How to backup an Ubuntu system using Dropbox

How you do this depends on whether you are setting it up for the first time or want to restore already-saved files from Dropbox to their correct place.

First time (i.e. you have never used dropbox to backup your files)

  1. Install dropbox
  2. In the terminal, navigate to the Dropbox folder (probably ~/Dropbox)
  3. Soft link to each directory you want to backup in dropbox (i.e. ln -s ~/Documents ., ln -s ~/Desktop .).
  4. That’s it: dropbox will now backup your files

Restoring (and then continuing to backup) previously stored files on a restored system

  1. Install dropbox
  2. Use selective Sync to download the directories you want to restore to the Dropbox folder on your local system
  3. Delete the folders you want to restore and then link from the Dropbox (sub)folders, e.g.
    1. rm -r ~/Documents
    2. ln -s ~/Dropbox/Documents ~/
  4. In the case of the Desktop, you may need to reboot the computer before you can see the result.

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