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A backup definition contains the data needed to perform a backup on a set of computers. Each definition contains settings for the following information:

  • A list of computers that should be backed up.
  • A set of rules describing which partitions, disks, or files to backup on each computer
  • A set of options and settings controlling how the backup files should be created and stored.

Backup definitions contain all the information on how and what to back up. A backup definition can be run manually to perform a single backup of each computer or used to schedule regular backups into a repository


Creating a Backup Definition

The 'Backup Definition' section option in Site Manager contains the list of existing Backup Definitions.
If there are no Backup Definitions created, a quick help page is shown instead:

Clicking on 'New Definition' will open the backup definition wizard.

The steps of the wizard are:

Step 1 - Definition Type

The first step is to select the type of backup definition. The types available are:

Definition TypeDescription
Disk ImageThis definition type creates image backups of full disks or partitions. It is configured by selecting a set of rules which control which partitions or disks are included. This is the most efficient backup type for large amounts of data and provided the correct partitions have been backed up, these image files can be used to restore a fully bootable Windows operating system.
File and FolderFile and Folder backups only back up files on specific paths from a disk. This is a faster, more convenient backup type when only critical data from a disk needs to be backed up. e.g. C:\accounts\*.*

Once the backup type has been selected, a name for the backup definition must be entered. This is for display purposes only. An optional description can also be entered.

The 'Selection Type' controls how computers are selected for backup in the next step of the wizard. The available options are:

Selection TypeDescription
Select ComputersSelect computers from a list. Computers will remain part of this backup definition until removed manually.
Select TagsSelect a set of tags to associate with this backup group. Any changes to the membership of these tags will change the backup definition automatically.

Step 2 - Computers Selection

This stage lists available computers to be part of the Backup Definition. If 'Select Computers' was chosen in the previous step, a computers list will be displayed:

Columns can be filtered and sorted in the computer list to aid in finding the right computers. If there are large numbers of computers they will be split into multiple pages.

If 'Select Tags' was chosen in the previous step, the tags selection will be displayed:

This interface allows multiple tags to be selected. Not all tag groups are valid for use as backup definition tags. Only the following groups can be used:

  • Any user-created tag
  • Computer Information (architecture, virtual machine status)
  • Windows Version 
  • Domain
  • Domain OU (organizational unit)
  • Domain Groups (security and distribution groups)

Once the computers or tags required have been selected, press 'Next' to advance to the next step. This step will vary depending on the definition type selected on the first page of the wizard.

Step 3 - Disk Image - Disk Selection Rules

For 'Disk Image' backups, the next stage is to select rules that control which partitions and disks will be imaged as part of the backup. 

The most commonly selected rules are available as radio buttons at the top of the wizard, these are 'Default (all non-removable disks)' and 'Operating system only'. The partitions and disks that will be included in the backup can be customized by selecting the 'Custom' option. The window that opens will display include and exclude that can be selected.

Some rules require additional configuration, for example, specifying a volume label or drive letter to match. In this case, a dialog box will pop up when adding the rule as seen below:

Once rules have been added, they are displayed in the relevant table, where the rules can be further edited or removed.

To assist in configuration, pressing the 'Test Matching Partitions' button will show the partitions on the computers in the definition which match the selected rule(s):

The next page of the wizard, 'Matching Partitions', will also show the partitions that will be included in the backup definition.

The disk matching information can be filtered by computer or show only computers with no matches. This can help identify any gaps in rules.

For simple operation, there is an 'All Disks' rule which will match everything on all computers.

Exclude Rules

There are exclusion rules as well as inclusion rules - the exclusion rules make it easier to back up all data except those meeting the criteria. For example, if there are multiple computers in the definition, each with a number of partitions and drive letters which need to be backed up without backing up the Windows partitions, this can be achieved using an exclusion rule. Exclusion rules work in the following way:

  • Exclude rules override include rules - a definition with an include rule for system drives plus an exclude rule for the C: partition will backup system partitions except for the C: partition.
  • If there are only exclude rules, all partitions are included except for those specified by the exclude rule - a definition with just an exclude rule for C: and D: partitions will back up all other partitions.

Once rules are configured, press next to move to the next step.

Step 3 - File and Folder - File and Folder Selection

For file and folder backups, the next stage is to select the folder rules which will be used to identify the files to backup.

At least one folder must be added, using the 'Add Folder' button.

The Add Folder dialog has the following options:

Folder to BackupThe folder path on the agent computer which will be included in the backup.
Include subfoldersIf checked, this option will cause any matching files in subfolders of the target folder to be included in the backup.
Exclude hidden files and foldersIf checked, any files or folders with the 'hidden' file system attribute will be ignored.
Exclude system files and foldersIf checked, any files or folders with the 'system' file system attribute will be ignored.
Files to includeA file mask for names of files to include within the selected folder/subfolder. e.g. *.docx will include only document files.
Files to excludeAs files to include but these files will be excluded. Takes precedence over the include list.
Folders to excludeAs files to exclude, except it is used for subfolder names. Only relevant when 'Include subfolders' is used.

Multiple rules can be added to one definition - files matching any rule will be backed up. Rules can be removed and edited using the appropriate buttons:

Once rules are configured, press next to move to the next step.

Step 4 - Options

In step 3, options for how the backup files are created are set. 

Backup OptionDescription
CompressionThe level of compression to use in any backup files created when using this Backup Definition. The default level is 'Medium'.
EncryptionThe type of encryption to use on any backup files created from this Backup Definition. If AES encryption is used, a password must be entered using the 'Set Password' button.
Folder Structure

This controls the folder structure for the backups in the repository. The backups can be separated per computer, with all backups for that computer being stored in the same folder regardless of the definition that created them, or they can be separated by computer and definition, with a subfolder being created per definition for each computer.

Note: When 'Separate by computer' is selected, retention rules for any active backup using this definition will be applied to all backups in the destination folder.

VerificationIf this option is selected, backup files will be reread and verified immediately after creation.
CommentIf a comment is entered here it will be saved as part of any backup files created and be visible to any restore tools.
CPU PriorityThe CPU priority for the running backup process. Lower priorities may result in the backup taking longer if there is contention for CPU resources. The default priority is High.
Bandwidth Rate Limit

If enabled, a rate limit can be set for writing to the repository. This will limit the write rate to a specified number of MBit (megabits) per second. This can be used to help manage bandwidth when performing large numbers of backups.

In the backup progress, a higher transfer rate than the rate limit may be displayed. This is because the transfer limit counts the amount of data read from the source disk and saved into the backup file without including compression. 

After the backup is completed, the read and write rate is shown in the backup log.

Once the options are set appropriately, press 'Finish' to complete the wizard and save the backup definition. If there are any errors or issues with saving the backup definition, the wizard will not close and an error message will be displayed. If appropriate any affected fields will be highlighted in red. 

Backup Definition Operations

Once backup definitions have been created, they are shown in a list:

The selected backup definition can be changed by clicking on the list of names in the left-hand column. Once a backup definition has been selected, the configuration of that definition is shown. Several operations can be performed on this definition.

Deleting a Backup Definition

Clicking the 'Delete' button to the right of the definition name will delete the selected backup definition. 

Copying a Backup Definition

Clicking the 'Copy' button to the right of the definition name will copy the selected backup definition to a new definition which can then be edited. This is useful for creating multiple definitions with only minor differences. The new definition must be given a new name:

Editing a Backup Definition

Editing a backup definition is possible by clicking any of the 'Edit' buttons on the page. Each button will open the backup definition wizard at the appropriate wizard step. This is the same process used in creating a backup definition except the wizard will be pre-populated with data from the selected definition. When editing a backup definition the 'Finish' button may be pressed at any stage and not just the final one.

Running a Backup Definition Manually

To run a backup definition on a one-off basis, the 'Run Now' button can be clicked. This opens the 'Run Now' wizard with the following steps:

Step 1 - Computers

The first step is to select which computers to run the backup on.

If the 'Wake on LAN' option is selected, disconnected computers may be selected as well as connected ones. The Site Manager server will attempt to wake any disconnected computers up as part of the backup process.

The Wake-on-LAN option allows detailed Wake-on-LAN options to be set:

Step 2 - Options

The second step is to select which repository to use as well as the type of backup to perform.

If enabled, the power saving options can be configured to either shut down, hibernate, suspend, or reboot the selected computers after the backup is complete. The selected computers can also be forced to close all running programs before performing the power-saving action.

Selecting 'Run' will run the backup with the selected options. Run now backups can be seen in the forecast on the 'Dashboard' page.

Backup Types

If a differential or incremental backup is selected without a corresponding full backup in the repository to base the differential or incremental backup on, the computer will perform a full backup instead.

Running Backups Automatically on a Schedule

To perform automated backups according to a schedule, The backup definition can be scheduled to run in a repository according to a schedule. More information is available here

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