Create system snapshots with CYA

Recovery from a Live System

From a running Live session, first mount the USB stick with the recovery script, if this does not happen automatically, and switch to the console. Alternatively, you could mount the partition manually and specify the absolute path to the script in home/cya/. Then, start the script with the ./ command and follow the instructions (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Starting the recovery script in the Live environment initiates the recovery. If you start it within the normal installation, it will refuse to work.

First, select which snapshot you want to restore; then, you can take a new snapshot of the installed system. In the test case here, this didn't make sense because the system was no longer bootable, but it can help in the later diagnosis of a broken system.

Next, decide whether the script removes files that are not in the backup from the installed system. The answer to the last question determines whether the recovery runs as a single pass or whether you want to confirm each directory of the root tree individually. In my example, the latter made sense because I knew that the system only lacked the boot directory. If you don't know what's broken, no would be the right answer.

Now, a final warning appears notifying you that the software will overwrite all data from this point onward. CYA shows the selected options and waits for you to enter the word restore to start the process (Figure 6). The script then processes the selected options (Figure 7).

Figure 6: CYA warns about the point from the process cannot be reversed. It then starts the recovery of the lost files.
Figure 7: First you determine which backup you want to import. Then specify whether you also want to create a current backup of the installed system.

Within minutes to half an hour, depending on the options selected and the hardware used, the process is complete and the software prompts you to restart the installed system (Figure 8).

Figure 8: The cya list command shows the new backup created during the restore after restarting the restored system.


There are many ways to create restore points for a system restore. CYA may seem complex at first glance, but that has a positive long-term effect. The script offers many possibilities for customization and is suitable for desktop use, as well as for use via SSH on a server (Figure 9).

Figure 9: CYA supports many scenarios, some of which are listed in the cya uses command.

As with any backup program, you should run through the process, including the restore, at least once. The project has documented the entire process in an exemplary manner on the website and in around 20 YouTube videos on the individual topics [3].

Once you have configured CYA and provided it with a cronjob or systemd timer, you do not need to do anything until an emergency occurs. If necessary, you can take manual snapshots in just a few seconds. CYA did not cause any problems in the test and will replace Clonezilla on my system, which I previously used for this purpose.

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