Cirrostore Manual

Advanced Actions

Advanced Actions page allows you to perform some otherwise-obscure actions.

Create New Seed

The Create New Seed button is used to create an initial copy of your data or “seed” on a portable storage device (e.g. a USB key or portable hard drive) which you then send to OnTheNet to be copied into your backup account. You would normally only need to do this if you have a lot of data which is going to take a long time (days or weeks) to seed via the internet.

Note that there may be an additional charge involved in having OnTheNet copy your seed to your backup account.

Please see this page for more information on seeding.

Prior to creating your seed you need to select the data you’d like backed up, which also sets what data is put into your seed. You may have selected the data you’d like backed up when CirroStore was first installed, but you can check and change your selection using the Folders to Backup area.

You’ll need to attach a portable storage device large enough to hold your data to your computer, e.g. by plugging in your USB key or portable hard drive. When you’re happy with your data selection, click on the Create New Seed button.

Read the message there, and click the Yes if you’re ready to continue. First select the portable storage device to hold your data, then click the OK button. Your data will then be copied to your device.

When it’s finished, you can package the device securely, include a cover letter telling us who the device belongs to, and send them to:

Hard Disk Deliveries
OnTheNet Pty Ltd
c/o Data Centre Team Interactive
437 Williamstown Road
Port Melbourne VIC 3207

Manage Keys

Manage Keys page allows you to manage the keys used to access your backup account.

  • Check Activation Now
  • Upload Public Key Now
  • Export Current Keys
  • Import Existing Keys
  • Generate New Keys
    • This creates new public and private keys, used to access your online storage. The public key is sent to OnTheNet and must be configured into our backup system before you will be able to access your online storage again. This would normally only be done at the request of OnTheNet staff, or if you suspect someone may have copied your private key to get access to your online storage. Using this button will prevent anyone with your previous key from accessing your online storage. Be aware that if you use this button you will not be able to access your online storage until OnTheNet have confirmed your identity. Please see this page for more information on keys.

Monitor Progress

Monitor Progress page displays the log output of a running backup.

If a backup is running, this page will display a log output of the current backup and its progress.

Restore Data

Restore Data page allows you to restore your files.

Choose the target directory you wish to restore to, by either entering the correct path in the “Restore To:” window or clicking Browse and selecting the target directory.

In the main window you will see a list of directories named with the date of each days backup. The “daily-new” directory contains the most recent backup. You can choose the files you wish to restore by selecting a directory. Clicking the Restore button will restore all the files below the selected directory into the “Restore To:” target directory.

You do not have to restore an entire days backup. You can select individual files by double clicking a directory which will display the sub-directories and files below it. You can then select an individual file or sub-directory to restore.

Summary

The Summary page shows you:

  • If a backup is running.
    • Start Backup Now: starts a backup immediately
    • Stop: stops a running backup
    • Monitor Progress: allows you to monitor the progress of a running backup.
  • The success or failure of the most recent backup attempt and how many days since your last succesfull backup.
    • View Log: displays the most recent backup log.
  • When the next backup will run.
    • Edit Schedule: allows you to change the backup schedule. The colored icons give you an overview of the status, e.g. green is “everything is good”, orange is “you might want to pay attention to this” and red is “oops, you should pay attention!”.

View History

View History page allows you to view the logs of any previous backup or restore data attempts.

The View History page will list all the logs of any previous backup or restore attempts.

You can view an individual log by double clicking on it.

Advanced Backup Configuration

Advanced Backup Configuration page allows you to configure some of the more advanced areas of CirroStore.

The underlying backup uses the rsync command, so familiarity with that command will help you with these settings. See http://samba.anu.edu.au/ftp/rsync/rsync.html for more information on this command.

  • Command Line Preview This shows you the command line that will be used to run your backups.
  • Custom Arguments You can add further rsync arguments here. Your arguments will be last in the argument list just before the source directory, giving you a chance to override the fixed arguments.
  • Filters File This points to an rsync filter file, which is used to exclude specific files and directories. See: Filter Files
  • File Type Filters File This points to an rsync filter file, which is used to exclude specific file types, e.g. .tmp. See: Filter Files
  • Pre-Script File This points to a Windows script or command that is run prior to the backup.
  • Post-Script File This points to a Windows script or command that is run after the backup.
  • Rsync Verbosity This controls how much logging information is produced by rsync.
  • Prevent computer sleeping during backup? Checking this box prevents your computer from going to sleep whilst a backup is running if your computer is set to automatically sleep when idle.
  • Reset Defaults Use this button if you’ve changed settings and would like to get back to the defaults.
  • Save: This button saves any settings you have changed. If you don’t want to save your changes it’s safe to simply click out of this page. You’ll be presented with a message box asking if you’d like to save your changes and you can click Yes to save your changes, or No to discard your changes, or Cancel to go back into the configuration page.

Backup Schedule

Backup Schedule page allows you to configure when your backups will occur.

  • Backup Daily: With this option your backup occurs at a fixed time. This would be the normal setting for fixed computers like desktops or servers. Clicking the Show Advanced Details button shows the actual settings.
    • Hide Advanced Details This button will hide the details.
    • Include Weekends If this box is checked the backup will run on weekends, if the box isn’t checked no backups will be run on weekends. Be aware that if this box isn’t checked and you schedule the backup for early in the morning, your Friday work will not be backed up until Monday morning. You may consider leaving this box checked even if you don’t work weekends as that simply means there won’t be much changed data to backup!
    • Start Time 1 This sets the time the backup will start.
    • Start Time 2 This sets the time another backup will start, e.g. if you’d like to backup twice a day. This may be set to – if you only want to backup once a day.
    • Stop Time This sets the time to stop any active backups. E.g. if you have a large backup which is still going in the morning, but you would prefer to have the backup not complete than have your internet connection speed affected, you can set this to stop any backups when you start work.
    • Reset Defaults Use this button if you’ve changed settings and would like to get back to the defaults.
  • Backup When Idle: With this option your backup occurs when the computer is idle. This is useful for mobile computers like laptops where the Backup Daily is not suitable because the computer may not be connected at the scheduled time. Clicking the Show Advanced Details button shows the actual settings.
    • Hide Advanced Details This button will hide the details.
    • Backup after my computer has been idle for this many minutes A backup will start when the computer has been idle for this length of time. This is best set long enough so that backups don’t start whilst you’re still using the computer (e.g. whilst still reading a web page), but not so long that the computer is generally turned off before the idle period expires. Then don’t do another backup for at least this many hours This is used to avoid continually backing up – once a backup has been successfully completed no further backups will be automatically started within which length of time.
    • Reset Defaults Use this button if you’ve changed settings and would like to get back to the defaults.
  • No Automated Backups: This setting means that no automatic backups are performed. To perform a manual backup you can use the Start Backup Now button on the Overview > Backup Control page. You can also this option in conjunction with the Windows Task Scheduler if you need more complex scheduling than is offered by the Backup Daily or Backup When Idle options. See Use Windows Task Scheduler below.
  • Save: This button saves any settings you have changed. If you don’t want to save your changes it’s safe to simply click out of this page. You’ll be presented with a message box asking if you’d like to save your changes and you can click Yes to save your changes, or No to discard your changes, or Cancel to go back into the configuration page.
  • Note: scheduled backups are run by the Windows Task Scheduler. If you change the backup schedule within Task Scheduler instead of CirroStore, your changes will be overwritten if you then make any changes within CirroStore, and save them.
  • Use Windows Task Scheduler If you need more complex scheduling than provided directly in CirroStore, you can use the Windows Task Scheduler. directly to schedule your backups. Be aware that CirroStore, will delete all scheduled tasks with a name starting with CirroStore. when CirroStore is deleted or upgraded, so it would be best to avoid task names that start that way.

Emails & Alerts

Emails & Alerts page allows you to configure your emails and alerts.

Send diagnostic information to OnTheNet automatically after each backup?: As suggested, with this box checked CirroStore will send your logs to OnTheNet. This is normally unchecked, and should only be checked at the request of OnTheNet staff.

SMTP Settings

The settings in here are used when sending email. The settings should be the same as for your email program.

  • Server The name of your SMTP server for sending emails.
  • Port The port number for your SMTP server. The standard port number for most SMTP servers is 25, although in some servers will use 587. Reset to Default This button sets the port number back to 25, the standard port number for most SMTP servers.
  • Username (if Required) If your SMTP server requires a username, put it here.
  • Password (if Required) If your SMTP server requires a username it will usually also require a password: put it here.
  • Send Test Email Once you’ve configured your SMTP server you can test it’s working. This will send an email to both OnTheNet. and your own email address as configured in Email Address on the Username page. Please check that you’ve received the email!
  • Save: This button saves any settings you have changed. If you don’t want to save your changes it’s safe to simply click out of this page. You’ll be presented with a message box asking if you’d like to save your changes and you can click Yes to save your changes, or No to discard your changes, or Cancel to go back into the configuration page.

Folders to Backup

Folders to Backup page is where you choose which folders you’d like to back up.

Add Folder: this brings up a folder browser window where you can select a drive or folder to back up. To select multiple drives or folders, select one, click OK, and then click again on Add Folder.

Remove Selected: to remove a folder from your backups, highlight any of the folder names in the main window by clicking on them, then click on Remove Selected.

Save: when you’re happy with your selection click on Save to save. If you have any redundant folders (e.g. having C:\ twice, or having C:\ and C:\Documents and Settings, where C:\ already includes C:\Documents and Settings) in your folder list the redundancies will be automatically removed.

Note: Within the folders selected on this page, the folders and files actually backed up is further constrained by the Filters File and File Type Filters File on the Configuration > Advanced Backup Config page.

Username

Username page is for basic configuration settings.

  • Username: put your OnTheNet username here. This is used to connect to your online storage.
  • Email Address: put your own email address here. This is used to (optionally) send you backup reports etc.

Filter Files

Exclude

Excluding files or directories can be done by using Wordpad to manually add entries to the rsync filter files:

C:\Program Files\OnTheNet\CirroStore\config\default.flt

C:\Program Files\OnTheNet\CirroStore\config\default_filetypes.flt

Whilst these files actually work the same way, the convention is to use default.flt for file and directory paths, anddefault_filetypes.flt for file extensions. In particular, CirroStore uses the default_filetypes.flt file before the default.fltfile, so default_filetypes.flt takes precedence.

File Types

Excluding file types is straight forward, e.g. to exclude all files anywhere on the system with the extension .abc:

- *.abc

Note that the filter rules are case sensitive, whereas the Windows filesystem is somewhat case insensitive, which means that to exclude all files with the extension .tmp, regardless of case (e.g. .TMP .TmP etc.) you need to use:

- *.[tT][mM][pP]

File Names

To exclude all files with a name starting with “My Temp File”, in any case, you can use:

- [mM][yY] [tT][eE][mM][pP] [fF][iI][lL][eE]*

To exclude all files with a name starting with “My Temp File”, in any case, but only within a folder named “Foo”, you can use:

- [fF][oO][oO]/[mM][yY] [tT][eE][mM][pP] [fF][iI][lL][eE]*

Folders

To exclude all folders called “Folder Name” (and their contents), you can use:

- Folder Name/***

(that’s a minus sign, space, then the folder name followed by slash asterisk asterisk asterisk.) E.g. you can exclude all folders called “unwanted” using:

- unwanted/***

That will exclude that folder name everywhere it appears in the folder hierarchy. You can exclude all “unwanted” folders that live inside a “Bar” folder like:

- Bar/unwanted/***

Note that the folder names are case sensitive. To exclude all folders called “temp”, in any case (e.g. Temp, TEMP etc.), you would use:

- [Tt][Ee][Mm][Pp]/***

If you have the same folder name in multiple places, and you only want to exclude a specific one, you can use a leading slash and the name of the volume (without a colon). E.g. to exclude this specific directory:

E:\Foo\Bar\unwanted

…you would use:

- /E/Foo/Bar/unwanted/***

More Info

The full filter file syntax is specified in the “FILTER RULES” section here:

http://www.samba.org/ftp/rsync/rsync.html

It can be a bit tricky to get right if you want to do things like “exclude everything in this folder except this sub-folder…”. Hint: order matters A LOT, and you need to include the sub-folder (using a plus sign instead of a minus sign) and every path component within the parent folder before excluding the parent folder.

Outlook *.pst files

See Also:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/830119

http://email.about.com/od/outlooktips/qt/et_archive_mail.htm

Microsoft Outlook stores your local email in a file with a ‘.pst’ extension, often called a PST file. The main PST file used by Outlook is called Outlook.pst by default – this is where all your incoming email is stored. If you have a lot of email, the PST file can grow very large (e.g. bigger than 2 GB) and cause your Outlook to slow down, as well as providing a particular challenge to your OnTheNet backup.

Briefly, the challenge for your OnTheNet backup is that the backup looks for files that have changed since the last time it was run, then looks for changes within those files so that it can send just the changes over your internet link – this makes the backup much faster than if it were to simply send the whole file. When you receive email the changes are largely all near the end of the PST, but the backup has to scan the whole file looking for the changes. With a large file this scanning can take some significant time, which means you backup may take much longer than otherwise.

Outlook itself is configured by default to automatically archive your older email to a file called Archive.pst. This helps your main Outlook.pst stay a reasonable size, however, again depending on how much email you actually have, this can simply move the problem from Outlook.pst to Archive.pst. In the worse case this can actually make things worse for your backup as the Archive.pst can get very large, and now the backup needs to scan both the Outlook.pst and the Archive.pst.

The recommended practice is to keep your older emails in an Archive-YYYY.pst PST file, where the ‘YYYY’ is the relevant year, e.g. Archive-2010.pst, Archive-2011.pst. This means your Outlook.pst stays a reasonable size, and the archive PST files only grow to a limited size.

If you already have a large (e.g. bigger than 2 GB) Archive.pst file, you can simply rename it to Archive-YYYY-MM-DD.pst, where YYYY-MM-DD is the current date, e.g. Archive-2011-05-12.pst. reducing the number of emails in your main PST file and thus reducing the size of the main PST file. This has the dual benefit of both making your Outlook faster (because it doesn’t have to deal with all the old emails) as well as making your backup faster.

Depending on which version of Windows and Outlook you have, your Outlook PST files are usually in one of these locations:

drive:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

drive:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\

Seeding

“Seeding” is the initial process of copying your data to OnTheNet.

This can be done over the internet or by copying your data to a portable storage device (e.g. a USB key or portable hard drive) and sending this to OnTheNet. To seed over the internet, you just start a backup – the first backup creates the seed.

Doing the seeding over the internet can take some significant time, depending on how much data you have and the speed of your internet link. See the Approximate Seeding Times table for some approximate seeding times. During this time your internet link will be slower than normal as the data is transferred.

Type Speed 10GB 100GB
SATA 30mbps
USB 2.0
100Mbps Ethernet
ADSL2
ADSL(1.5/256)

After the first seeding copy, CirroStore does an incremental backup of your data which just transfers the changes to your data since the previous backup. This means subsequent backups are typically much faster than the first seeding backup.

If seeding over internet looks like it will take too long, you can use the Create New Seed option in CirrosStore’s Advanced Actions section to copy your data to a portable storage device, then send your data to. Make sure you email us at support@onthe.net.au, when you send the seed HDD:

Hard Disk Deliveries
OnTheNet Pty Ltd
c/o Data Centre Team Interactive
437 Williamstown Road
Port Melbourne VIC 3207