2 Feature requests for mirroring

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tranglos
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:27 pm

2 Feature requests for mirroring

Post by tranglos » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:18 pm

(My final post for today :-)

I have previously posted a few minor suggestions that I think could improve the program, but the following two feature requests would help enormously when mirroring files.

1. An option (possibly a separate action) to scan the destination folder and update the bkc file accordingly. My scenario is as follows: I have a NAS drive where I store a mirror, containing about 1,5 terabytes of data. Copying all this data to the mirror location takes about two days and two nights. In certain situations, such as upgrading the operating system (and occasionally when upgrading Backup4All), the source locations remain unchanged, the destination remains unchanged and is a complete, valid mirror - yet Backup4All will always copy all the data again, even though the files already exist in the mirror location. I've had to go through this a few times, and it's really a very long and unnecessary process. If Backup4All could instead check the destination and not copy the files that are already present, it would be a great improvement. As such, I am now using a different application to maintain this mirror, since after upgrading from XP to 7 a few days ago the mirror was still there, but Backup4All would not recognize it. Perhaps the "Fast mirror" setting could do just that: ignore the bkc file and look at the actual files in the destination folder.

2. An option for special handling of deleted files in a mirror-type backup. Currently there is only one simple option that controls what happens to files deleted from source: "Remove excluded or deleted files from backup". Most advanced backup applications allow the user to specify at least the age of the files, that is, to delete files only if they have not been modified within the last N days. This is a common enough feature, but it is also entirely insufficient. The fact that a file hasn't been modified recently does not mean the file is unimportant (think of old correspondence, annual reports, family pictures, etc). A much more friendly and secure solution would be to wait a number of days before removing the file from a mirror backup. The counting should start not from the file's modification date, but from the moment Backup4All first noticed the file was missing. Since the program does all the bookkeeping in the bkc files, this should be possible. For example, if I delete an important file today, I can choose only between deleting this file from the mirror immediately (unsafe) or keeping the file forever (wasteful and often impractical). Instead, Backup4All could notice that the file is missing and remove it from the mirror after a user-specified number of days. This would give me some time to notice that the file is missing and restore it from the mirror, and files that were deleted intentionally would still get removed from the mirror. As far as I know, no major backup software today has this feature, and it would make Backup4All unique in this respect.

A possibly simpler solution to the above problem is: (a) never removing deleted files from a mirror, by setting the existing option appropriately, and (b) adding an action to remove all the missing files from the mirror (perhaps by displaying a list of such files first). Basically this would be a "Purge" command to manually remove from the mirror all the files that are gone from the source location.

(I realize this can be partly achieved using backups instead of mirrors, but please note that for some types of files, such as videos, mirrors are the only practical solution, because for reasons of disk space and execution time zipping files or keeping multiple versions of them is not really possible).

Thanks a lot for considering these suggestions.

Support
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Re: 2 Feature requests for mirroring

Post by Support » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:32 pm

Hi,

We also added these two feature requests to our Wishlist.

philibertperusse

Re: 2 Feature requests for mirroring

Post by philibertperusse » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:42 am

tranglos wrote: 1. An option (possibly a separate action) to scan the destination folder and update the bkc file accordingly. My scenario is as follows: I have a NAS drive where I store a mirror, containing about 1,5 terabytes of data. Copying all this data to the mirror location takes about two days and two nights. In certain situations, such as upgrading the operating system (and occasionally when upgrading Backup4All), the source locations remain unchanged, the destination remains unchanged and is a complete, valid mirror - yet Backup4All will always copy all the data again, even though the files already exist in the mirror location. I've had to go through this a few times, and it's really a very long and unnecessary process. If Backup4All could instead check the destination and not copy the files that are already present, it would be a great improvement. As such, I am now using a different application to maintain this mirror, since after upgrading from XP to 7 a few days ago the mirror was still there, but Backup4All would not recognize it. Perhaps the "Fast mirror" setting could do just that: ignore the bkc file and look at the actual files in the destination folder.
If I may give you a hint. I could see a few root causes for the software to redo this "full backup":
1) your original catalog data was lost. I personally uncheck "Use local catalogs" and "Store temporary catalog data in memory". Doing this forces the software to store the catalog data on the destination folder. Without the catalog, it seems that the software never rebuilds/updates a catalog from destination. Always from source folder.

2) some file attributes may have changed, default Criteria for copy are very broad. I personally use only "CRC32" as the copy criteria. So that copy happens ONLY if file has changed. I am not sure if the software can or cannot "synchronize" the file attributes (security/timestamp/attributes) without forcing a copy of the file also (I haven't explore that part yet).

3) similarly, possible by "reinstalling windows" the credential/security settings on source files could have changed. Which could trigger a copy if the right combination of "Criteria" is not set and if you use "Copy NTFS Security Permissions"... I am not quite sure about this though.

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Re: 2 Feature requests for mirroring

Post by Support » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:24 pm

Hi,

@philibertperusse: Please note you did not understand the feature request of tranglos.

Tranglos has the files in backup destination but they were not copied there with Backup4all, so those files are not in the backup catalog. Backup4all is always looking for the backup catalog to decide which files will be backed up, no matter if the files were already manually copied in destination. This way, all files and folders will be backed up again by Backup4all.

The backup catalog is stored in two locations: in destination and in the local catalog folder. Unchecking the "Use local catalog" option will tell Backup4all to look for the catalog in destination. As the files were copied without using Backup4all, the catalog file is not in destination.
The "Store temporary catalog data in memory" option is only for the temporary catalog. It is useful for large catalog files not to be stored in RAM memory.

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