There are several possibilites and tools. In fact, there are great tools to perform backups for your Linux Desktop. I’m gonna name the greatest:
It doesn’t matter which is the best, or what do you prefer. Currently I use partimage to perform exact copies of my three partitions (/, /home and /boot) once in a month and rdiff-backup to perform daily incremental backups of my /home partition.
When using Partimage, the partitions must be unmounted, so I use knoppix to perform backups with partimage. Partimage saves the image partition to an external ext3 usb hard drive. Then, when booting my primary OS I burn the images to DVDs and remove them from the external hard drive, because they take a lot of space that I need for my daily incremental backups. This operation done once per month
I use rdiff-backup to perform daily incremental backups of my /home directory. Just writing
rdiff-backup -v6 /home/jordilin /media/backup/myhome
does the trick. It only saves the differences, so the backups are made generally in less than a minute. Once per month I erase the whole destination backup directory to leave space for performing the partimage operations. When done with partimage I begin the process again.
This post shows my current backup plan. Perform yours, it’s highly recommended, mostly for someone like me who is always playing with the OS system files and performing updates once in a while. And one more thing, I’m using Debian testing, so one must be safe, just in case 😉