Disaster Recovery

How do I back up my important data with Yadis Backup?

Yadis! Backup divides backup jobs into tasks which can be configured to perform either local or ftp backup, but it also runs backups in real time.

There are tons of backup solutions available, ranging from simple, single-user applications to much larger, complex solutions. Most all of these solutions will do what the creators claim -- back up your data. You always hope that data is backed up safely and that it will be there in that unforeseen moment when you need it.

There is one backup solution amid the myriad of others that offers a unique little twist on the old tried-and-true process. Yadis! Backup divides backup jobs into tasks that can be configured to perform either local or ftp backup. But what Yadis! does a bit differently is to run backups in real time. Whenever you make a change to your target file, your backup will quickly reflect that change. This means no scheduling is necessary. Good news for anyone who has forgotten to set up a backup schedule after making changes. Yadis! Backup offers a few other features that should appeal to users:

  • Tiny footprint
  • Simple to use
  • No program necessary to access backup files
  • Choice of exactly what to back up
  • Changes stored and backed up later if backup location not available

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Installation

Yadis! Backup has a standard Windows installation process. Just download the installation file and run it. The only step that might trip you up is that it will ask if you are a novice or an expert. Choose expert...naturally.

Once Yadis! Backup is installed, you will find the new sub-menu in the Start Menu. Now, let's walk through the process of setting up a backup with this tool.

NOTE: For this article, I am using a standard Windows XP desktop installation. I will be focusing on the My Documents directory for backup.

Backup

The steps for creating a new backup are:

  • Open the Yadis! Backup Monitor
  • Click the New button
  • Select the type of task
  • Give the task (backup) a name and description
  • Select the source and the destination
  • Add masks to include or exclude files
  • Set up versioning (optional)
  • Choose the group the task will belong to

Now, let's give each step a bit of detail.

Open the Yadis! Backup Monitor

When you first start Yadis! Backup you might get a warning that Yadis! Backup is already running. This is fine. The daemon is started upon installation. If Yadis! Backup is running, you will notice a small, round green icon in the System Tray. If you right-click that icon and select Open Monitor, then the Yadis! Backup main window will open (Figure A). From this window you click the New button, which needs no further details.

Figure A

From this window you can Add/Edit/Delete tasks as well as Start/Stop the Yadis! Backup Daemon.

Select the type of task

In Figure B you can see that there are three different types of tasks to select:
  • General: Create a standard backup on a local drive (can be a mapped network drive).
  • Favorites: Create a backup from your Favorites directory.
  • FTP: Create an FTP backup.

You will also notice the choice of Advanced or Standard mode. The difference between these two is that Advanced offers versioning and file monitoring. Once you have made these selections, click the Next button to move on.

Figure B

Most of your backups will be either General or FTP. And if you need to keep only one copy of the backup, you will not need versioning, so choose the Standard mode.

Give the task a name and description

You will need to give your backup a name and description, as shown in Figure C. Only the name will appear in the Task list, so the description could be considered as optional.

Figure C

Make sure the name indicates what is being backed up.

Once you have completed this step, click the Next button to continue.

Select the source and destination

Now it's time to select the files/folders to be backed up and the location that will house the backup copies. As you can see in Figure D, this is fairly straightforward. If you want to back up a network drive (that is not an FTP location), you will need to make sure that drive is pre-mapped, otherwise Yadis! will not see the location. In my example I am backing up a pre-mapped Samba server on a local network.

There are two options underneath the directory selectors: Preserve Directory Structure and Validate Target. You want to keep both of these checked. If you uncheck Preserve Directory Structure, Yadis! might explode the files housed in sub-directories into one directory, making a mess of your backup target. And if you do not validate the target, you might be unwittingly backing up to a target that won't work.

Figure D

As you can see, I am backing up to \\192.168.1.10\JACK, which has been mapped to the X: drive.

Once that is complete, click the Next button.

Add masks to include or exclude files

This next step should also be fairly straightforward. You can include or exclude file types such as *jpg or *mp3. To add either an include or an exclude mask, click the "+" sign associated with the type of mask you want to add. By default, Yadis! will provide an include mask of  *.* (Figure E), which means it will include all files.

Figure E

To remove a mask, you only have to click the "-" sign in the associated mask.

Once you have added the masks you want (or none at all), click the Next button to move on.

Set up versioning

If you have opted for the Advanced mode, you can enable versioning here. What this allows you to do is keep older versions of your backup. You can configure how many older versions to keep in this window (Figure F).

Figure F

If these are production backups, it's probably best to keep a version or two around.

Once it is complete, click the Next button.

Choose the group the task will belong to

The last step (Figure G) asks you to add your task to a group. This makes organizing your backups much easier. By default there is only one group -- My Tasks. If you need to add more groups, click the Manage Groups button. If you know that you are going to be creating numerous backups, it would behoove you to take advantage of the Groups feature.

Figure G

When you click the Manage Groups button, you will see a window similar to the initial Yadis! window (see Figure A above). Click the New button to create a new Group.

Once you click the Save button, Yadis! will give you a warning (if you have set up your destination on a network drive), making sure you trust the network device. Click Yes to this warning, and then Yadis! will ask if you want to immediately back up the files. Click Yes and you're finished.

Final thoughts

Yadis! Backup is one of the more foolproof backup solutions I've come across. If you are looking for a simple backup solution that does not require any scheduling, this might be what you are seeking. It's not exactly Enterprise-ready, but for smaller backups it's a pretty sweet solution.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

28 comments
armamatt
armamatt

What a piece of crap. Terrible interface. Deleted it after 30 seconds of use. Not user friendly at all.

travelwow
travelwow

can we back up changes or do we need to do a full backup each time

18cdbob18
18cdbob18

I've sampled over a dozen backup programs and despite the promises to accomplish these two tasks, they don't. Can Yadis: 1) backup a file already in use? 2) backup a file whose path character length doesn't appear to be a problem for your OS (i.e. XP) -- but exceeds a number of characters the backup can't handle? Is that too much to ask?

dave4501
dave4501

Yadis Backup is not working for me. It constantly gives alerts that errors or omissions are occurring. I have no confidence so decided to uninstall. Not easy. I get an error message when using add/remove programs that an uninstall file is missing. So I went to the Yadis website and download a special program unyadis.exe to get rid of it and get another error message that access to something is denied. As far as I'm concerned Tech Republic is not doing anyone a service by recommending this software. Dave

Jeff George
Jeff George

Sorry, but I think my question got lost somewhere in between, so will post again. How would this work with databases or would a scheduled backup be more appropriate?

craigkra
craigkra

This program seems to be an excellent piece of software, especially the small size and the review is a very thorough practical guide in view of the lack of help at the Yadis site. However, there seems to be something wrong with the information available about this program: (1) Inconsistent Information - At the Yadis site the version number is given as 1.0 and after downloading I verified the version number as 1.0.3.0. However, at CNET the specifications at page:- gives the version number as Yadis Backup 1.9.4.5 At the ghacks site, the page found by a Google search for "Yadis! Backup" - < http://www.ghacks.net/2009/10/03/yadis-backup-software/> the version number is given as "Yadis! Backup 1.6.5" (2) Addtional Information - At CNET < http://download.cnet.com/Yadis-Backup/3010-2242_4-11116245.html?tag=mncol> it also informs that: "System requirements: - Operating systems Windows Vista, Windows Me, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98 - Additional requirements Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0" These inconsistencies and addtions are repeated at various sites and are far from being unimportant. So, could someone at techrepublic.com please clear up these matters please?

orangeCat99
orangeCat99

It's one thing to have a procedure/process for backup, but there's no mention of restore. Isn't that a major part of backup?

glennmead
glennmead

Does it backup system files? How do I do a restore? Can it restore my entire system including system files?

cswile
cswile

Another interesting article - Thanks for the awesome info!

mark.bevan
mark.bevan

I have downloaded and installed - for some reason not all files in source dir are being copied to target during initial copy all action when setting up the task. I have emailed authors and await a response.

Jeff George
Jeff George

How would this work with databases or would a scheduled backup be more appropriate?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you have a regular schedule for backing up your data? How do you manage it?

mvermand
mvermand

The UnYadis.exe seems to work if you launch it with administrator rights. I have submitted a request to Codessentials to fix this issue and they said they would do so shortly.

mvermand
mvermand

I think it is not a good idea to backup a database on every change that occurs. You typically want to schedule a backup of a database. For larger databases you need to shutdown the database first in order to have a consistent backup copy.

mvermand
mvermand

Version 1.0.3.0 is the version of the installer file rather than the actual product version. About the different product versions: some shareware sites grab a program from the developers site at a given moment, or the developer puts a version on the shareware site. If the shareware site or the developer does not update the program on that shareware site when a new version becomes available, then this site might keep on distributing an older version.

junk1
junk1

How does this company build software that is free? I guess they get money from ads. Doesn't look like they make updates very often for a backup software company. I'm a little leary. Backups is one thing I don't mind paying a little money for.

littlehenry
littlehenry

Because of my job,i must keep backing up data almost every day. So i use a software which has the differential backup function in order to keep my data safe. So you can also use a software which has the differential or incremental backup function according to your needs.

heavy3230
heavy3230

I use Acronis 2011 and it has a constant backup feature so I just leave an external hard drive hooked up and whenever my computer is on, it is backing up. So far I really like it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I need cross platform backup preferably something that can do bare metal restores and supports CIFS/SSH remote storage... I'm still looking for something. Backula comes closest but it's a pig of a setup. Yadis doesn't seem to have the cross platform support so it's out for me. If I was no a windows only network, I'd look at a WHS appliance with the included backup and bare metal restore.

nclody
nclody

Will this do incremental backups for the PST files? If not, is there any free tool that can do it? Thx

craigkra
craigkra

Thanks for your help and you are right about the difference between the version of the installer file and of the program. I installed and it is Version 1.9.6.0. I was surprised by what you had said because I can remember checking other program versions by looking in the installer file properties and getting the same numbers as the programs. I can also remember reading advice recently that said that this was the way to verify the program version. Anyway, it always good to learn new tricks! I installed on WinXP SP3 but I have a Win7 machine and would still like to know if anybody has any news about compatibility?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's also enterprise class backup software that works with pretty much any storage back end including tape loading robots, supports backup four or five different platforms including the three popular families and does bare metal restores. "how do they make money?" Like most FOSS companies, they derive money from services not the base program. You can go it alone with Bakula or you can hire them to do the setup and/or ongoing upkeep. You may simply buy a Bakula powered backup appliance with as much plug/play as Kbox or Windows Home Server boxes deliver. The base program is not the retail product, services and closed source additions are. Red Hat's full distribution can be downloaded and installed. They instead derive profit from service contracts and update subscriptions. If you want access to ongoing updates or prefer not to manage your own install and upkeep; give them money. Connonical provides service contracts though they give teh distribution away for free. Mandriva provides service contracts and a retail distribution version at a reasonable price. The lesser polished distribution versions are available for download though they may not include the bits that Mandriva, in turn, has to pay patent holders for. There are some bunk backup programs available with both paid and unpaid licenses. As with everything, do your testing, just don't let an unexpectedly low price point be the reason you ignore the option.

cegruenberg
cegruenberg

If you remember, Systernals was mostly free, and superb tools. Microsoft liked them so much they bought them.

seanferd
seanferd

I already do know, however, that I wouldn't trust my backups to most companies who do charge, and at rather ridiculous rates, some of them. All sorts of extremely popular, well made, and free software out there. Do you need them all to explain their full business model? My only suggestion to come to an answer to your first question is test it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Waiting on a large transfer can suck and 7 gig is getting to a scary size for a PST file. With smaller PST, you stand a far better chance of restoring a corrupt file before having to reach for backups. So, my PST file is broken up by what makes logical sense. At work, that's by year. At home it may be some other categorization; whatever works. Similarly, my flashdrive is an empty root directory with root directories before any kind of file storage. So, data in both places is broken into smaller chunks. I use Unison because it does a good job of synchronization and is available across platforms; also available as a portable app. For unison, you create profiles which are a pair of directories. The profile simply syncs any chances within/bellow the two specified locations. Whatever sync app you pick, just be sure that it sincs both ways and has a method for dealing with a file changing in both locations. So, I setup profiles for smaller chunks. One profile for flashdrive\programFiles, one for flashdrive\MyDocuments and so on. Rather than waiting for ever to sync and transfer the entire flashdrive back and forth, I can sync just the directory trees that are relevant or known to change. With my Outlook directory, I sync all the PST files in one profile but as smaller files, they don't all have to be synced and it at least feels like it progresses faster. To add some fun: With my PDA, I have shell scripts for rsync over ssh. I can push music and documents down to the PDA from my core machine as easily as I can pull them down from the PDA side. I can be anywhere around the world provided I have an internet connection. Xcopy I use in some .cmd scripts for moving things around in Windows also. In one or two cases, it doesn't make sense to use Unison so I just maintain a one way transfer and Xcopy does that well. (couldn't easily find an rsync.exe on it's own)

nclody
nclody

Thanks for the suggestion. I have a large PST file that i backup daily to my NAS. At the begining i used a .bat file with xcopy but now the file is too large (~7GB) and i don't like waiting :) Also i could set up another PST file but i would prefer not to do it...

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

For personal use, you can stick with OST for recent mail and a PST for your overflow and saved mail. Since it's just you, duplicate or sync the PST to your backup location. I personally use Unison to sync my work PST files to the shared network drive. At home it's the same, personal PST files synced to the NAS drive. For business use you might want to have a more automated process but you could stick with the same sync to shared storage method. PST files then get caught in your storage server backups. Mind you, the PST is just a file so unless Outlook is open and locking it, you can simply back it up like any other. This tool along with any other should be fine.