How Backups Work

When are files backed up?

When you initiate a backup, the backup commences shortly thereafter. All files within the location are backed up. If a file is added to a location that has been selected for backup, File Protection will automatically recognize the change and begin backing up the file in its entirety. If any changes are made to a file after the initial backup, File Protection will recognize the changes and initiate the backup.

Full backup will not commence immediately, however, if you are backing up a network-mounted volume that does not support alerting File Protection Desktop or Server to changes (e.g. SAMBA). In this case, the drive will be scanned every three hours and if changes are detected, backup will commence.

Note that a 500MB per file per day limit applies to files that are changed.

EXAMPLE  For example, if a 1.75GB file is changed on a daily basis, the file will only be backed up every fourth day. Or, if a file is 100 MB and changes frequently, only five versions will be backed up per day.

When File Protection Desktop or Server for Windows attempts to back up the file and fails because the file is busy, it waits to see if the file becomes available. After a few attempts, the file will then go into “push” mode, which means that the File Protection service will no longer request the file; the agent will send the file as soon as it is able to access it. When in "push" mode, every second attempt will try utilize the Windows VSS (shadow copy) mechanism, should the application that has the file open support VSS. For more information, refer to What is VSS?).

How backup versions work

In File Protection, backups use versioning. Every time a file is backed up with File Protection, a version is created and any changes are saved. The mechanism works as follows:

  • A new version is created each time a file is saved.
  • All versions for the last hour are retained.
  • The last version from each hour for the last day is saved.
  • The last version from each day for the last week is saved.
  • The last version from each week for the last month is saved.
  • The last version from each month is saved for the last 6 months.
  • After 6 months, the version is permanently deleted.

NOTE  Deleted items will always be retained for 6 months. Only the versions of the deleted items will be lost through the mechanism described above.

For information about how to view, download, or restore a previous version of a file or folder, please refer to Previous Versions.

Backing up low-availability files

Certain files types (databases and accounting software in particular) have low availability due to their nature. Because these files types are constantly being changed by multiple users, they can often fail to back up successfully even if they support the VSS mechanism (What is VSS?). For these files types, we recommend that you create a scheduled, automated snapshot (backup) within the software itself, then use File Protection to back up the snapshot.

Delta backup support

Files that support delta backup will be backed up daily, regardless of the file size. The following file extensions support delta backup:

OS X : .pst, .xml, .database
Windows : .pst, .ost, .xml

Other backup information

  • We do not support backup of files with a "system" attribute or hidden files (with the exception of Windows AppData folder).

  • We support backup of one million files per Windows device. File Protection doesn't restrict the number of files you back up (and you may find it functions properly beyond that), but we don’t offer support for backup issues if the file count is over one million.
  • There is a 5 MB/second upload/download limit on File Protection Desktop, and a 10 MB/second upload/download limit on File Protection Server. For more information about Desktop vs. Server, please refer to What’s the difference between Desktop and Server?
  • There will be a 30 - 60 second delay, after you have added a file to a folder designated for backup, before backup begins.
  • Because of the “pull” mechanism it uses, File Protection checks if you will be over your quota before it pulls the file. Consequently, you won’t be able to back up a file that will take you over your storage quota.

  • If you can't use your device and you need a subset of your backed up files immediately, you may request a temporary access link. For more information, refer to Help! My device is inaccessible or broken and I need some backed up files! What do I do?