First time using btrfs

hello all,

I have a ThinkPad 495 (that’s a Ryzen chip, not Intel) on which I’ve been tri-booting Win10 (rarely), MX-Linux Xfce (mostly) and Manjaro KDE (really, really rarely!) I’ve got 24 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB nvme drive, so plenty of space. UEFI. Each of the Linux distros has about 70 GB for their root, and they share 700 GB for data. Windows has 150 GB. I’d like to replace Manjaro with TW, and get a look at Btrfs for the first time (the other distros are on ext4.) Is this gonna work OK?!

In particular, is it ok that the data partition (/home, that is) is ext4, and the TW partition will be btrfs? Is this possible? I want to see how Snapper works (seems such a great thing with a rolling distro!) but obviously I’ll only get snapshots of the system…still have to back up my data the old fashioned way…right?

I’d appreciate any guidance on this you could offer, pointers to web pages, etc.


PS Mein Deutsch ist fliessend, obwohl ich Ami bin…wenn eine Seite bzw. euer Rat auf Deutsch kommt, kein Problem. Danke!

Should not be a problem. Note, default is to have home on root so you will have to tell the installer to mount the home partition and not format it. Just select advanced option for partitions and be sure that things are as you want them on the summery window before committing to the scheme. Home can be on any Linux compatible file system

I assumed that would be the case, and that the oft-praised installer would handle it…

Home can be on any Linux compatible file system

and this answers my bigger question…thanks for your speedy response.

Yes, but even if you did a standard install with /home included in the btrfs, it does not get included in snapshots. This article shows the folders not included in snapshots and why they aren’t included:

The snapshots are not really a “backup”, they are just points in time you can roll back (or possibly ahead if you have already rolled back) to. This may be required because of some issue with a new release, or more often in my case, installing something new, which may pull in a large number of files, and then things not going well or not being happy with the results and using the rollback feature to clean things up. Personally I back up /etc, /srv and anything else in /var that I have modified.

If you go for a year before the first time you need to do a rollback, you will be glad you did.

This is a tutorial on snapper:

Section 3.7 of
covers the settings you will/may want to modify controlling snapshot cleanup. The settings can be tailored based on how much disk space you use. For example I have a 1 TB nvme drive with only TW installed using the standard install with /home included and I use 15 - 18% of the drive. The snapshots themselves for the most part do not take up much space. If you have 70GB for TW, then the default settings should work well for you.

Have fun.

Snapshots are not backups in and of themselves, but they can be backups if you create read-only snapshots and send them to off-system storage.