How to Install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 18.10, 16.04

This tutorial will be showing you how to install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 18.10. 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

Update: This method described below also applies to Ubuntu 19.04.

Install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 18.10

Ubuntu 16.04 and 14.04 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 and 18.10 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 18.04/18.10, first remove the PPA.

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

The Systemback binary for Ubuntu 16.04 is compatible with Ubuntu 18.04/18.10/19.04, so we can add the Ubuntu 16.04 PPA on 18.04/18.10/19.04 with the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository "deb xenial main"

systemback ubuntu 18.04 ppa

Then 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

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

I hope this tutorial helped you install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10. 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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38 Responses to “How to Install Systemback on Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 18.10, 16.04

  • Victoria
    1 year ago

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

  • Hello,
    Keyserver always reports unknown error…

    …any idea..?

  • …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 Schlüsselserver fehlgeschlagen: Server zeigt einen unbestimmten Fehler an 
    • 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
    1 year ago

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

  • Polleke
    1 year 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
      7 months 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.
    1 year ago

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

    12 months ago

    Welcome to Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.15.0-47-generic x86_64)
    Linux nbox 4.15.0-47-generic #50-Ubuntu SMP Wed Mar 13 10:44:52 UTC 2019 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    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: libqt5gui5 (>= 5.0.2) but it is not going to be installed or
    libqt5gui5-gles (>= 5.0.2) but it is not going to be installed
    Depends: libqt5widgets5 (>= 5.2.0) but it is not going to be installed
    Recommends: grub-efi-amd64-bin
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    Cannot install systemback

  • 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?

  • Carmine Tambascia
    10 months 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).

  • Hi.
    The Systemback will not start: “Cannot start the Systemback graphical user interface! – Unable to connect to the X server.


  • i sucessfully created sblive and converted to iso from systemback but when I tried it in the virtual machine it was stuck in a loading screen.

    how to fix that?

  • Alexey Shcherbakov
    7 months 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.

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

  • An error occurred while executing the following command:

    tar -cf “/home”/ubuntu_18.04.3x64_baseline1.sblive -C
    “/home”/.sblivesystemcreate .

    Exit code: 2

    Any idea why?

  • metafile
    7 months 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,

  • can you get the .iso file itself somehow? I want to use it to boot a VM.

  • systemback is not actually dead it seems.

  • William Mah
    4 months ago

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

    • 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 months 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

    • 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 months 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?

    • 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 months 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
    2 months 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!

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