I have been reading through quite a few alternatives including Timeshift and Snapper, and it doesn't seem like any of the BTRFS backup apps offer any ability to store BTRFS snapshots to a secondary or external hard drive.

Is there a possibility of doing this, or is this something intrinsic to the BTRFS format?

1 Answer 1


Both Timeshift and Snapper use BTRFS snapshots as a means to retain the filesystem's state. Because BTRFS snapshots must be stored in the same filesystem which contains the subvolumes they are a snapshot of, snapshots cannot be used as true backups. By true backup I mean that the content is stored on a different, independent device. BTRFS filesystems can span multiple hard drives, but that's not a backup solution.

However, what you can do is use btrfs-send and btrfs-receive to backup the snapshots created by Timeshift or Snapper to a secondary device. Said device would need to have it's own independent BTRFS filesystem.

In short, no you cannot configure Timeshift nor Snapper to store "backups" on a separate device, but you can instead send those "backups" to a separate device.

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