There is no shortage of backup software in GNU/Linux. From full clones of hard drives to browser bookmarks there's something for everyone. However, sometimes you just need to be more selective about what you backup.
If you want to backup your precious desktop settings, you should try Ubuntu Tweak: it is bundled with a host of really useful features, it's been around for a while and it's up to version seven. You might find a version in your distro's repositories but if you're out of luck, download it from the official site.
Backing things up
Like most of you, once I've installed a new distro I set up my comfort zone, which means installing my favourite desktops, browsers and file managers. I then like to fine tune my desktop with some eye candy and productive tweaks. This can involve a fair amount of work and settings and configurations can be disabled or corrupted by updates or careless tinkering with system files.
Ubuntu Tweak will insure that your settings are safe and sound.
Install it with your application of choice, start it and navigate from the default screen.
Figure 1: Ubuntu Tweak's default page
There are four options. Click on Admins and the select Desktop Recovery.
Figure 2: Desktop recovery option
If you managed to brick your desktop settings before you've had a chance to backup, just click on Reset to restore the defaults; otherwise, do an inital backup.
Figure 3: If_you've_bricked_things_just_reset_the_desktop
Making sure that Desktop is selected in the side pane (and if you do not highlight an entry in the right-hand pane, everything listed will be backed up) , hit the backup button and you will be prompted for a name. Now, back it up and you will see two buttons (Trash and Rename) are no longer grayed out.
With Desktop Settings safely backed up, you can recover them in two clicks. Hit Recover and confirm.
Figure 4: Recovery is a two click no brainer
By default, Ubuntu-Tweak saves to
Figure 5: Copy to removable media or sync to Ubuntu One
So it also makes sense to back up to removable media or you could also even sync to Ubuntu One too. You can repeat this operations for apllications and system setting too.