This is how to setup a backup client on a personal computer. For a how-to to backup a server see server backup.

Further Reading:


The Borg insignia, by Rick Sternbach from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

BorgBackup (short: Borg) is a deduplicating backup program. Optionally, it supports compression and authenticated encryption.

The main goal of Borg is to provide an efficient and secure way to backup data. The data deduplication technique used makes Borg suitable for daily backups since only changes are stored. The authenticated encryption technique makes it suitable for backups to not fully trusted targets.


Borgmatic logo

borgmatic is a simple, configuration-driven frontend to automate borg backup on servers and workstations. Protect your files with client-side encryption. Backup your databases too. Monitor it all with integrated third-party services.


Vorta logo

Vorta is a backup client for macOS and Linux desktops. It integrates the mighty Borg Backup with your favorite desktop environment to protect your data from disk failure, ransomware and theft.


User and System Data

Separate independent backups for user data and system configuration are made.

This ensures that …

  • System configuration data backups are made anytime the system is powered on.

  • System administrators don’t have access to user data backups.

  • User data backups are only made when a user is actively working on the system.

  • Encrypted home directories are only backed up when its user is logged in.

  • Users don’t have access to system configuration backups.

  • Multiple users on a system can’t access each others backup data.


Backups can be made several times a day.

By using systemd-timers instead of cron-jobs, the Ubuntu Desktop system does not need to be running at a specific time.

If the system is running on AC power and connected to a network either by Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi a fresh backup is made a few minutes after startup and at any desired interval after that. In the case of user data backups, whenever the user has logged in.

In any other case the backup will made the next time all these conditions are met.

If the system was running on battery or not connected trough a unmetered network, it will try again the next time.


For how long is are backup archives stored:

  • All backups of the last 24 hours

  • Last backup of the day for 7 days

  • Last backup of the week for 4 weeks

  • Last backup of the month for 6 months

  • Last backup of the year for 2 years


Backup data is client-side encrypted and uses two-factor authentication. This ensures that …

  • Backup data can be moved and stored anywhere (i.e on untrusted cloud storage);

  • In order to access the backup data, a user must know the password AND needs to have the key-file in his possession;

On modern Intel/AMD 64-bit CPUs BLAKE2b-256 is recommended over SHA-256.



Ubuntu 22.04 (jammy) or later

As of the time of this writing (January 2023), Ubuntu 22.04 LTS has these packages versions:

BorgBackup also shows you the current status of various packages compared to the official release.

To install using Ubuntu package manager:

$ sudo apt install borgbackup borgmatic vorta

You can use this also on newer systems if you want to make sure to have the latest and greatest version. But remember that with this method, updates will not be installed automatically.

From Source Using Python PIP

Use Python PIP:

$ sudo apt install python3 python3-dev python3-pip python3-virtualenv \
    libacl1-dev libacl1 \
    libssl-dev \
    liblz4-dev libzstd-dev libxxhash-dev \
$ sudo apt install libfuse-dev fuse
$ sudo pip install --upgrade pip setuptools wheel
$ sudo pip install --upgrade pkgconfig
$ sudo pip install --upgrade borgbackup[llfuse]
$ sudo pip install --upgrade borgmatic vorta
$ cd /tmp
$ git clone borg
$ sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/share/man/man1
$ sudo install -D -m 0644 ./borg/docs/man/borg*.1* /usr/local/share/man/man1/borg.1
$ sudo mandb
$ wget
$ sudo mv ./com.borgbase.Vorta.desktop /usr/local/share/applications/vorta.desktop

This installs as a system-wide usable software in to /usr/local/bin/, usable by the system (root, systemd, cron etc.) and users alike.

To install updates just repeat the installation command above.