Linux Backup on your Chromebook – What works and what doesn’t

One of the great things that have come out of the Chromebook is Linux Apps. A few years ago I did not pay much attention to them because they didn’t work all that well. Fast forward to today and Linux Apps work great on the Chromebook.

If you’ve not yet used Linux on your Chromebook. You may want to watch my video where I show you how to install a Linux app store on Chrome OS. By installing a Linux App store you’ll be able to install Linux Apps very similar to how you install Android Apps. It removes the need to use a command line to install apps.

I’ve been using Linux Apps for a few months now and I’m really excited about what they offer. This led me to look into how these files are backed up. Luckily, Chrome OS has a built-in function to backup Linux. To use it you need to know what works and what doesn’t.

Chrome OS Linux backup

The Linux backup works by allowing you to download a backup file to a location of your choice, at least that is what it states. The backup function does a backup of your Linux Apps and your files. This is an excellent option because if you start using Linux regularly. You’ll want to know all of your files are backed up.

I’m not too fussed about my Linux Apps being backed up. This is because you could easily install these again if anything went wrong. However, if something did go wrong I would not be too happy about losing files I’ve created with any of my Linux Apps. Therefore the ability to back up these files is good to see.

Chrome OS Linux backup works if saved locally

I’ve tried on about six occasions in the last couple of weeks to backup my Linux Files. Each time the backup starts and about halfway through I get an error message. At first, I thought it may have been my external hard disk.

I decided to try backing up my files to a USB storage drive instead. Unfortunately, I had the same issue.

I then decided to try and backup Linux to my local storage and this worked. The file was pretty large at 5.6GB, as seen below. Therefore, I decided to transfer this file to external storage. Leaving it saved locally would expose you to the risk of losing your Linux data should something happen to your Chromebook. The bad news is, I received similar error messages when trying to transfer the file to external storage.

Linux file backup showing in files on Chromebook after completion
My Linux file backup took up 5.6GB as seen above

Creating a Linux backup directly to Google Drive

I decided to create a Linux backup directly to Google Drive. Again, this worked fine. When I tried to transfer this file to an external source I received another error message near the end of the transfer.


The Linux backup works, but only if you save the backup file directly to your local storage or directly to your Google drive. For some reason, you cannot backup to an external source. Also, it’s not possible to transfer a backup file to an external source.

There may be a reason for this, which I’m not aware of. However, it appears to be pretty strange. The good news is because you can backup directly to Google Drive. You can create a backup that is protected in the cloud.

This means should your Chromebook fail. You can restore your Linux files because your backup file will be saved in the cloud.