Better way of excluding folders from file/folder backup


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David C
David C
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I have to exclude at least 20 folders from my backup jobs. Doing this now requires copying the values out of the interface, pasting into notepad, editing, and pasting back into Reflect.

C:\$Windows.~WS;C:\$WINDOWS.~BT;C:\backup-boar;C:\Program Files (x86);c:\program files;C:\$Recycle.bin;C:\Users\David\Dropbox;C:\Users\David\save_me_from_picasa_restore;C:\boar;C:\bin-hg-crxx;C:\bin-clone-boar;c:\bin;C:\bin-save-from-boar;C:\Windows;C:\Users\David\VirtualBox VMs\nobackup;C:\Users\David\AppData\Local\Temp;C:\Users\David\VirtualBox VMs;C:\users\David\pictures\boar;C:\Users\David\Music\boar;C:\Users\David\Videos\boar

Some of these are standard, most are not.
Trying to type into an overstuffed edit box is not a UI. It is a horror.

Your UI reminds me of the worst UI in Windows, the PATH environment variable setting which is - surprise - a long horrible edit box. And check out the Rapid Environment Editor, a night-and-day improvement. I think a good UI would be a great change.

I did see a request for a tree-based include UI. In general those are really slow to fill, and the include vs exclude can be tricky. I think a good compromise would be using a nice UI widget for the folder exclude .

A list box with each path segment visible and scrollable is not that hard and I think would be much easier to use. Prefill a new job with the standard ones.

Please.
jphughan
jphughan
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I'm not arguing that the setup could be better, although given that the include/exclude masks can currently be specified for each top-level folder in the job rather than job-wide, I can see that this would require some functional redesign rather than just a UI change.  It hasn't been my experience that tree-style pick lists are particularly slow to populate, at least not when they're only listing folders rather than folders and files.  The include/exclude selections could be managed using a checkbox next to each item, with shaded checkboxes on parents that have partial selections underneath, exactly as shown in the Indexing Options > Modify dialog.

​​But regarding the topic at hand, if what you posted above is your exclusion list, it appears you're selecting your entire C drive as a folder in a File & Folder backup job?  In that case, I have a few suggestions:

First, given that it's possible to specify multiple "top-level" folders in a single F&F definition file (screenshot below), you might prefer to remove from your selection and instead directly add whatever folders on the root of C you actually do want to back up.  That would offer a few nice benefits:
  • No need to ​add exclusions for root-level folders like those Windows folders, Program Files folders, and Recycle Bin.
  • The exclusions you still DID need, i.e. for subfolders of your top-level picks, would be spread across multiple top-level entries, so no single exclusion list would be as long and unwieldy as what you're dealing with now.  As long as you don't have lots of folders right on your C root that you want to back up, this would even be a fairly quick change to implement (although you'd need to create a new Full backup) -- and if you DO have a lot of data folders right on the root of C, it might be worth considering simplifying that by moving all of those folders into a new "Data" folder, for example, so that you only have to select that folder in the F&F job.
Perhaps better yet, have you considered capturing a disk image of your C drive instead?  Consider:
  • A Full backup would of course be larger upfront, but if you capture Differentials and/or Incrementals​, you might actually find that your total backup set size will be smaller.  The reason is that disk images work at the disk sector level, whereas F&F backups work at the file level.  This means that when a file changes, an image backup only needs to capture the specific blocks on disk that changed, whereas an F&F job has to recopy the entire file -- so if you change 20KB of data in a file that's 4GB, the Diff/Inc image backup will capture about 20KB and the F&F backup will capture 4GB.  This difference in behavior might even make it practical for you to start backing up your VMs, for example.  If you have a lot of VMs, an image-based set might still be larger, but then again you're backing up more data.
  • Image backups are faster for capturing a given amount of data because block level operations are faster, although granted, perhaps not by enough of a margin to offset the extra data you'd be capturing during a Full backup.
  • You can still extract individual files from image backups, in fact it's arguably a bit easier since if you choose to mount a F&F backup as a virtual disk, files larger than 4GB won't be represented properly, so it wouldn't be possible to restore them via copy/paste; you'd have to go through the wizard.  Mounted image backups do not have this limitation.
  • And lastly, an image backup can of course be used to actually restore your entire C drive, which could be very useful if your OS ever becomes unbootable due to an update that didn't install correctly, malware, user error, etc.  An F&F backup of your C drive would be useless in that recovery scenario.  You're actually the first person I've seen here who's running an F&F backup of C, which might explain why the "standard exclusions" you mentioned don't exist.
Small additional note: You have overlapping exclusions in your list, namely "C:\Users\David\VirtualBox VMs\nobackup" and "C:\Users\David\VirtualBox VMs".  Either the former exclusion is redundant, or the latter exclusion is causing you not to back up VMs you mean to be.

Aforementioned example of having folders at the root of C listed individually with their own subfolder exclusion list​​s rather than just selecting C and having one massive exclusion list:

Edited 4 November 2017 10:52 PM by jphughan
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