The rsync.net Windows Backup Agent

A powerful, free backup tool suitable for Windows desktops and servers

 

rsync.net customers may use a simple, powerful backup agent that handles automated, encrypted backups - even open files.

Special requirements like splitting apart exchange mailboxes, bare metal restore images, and hyper-V image backups require the use of BackupAssist. However, if you need a simple tool to quickly set up your backups, our Backup Agent is a great choice.

 

Installing the rsync.net Windows Backup Agent

 

First, download the rsync.net Backup Agent and double-click the installation icon.

After clicking "Next" on the welcome screen, read the short License Agreement and check "I accept the agreement", then click "Next".

We recommend choosing the default destination directory for the software on the "Select Destination Location" screen. Click "Next".

We recommend choosing the default Start Menu folder, clicking "Next", then choosing the default "Additional Options" and clicking "Next" again.

Finally, on the "Ready to Install" page, click "Install". After the short installation, you may click "Finish" on the post-install screen.

 

Configuring a Backup

 

After starting the Backup Agent, you will be presented with a simple "Wizard". Click the top button labeled "Create a new backup profile".

In step 1, you will choose two locations - a source location on your own computer (the left-hand side) and the remote address of your rsync.net fileserver (the right-hand side).

Click the "Browse" button to the right of the "left-hand side" and choose a folder or directory on your computer to back up.

Click the globe icon to the right of the "right-hand side" to set up the remote destination for your backup. A small "Internet Protocol Settings" window will open.

Protocol should be set to "SSH (Encrypted)"

URL should be the address of your rsync.net storage system - this was indicated in your original welcome email. It should look something like:

sftp://usw-s001.rsync.net

or:

sftp://ch-s010.rsync.net

Port Number should be "22".

Folder is the folder on the remote side (the rsync.net side) that you would like this backup to be placed into. This should be something descriptive. A good choice is (name of machine)_(name of backup). For instance:

accounting_quickbooks

NOTE: there are no leading or trailing slashes on the "Folder".

NOTE: if you leave "Folder" blank, your backup will work fine - but the contents of your source directory will be placed in the base of your rsync.net account. If this is the only backup you will be pointing to this rsync.net account, that may be acceptable. However if you are pointing multiple backups to this rsync.net account, it will be very confusing. We strongly recommend that you enter a folder name.

User ID should be the rsync.net username that you received in your welcome email (a 4 or 5 digit number).

Password should be the rsync.net password that you received in your welcome email.

You should check BOTH "Save User ID" and "Save Password".

Now click the "OK" button.

Step 1 of 6 is now complete - click the "Next" button.

In step 2, you choose the direction of the backup. The default choice is to have only "Left to Right" checked. We recommend this setting.

Step 2 of 6 is now complete - click the "Next" button.

In step 3 you can choose from one of the various sync modes. The default settings of "Standard Copying", "Detect if Files Have Been Moved" and adjust location on the "Right-Hand Side" are recommended.

Step 3 of 6 is now complete - click the "Next" button.

In step 4 you can include or exclude specific file. We recommend leaving the defaults in place and backing up all of the files in the folder you chose in step1 .

Step 4 of 6 is now complete - click the "Next" button.

In step 5 you can schedule this profile for automated backups - IGNORE THIS SCREEN and simply click "Next". We will schedule the automated backups after the initial backup has concluded.

Step 5 of 6 is now complete - click the "Next" button.

In step 6 you can name your profile. Type in a descriptive name for the profile and then click "Save & Run".

After negotiating your login, you will be given an error message explaining that the folder you chose to store things in on the remote side does not exist. Click "Yes", indicating that the backup agent can create the folder.

You will now be shown a summary screen indicating all of the data that will be transferred during this backup. Simply click the "Start" button in the lower left corner.

The backup is now running. You will see progress meters for both the entire job and each individual file. When the backup is complete, you will see a "Copying Results" window. Simply click "OK".

 

Scheduling the Backup

 

If you have a large number of files to back up, your initial upload may take longer than 24 hours. For this reason, we do not schedule the daily, automated backups of your system until after the initial backup has completed. Subsequent backups are very quick because only the files that have been changed will be transferred to your rsync.net account.

Once your initial backup has completed successfully, use the following instructions to schedule your daily, automated backups.

If your initial backup fails for any reason, simply choose "Edit or run one of my saved profiles" from the Wizard and run your profile again (by clicking it once to highlight, then clicking the "Run Profile" button). You will again see the small "Progress Building File Lists" window, and will need to press "Start" once the "Backup Preview" window appears.

To schedule the backup, in the rsync.net Backup Agent Wizard, choose the second item "Edit or run one of my saved profiles".

Choose your saved backup profile from the list, and click the "Edit Profile" button.

All of your settings should remain the same, except for the schedule - so simply click "Next" until you arrive at step 5.

On the page for step 5, click "Schedule This Profile", and click "Run Every Day At".

Then enter a time of day that the backup job should run at. The best time to run a backup is during off-peak hours, when nobody is accessing the data being backed up. Be sure to choose the proper AM or PM signifier for the time you have chosen.

Make sure the box at the right marked "Start Scheduler" is checked and click "Next".

Now, on step 6 of the wizard, simple click "Save Only". The scheduler is now running and your backup will run at the time you have chosen each night.

 

 

Advanced Usage of the Windows Backup Agent

 

The rsync.net Windows Backup Agent has powerful optional features:

Changes only (bandwidth efficient) updating of remote files
Versioning
Compression of remote files
Encryption of remote files
Running the Backup Agent as a Service
Calling the Backup Agent in a batch file

These options are configured by entering "Advanced Mode" - simply click the link in the upper left corner of Backup Agent while in Wizard Mode:

and you will enter the advanced configuration mode:

Changes Only Updating of Files

By default, the Windows Backup Agent retransfers changed files to the remote site in an inefficient manner. That is, if the file on your end changes, the entire file will be resent. In the case of large files, this could mean quite a bit of extra time spent, and bandwidth used, just to update a small amount of changes.

To enable efficient transfer of only the changes that have occurred in your files, highlight your profile in advanced mode, edit the profile (click the icon with the pencil in it), and click the "Special" category in the lower left hand corner. In the resulting tab sheet, check the box marked "Use Partial File Updating":

With this option checked, files that change on your end will not be entirely retransmitted - only the changes necessary to update the remote file will be transmitted.

Versioning

You should ignore this section and NOT enable versioning inside the Windows Backup Agent. The filesystem snapshots that we do at rsync.net, on our end, are much more efficient and you do not pay for the space that they use. Just do plain old "dumb" 1:1 mirror backups of your data to us, and let our platform do the versioning for you.

Note: Versioning and Partial File Updating (see above) are mutually exclusive. If you enable versioning, partial file updates will not be done - all changed files will be re-uploaded in their entirety.

Versioning allows you to retain multiple versions of a file. These snapshots of the past state(s) of the file can be accessed just like any other file on your offsite backup. This is useful if you want to retain multiple revisions of a file or if you want to guard against destructive edits and/or unintended changes to the file.

To enable versioning, highlight your profile in advanced mode, edit the profile (click the icon with the pencil in it), and click the "Versioning" category in the lower left hand corner. In the resulting tab sheet, check the box marked "Keep multiple backup versions":

With this option checked, your most up to date version of a file will have exactly the same filename as it always had. Versions in the past, however, will be renamed with a human readable time/date stamp.

If you additionally check the "Filename Encoding" option, the past versions will be renamed with a machine readable time/date stamp that interoperates well with the restore wizard. We recommend checking this additional option.

For example: If a frequently updated file named

file.doc

is changed, and your profile has "keep multiple backup versions" checked, past versions will have names that look like:

file.2-9-2009 4.36.28 PM.doc

If you additionally have the "Filename Encoding" option checked, past versions will have names that look like this instead:

file.d20090209-t165328.doc.

Compression of Remote Files

You may set your profile to automatically compress each file as it is transferred, saving space on the remote end. These compressed files will be compressed, file by file, using standard ZIP compression.

To enable compression, highlight your profile in advanced mode, edit the profile (click the icon with the pencil in it), and click the "Zip / Encryption" category in the lower left hand corner. In the resulting tab sheet, check the box marked "ZIP Each File Individually".

Files that have already been backed up will not be retroactively compressed. Only new files and updated files will be compressed. If you enable compression on an existing profile that has versioning enabled, you may find yourself with current versions that are compressed, but older versions that are uncompressed. This is no problem.

NOTE: Your backup will take longer to run because compressing your files is a computationally expensive option. Further, if your source files are mostly image or movie files, such as JPEG and MPEG files, enabling compression will have no benefit as those filetypes are already heavily compressed on their own. Do not enable Zipping for a dataset predominately composed of such files.

Encryption of Remote Files

You may set your profile to automatically encrypt each file as it is transferred. These files will be encrypted with the ZIP encryption function, using the encryption scheme you select.

To enable encryption, highlight your profile in advanced mode, edit the profile (click the icon with the pencil in it), and click the "Zip / Encryption" category in the lower left hand corner. In the resulting tab sheet, choose the "Encryption" tab and then check the box "Encrypt Files Copied Left to Right". We recommend using the encryption scheme "Zip-Compatible AES (256 bit)" which is the default choice. Please be sure to enter, and confirm, a passphrase for the encryption.

Files that have already been backed up with this profile will not be retroactively encrypted until they are changed, and need to be updated. Further, enabling encryption on an existing remote data set, with versioning turned on, will result in a scenario where current versions of your files are encrypted, but previous versions in the past are not. If you plan on encrypting the targets of a particular profile, we highly recommend running with that option from the very beginning, and not switching on encryption at a later date. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be safer to simply delete all of the offsite data and start your backup regimen from scratch, with encryption turned on.

NOTE: Your backup will take longer to run because encrypting files is a computationally expensive option.

Running the Windows Backup Agent as a Service

The Windows Backup Agent can be run as a service. By default, it does not, which means the user that it runs under must be logged in for the scheduled backups to run.

To enable the service, install it and start it from the Scheduler tab sheet of the main application window.

The name of the service is the ExtremeSync Service. The service will start up automatically with Windows, even while no user has logged on yet. The service runs invisibly in the background without users noticing it. A user can also log out while the service is running a job. Neither will disturb the other.

In order to access network drives, the service must be given a log on account. This is done when clicking on the Install... button on the Scheduler tab sheet to install the service. To change the log on account, please uninstall and then re-install the service. Make sure that you specify a user account where you know that Windows Explorer has access to the volumes that you need. Choose an account that has network access without Windows Explorer asking for a password for the network drive. Windows Explorer should have already stored the password.

Also in order to enable access to a network drive, please try using a UNC path such as \\servername\sharename\foldername rather than a mapped drive letter.

If this is not sufficient, you can provide a username and password for the network resource in each profile. Use this setting on the Special tab sheet in the profile: Network Connections... However, this is rarely needed and should be avoided if possible.

Deleting to the recycle bin is not supported by the service.

The setting for the "Store Preferences" location on the Options tab sheet should be "One INI File for all users", or the service won't always have access to the settings. If you need to change this setting, please use "Save To INI" before making the switch, and Load From INI after the switch in order to carry your profiles over to the new location.

Even though the service is normally invisible, you can get a pretty good picture of what it's currently doing or planning to do, using the Scheduler tab sheet of the main application window. You can even connect to a remote computer and control and watch the service running there.

Running the Windows Backup Agent in a batch file

The Windows Backup Agent can be run from a batch file, and used in conjunction with other batch files or scripting that you may be doing.

Simply call the backup agent executable with these options:

/RUNX="Profile Name" /U

The above options instruct the agent to run the specified profile, as well as run unattended.

The following is a list of all command line options with an explanation for each:

/RUN="Profile Name" and /RUNX="Profile Name"

With these options, you can invoke a specific profile from the command line for immediate execution. /RUN= starts the profile and leaves the program running. /RUNX= starts the profile and exits the program after the profile has been executed. You can use the asterisk wildcard at the end of this option, for example: /RUN=* or /RUNX=* or /RUNX=Office* You can also add this to cause a shutdown when done by adding /SHUTDOWN

/U (unattended mode)

The profile is started and executed without further user interaction. When this option is not specified, the file list is being shown, but the actual synchronization must be started manually. In unattended mode, the program will only show an error message if one of the synchronization paths cannot be accessed.

/S (silent mode)

Like /U but there will not be any error messages whatsoever.

/M (minimized mode)

The program is minimized to the system try while executing the profile. This option implies /U.

/LEFT="Folder Path"

allows you to specify a left path that is different from the one stored with the profile.

/RIGHT="Folder Path"

allows you to override the profile's right path.

/MASK="File1.txt;*.doc"

allows you to override the profile's inclusion masks, or simply specify one or more files to copy.

/SHUTDOWN

Shutdown after running the profile(s) specified with /RUNX="Profile Name".

 

Click here for Simple Pricing - Or call 619-819-9156 or email info@rsync.net for more information.