Folder backups as zip files


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gregamis
gregamis
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I would love a feature where folder backups can be stored as simple zip files. This would be helpful for long-term backups, where the backup may need to be resurrected by someone who doesn't have Reflect and can't get a copy for some reason.
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Edited 8 November 2018 3:08 PM by gregamis
jphughan
jphughan
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Using zip files would prevent Reflect from creating Inc/Diff backups and might also interfere with other features, such as some of the encryption options, the ability to add comments to the backup file, etc.  If you just want to archive some data into zip files, there are already tons of ways to do that.  PowerShell even has a simple Compress-Archive command that allows you to specify one or more source folders to be included into a zip file, then the path to the zip file, and then presto, you've got your compressed archive.  Documentation is available here.  You can easily store that as a script file that you run on-demand, create a scheduled task that calls it if desired, some combination of the two, etc.  You can even achieve email notifications if you want.  In fact I've got a PowerShell script that already does this "zip and send success or failure email" routine that I could share with you if you'd like.  I've even implemented a rudimentary retention policy.

Or you could simply replicate your existing file set to another location without compression, thereby avoiding the risk of the zip file becoming corrupt.  Once again, there are lots of solid file syncing applications out there, some of them both good and free. I use Allway Sync for this purpose.

Edited 8 November 2018 5:26 PM by jphughan
gregamis
gregamis
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Yeah, I realize a zip format wouldn't support a lot of your features. And I realize there are other products out there. I just really like and trust React and would love to use it for more situations.

And sure, I'd love to see your script! I'm especially curious if you're able to do an incremental changes.
jphughan
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If you're worried about being unable to extract data from a PC that doesn't have Reflect, consider storing a Reflect installer file in the same folder as your backups.  Since you're using File & Folder backups, you'd need a paid version of Reflect rather than the Free version to access these backups, but you could also store your license key as a text file there if it's a device you're securing.

I don't know of a way to do Incremental backups with zip files.  Even doing Differential backups would require being able to see the uncompressed size and Date Modified information of the files inside the existing 'Full" zip file, and I've never looked into whether that can be done without actually extracting the zip file itself.  But Incremental backups using zip files would be even worse, since you'd have to analyze the contents of all zip files at the destination, then for each individual contained file, find the newest version that exists in all of your zip files in order to compare that version against the current state of the source.  And even if you achieved that, a zip file has no way to indicate that a file was deleted on the source, so the best you could do would be to make sure only new or updated files were created in each new incremental zip file.  And even if you were also ok with not having an indication of when something was deleted, performing a full restore would be a pain.  You'd have to start by extracting the oldest zip, then extract each newer zip in turn to supplement or replace files that were already extracted from earlier backups -- and again since there was no record of deletions, you'd end up with more files than you might've wanted to have.

In terms of implementing this into Reflect, I seriously doubt it will happen.  It would represent a fair amount of engineering and testing work (even minor features requests do), and it would be going toward creating a "mode" that is unable to take advantage of some of Reflect's core existing features, which means I doubt very many people would ever use it.  Far more people would likely be confused as to why it was introduced in the first place, not to mention new users not being sure what to choose when they "just want their files backed up".  That's not a great value proposition.  But this is after all the Wish List section of the forum. Smile

But on a more positive note, below I've attached a modified version of a PowerShell script I wrote a while ago. Just change the extension from TXT to PS1. I've adapted the documentation block at the top of the script according to the modifications I made, so reading that should help you get going and become aware of the areas you'll need to adjust to suit your purposes. You'll essentially be creating Full backups each time you run this. Hopefully this helps!

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Zip-Backup.txt (2 views, 5.00 KB)
Edited 8 November 2018 6:24 PM by jphughan
jphughan
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Posted a new version of the script above to remove some other things that were specific to my own use case, replaced by more generalized example content.

gregamis
gregamis
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jphughan - 8 November 2018 6:25 PM
Posted a new version of the script above to remove some other things that were specific to my own use case, replaced by more generalized example content.

Thanks, I appreciate the effort, and the thoughtful response.
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