How to Install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 19.10, 20.04

This tutorial will be showing you how to install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 19.10. Systemback is a simple system backup and restore application, released under the terms of GPLv3 license. Features of Systemback includes:

  • Create backups of the system and the users configuration files
  • Restore the system to a previous state, just like the snapshot function of Virtualbox
  • Create bootable ISO file from existing installation
  • Copy the system from one partition to another partition.
  • Upgrade software

Install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04, 19.10 and 20.04

Ubuntu 16.04 users can install Systemback from PPA by running the following commands in terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nemh/systemback

sudo apt update

sudo apt install systemback

The author of Systemback stopped its development in 2016, so Ubuntu 18.04, 19.10 and 20.04 are not in the supported list. If you run the above command on Ubuntu 18.04, you will see the following error,

E: The repository ' bionic Release' does not have a Release file.


E: Unable to locate package systemback

To install systemback on Ubuntu 18.04/19.10, first remove the PPA.

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:nemh/systemback

The Systemback binary for Ubuntu 16.04 is compatible with Ubuntu 18.04/19.10/20.04, so we can add the Ubuntu 16.04 PPA on 18.04/19.10. Run the following command to import the GPG signing key of this PPA so that the package manager can verify signature. The signing key can be found on

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B

Unable to locate package systemback

If you see the following error:

gpg: keyserver receive failed: no keyserver available


gpg: keyserver receive failed: No data

You can fix this error by using a different keyserver. So instead of you can use

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B

Then add the PPA on Ubuntu 18.04/19.10/20.04.

sudo add-apt-repository "deb xenial main"

systemback ubuntu 18.04 ppa

Update package list and install Systemback.

sudo apt update

sudo apt install systemback

Then you can start Systemback from your application menu. You need to enter your password to use this software. After you enter the password, click OK button.

systemback for bionic

As you can see, you can create restore points of your system, restore to a point, copy the system to another partition, install the system to a new partition, create live system (bootable ISO image), repair the system and upgrade software on the system.

systemback create iso

How to Create a Bootable ISO Image From Your Current System

Systemback can create a customized ISO image file from your current system. Every program and file can be included in the ISO.

Click the Live System Create button, then give a name to your ISO file. You have the option to include the user data files. Click the Create New button to create live system.

systemback create live iso

After the live system is created, you can convert the sblive file to ISO file. Note that if the sblive file is too big, you can’t convert it to ISO file. The sblive and ISO file are stored under your home directory by default, but they are not visible.

You can also insert your pen drive to your computer and write the sblive file to pen drive. (Click the reload button to detect USB drives.)

systemback bootable USB

Because my system has many programs and files, this process can take some time.

write live system to usb drive

Once it’s done, you can use the bootable USB to install your customized Ubuntu system on other computers.

all systemback ubuntu 18.10

Backing Up Individual Files and Directories

Systemback is designed to back up the entire system. If you want to back up individual files and directories, then you can use a tool like Duplicati to automatically back up your files to cloud storage. Duplicati can encrypt your files to prevent prying eyes.

I hope this tutorial helped you install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and 19.10. As always, if you found this post useful, then subscribe to our free newsletter to get more tips and tricks. Take care 🙂

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54 Responses to “How to Install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 19.10, 20.04

  • Victoria
    4 years ago

    Excellent service! This worked without problems on both my computers. Thanks Xiao, Happy Christmas and New year.

  • …sorry,
    my sys : Ubuntu Studio 18.10 Xfce

    thx rolw

  • sorry, it’s german…

     ~$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B
    Executing: /tmp/apt-key-gpghome.AuR8TIniHA/ --keyserver --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B
    gpg: Empfangen vom SchlĂĽsselserver fehlgeschlagen: Server zeigt einen unbestimmten Fehler an 
    • Xiao Guo An (Admin)
      4 years ago

      There’s a connection problem between your computer and the server. You may need to use a proxy or VPN.

      • Why that..?
        I never needed a proxy nor vpn to get a key from…

      • …simply

         sudo apt-get install systemback 

        after adding the repository works…

        thank you!

  • Manfred
    4 years ago

    great tutorial, i love it!!! ty so much 🙂

  • Polleke
    4 years ago

    Thank you so much!
    It’s a relief to have it back!

  • Thank you so much!

    Realy great work!

  • I am getting initramfs image error when trying to create the image. Ran through all the known troubleshooting with still no success any idea what be my issue?


    • metafile
      3 years ago

      1 – Install ‘live-boot’
      2 – then remove ‘casper’
      3 – problem should be solved.


      4 – Any iso you already have WILL still boot onwards by carrying out the following:-

      1 – press ‘enter’
      2 – enter ‘ctl-d’


      Seriously, hope it helped.

  • After creating my liveUSB with Systemback, I’m successfully able to run the system from the USB.

    But when I attempt the System-Install of my distro my “Partition Settings” table only shows the partition of the liveUSB. None of the rest of my partitions are visible.

  • Stephen A. Sprague Jr.
    3 years ago

    Awesome, Can’t thank you enough for all of your help.

  • Polleke
    3 years ago

    Install libqt5gui5 with Synaptic in your system, libqt5gui5 is present but not standard installed

  • Will this also apply to Ubuntu 19.04?
    Has anyone tested it already?

    • Xiao Guo An (Admin)
      3 years ago

      Hi. Yes, it applies to Ubuntu 19.04 as well.

  • Carmine Tambascia
    3 years ago

    Seems a great solution. What worry me is the fact that development is stopped at 16.x version, though is still compatible with further ubuntu release. What about future one? Would be awesome if the software could get supported from some Open source community or get official in the Ubuntu community as I think is a great tool potentially save hours in case of any system crash after a new drivers( as recently happened to me).

  • Alexey Shcherbakov
    3 years ago

    Much obliged. With this software i can have my desktop os on the usb drive no matter whenever i’am at the point. God bless you.

  • Watiley
    3 years ago

    Here, Linux MInt 19.2 (Tina) , and SystemBack Working Fine! 🙂
    Tk’s and Congrat’s!
    Y’re the Best!

  • metafile
    3 years ago

    Nice tutorial, bookmarked..!

    But take a look at my response to “David” above; The actions I describe are a must for 18.04 onwards, or you will end up wit an iso that can only be ‘forced’ to boot in the way I describe as an ‘addenda’ fro David.

    Best wishes,

  • systemback is not actually dead it seems.

  • William Mah
    3 years ago

    Can’t install Ubuntu update. 19.04 Disco Dingo. I have 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish

    • Xiao Guoan (Admin)
      3 years ago

      As of now, the method described in this article still works on Ubuntu 18.10. If you see an error, then copy and paste it here, so I can better understand your situation.

  • Lawrence Hale
    3 years ago

    I’m running Linux Mint 19.2 and get the following message when trying to add the ppa:
    “Cannot add PPA: This PPA does not support this version of Linux Mint”

    It doesn’t matter which method I use to add the ppa:
    sudo add-apt-repository “deb xenial main”
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nemh/systemback

    • Xiao Guoan (Admin)
      3 years ago

      Linux Mint 19.2 is based on Ubuntu 18.04, so it uses bionic as the codename when adding PPA. As I said in this article, Ubuntu 18.04 can’t add this PPA directly.

      You need to add this PPA using the following command.

      sudo add-apt-repository "deb xenial main"

      If this command doesn’t output any information, it means the repository has been added to your system.

      • Larry Hale
        3 years ago

        Using Linux Mint 19.2, your suggested command, sudo add-apt-repository “deb xenial main”, does not work for me. Mint 19.3 has been released and I’m planning on upgrading. Does this work on Ubuntu 19.04?

    • Xiao Guoan (Admin)
      3 years ago

      This is a very basic command and it successfully added the PPA on my Linux Mint 19.2 box.

      If it failed on your computer (which is really weird), use the following command instead.

      echo "deb xenial main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/systemback.list

      The command is very basic and it should work on all current Ubuntu and Linux Mint releases.

  • Larry Hale
    3 years ago

    Thanks, that worked on Linux Mint 19.3 after going into Software Sources/Maintenance and updating keys.

  • Thank you very much, it’s work. Nice share

  • mark simmons
    3 years ago

    although I got it installed on 18.04 the live system image creation is taking a very long time and no further sign of any change in the progress bar, as yet. Using htop with a filter (f5) to show only systemback processes does show activity. The folder /home/Systemback doesn’t yet have anything in it. Just think the gtk dialog box needs to be a bit more informative to show in more detail what it is doing. We’ll see whether it does anything…

  • Irre!

    Eine Frage allerdings bleibt, spielt dann systemback auch malware auf?


    Interessant waere auch, wie sowas manuell geht.

    Danke nochmal!

  • Can’t get to accept key. The web site which is pointed at above does not show a key #

    [email protected]:~$ sudo apt-key adv –keyserver –recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B
    Executing: /tmp/apt-key-gpghome.YzNhP2y4Sm/ –keyserver –recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B
    gpg: keyserver receive failed: Server indicated a failure
    st[email protected]:~$

    Thanks so much. Playing with Ubuntu is a new and rewarding experience. Want to migrate away from Windows.

    • Xiao Guoan (Admin)
      2 years ago

      This indicates there’s a network problem between your computer and the key server. You can fix this error by using a different keyserver. So instead of you can use

      sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B

      If it still doesn’t work, you need to use a VPN or proxy to get around the network problem.

  • Hi Stan,
    I am also having the same issue at the minute, i’m running Mint 19.3 and the repo was accepted but the key will not work. I get the error message below:
    Executing: /tmp/apt-key-gpghome.UZZNF4ahir/ –keyserver –rec-keys 382003C2CB7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B
    gpg: “382003C2CB7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B” not a key ID: skipping

    Then if i try to install systemback i get:
    Unable to locate package systemback

    • Xiao Guoan (Admin)
      2 years ago

      This indicates there’s a network problem between your computer and the key server. You can fix this error by using a different keyserver. So instead of you can use

      sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B

      If it still doesn’t work, you need to use a VPN or proxy to get around the network problem.

  • ok up to this point no idea what to do next

    Reading state information… Done
    Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
    requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
    distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
    or been moved out of Incoming.
    The following information may help to resolve the situation:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    systemback : Depends: casper but it is not installable or
    live-boot but it is not installable
    Depends: syslinux ( 3:6) but it is not installable
    Depends: syslinux ( 3:6) but it is not installable
    Recommends: grub-efi-amd64-bin but it is not installable
    Recommends: lupin-casper but it is not installable
    Recommends: systemback-cli (= 1.8.402~ubuntu16.04.1) but it is not going to be installed
    Recommends: systemback-locales (= 1.8.402~ubuntu16.04.1) but it is not going to be installed
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    • Xiao Guoan (Admin)
      2 years ago

      Try manually installing these dependencies with:

      sudo apt install casper live-boot syslinux grub-efi-amd64-bin lupin-casper systemback-cli systemback-locales

      Then install systemback.

      sudo apt install systemback
  • Questo tutorial funziona anche su Ubuntu 20.04 (Does this tutorial also work on Ubuntu 20.04)?



  • Augustine
    2 years ago

    Thanks so much for this well covered and thoughtful tutorial. Also, LOL to the name sblive.

  • Systemback for Ubuntu 20.04…? Please

  • i installed system-back from your ppa and made an image used multi-system to write it to an sd card , i have installed it several times with out problem till now, one of the computers after install . i updated the computer kernel update it printed ( initramfs-tools is disabled since running on read only media ) this is a hard drive in a laptop not a usb drive. linux-image-5.3.0-51-generic was the kernel i was trying to update to. i ended up reinstalling it twice then when i could not get past, ( initramfs-tools is disabled since running on read only media )
    i dropped back to 18.04.3.iso installed image from ubuntu and it installed and updated to linux-image-5.3.0-51-generic
    my question is how and why initramfs-tools is saying read only media , i would think there is a file some where that could be changed to get around this .

  • i have installed it on ubuntu-mate 20.04 install went fine, it made the image fine, i wrote it to a usb key and installed it on a laptop every thing seems good , i will have to make sure the problem doesn’t persist with initramfs-tools is disabled since running on read only media.

  • key in this article is wrong. u get connection error
    use this instead

    sudo apt-key adv –keyserver –recv-keys 0x382003C2C8B7B4AB813E915B14E4942973C62A1B

  • sul mio linux Lubuntu 20.04 lts non Funziona. cosa ho sbagliato?

  • AgustĂ­n
    2 years ago

    Hi, I have used the option of system-back to convert the file to .iso, and it went onto the usb, but when I try to boot it gives an error saying “this is not a typewriter” and other messages I don’t understand.
    I am using Peppermint Eight.
    Any ideas?

  • Hi guyz & girlz,
    I have had installation failures related to remastersys failing to format an USB key correctly
    the remedy is to format the USB device in EXT2 format before starting usb installation….
    also, check you have ubiquity-frontend-gtk installed….
    good luck !

  • Robert Fejes
    2 years ago

    I keep getting:

    The Live system creation is aborted!
    There has been critical changes in the file system during this operation.

    But nothing that I’m aware of is happening in the file system.

  • Polleke
    2 years ago

    Maintenance ceased in 2016. Is it still safe to use?

    • If you know what you’re doing yes, if not.. don’t blame the product that’s abandoned.

      No claim when there is no maintainer

  • Dear brothers.. use it with caution and without claiming errors. This software it’s defunt (EOL)
    means it won’t receive any update or fixes. The creator abandoned it.

    I am using it with Ubuntu Mate 20.04.2 and no problems appeared so far. I love it.

  • Finda Affandi
    1 year ago

    thank you bro, your writing helps my assignment

  • James in Australia
    6 months ago

    Works fine in Linux Mint Mate 20.3 as per your instructions.
    No errors apart from the start which as you mentioned does not work from Ubuntu 16.04 onwards.
    Followed your instructions and everything loaded ok – no errors.
    Thank you keeping this program going.
    I’m sure everyone out there is very grateful.

  • Just install and everything works fine!

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