "Save Backup Settings" button, converted it to global "SAVE" button
  • (snap2) fixed problem with deleting currently-active settings directory
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