Backup FAQs

Q:  What types of computers can I backup with Backup for Workgroups?

Backup for Workgroups can backup Windows Servers, desktops and laptops.  Backup for Workgroups supports computers running Windows 2012, 2008, 8, 7, Vista, 2003, 2000, and XP.

Q:  How many computers can I backup with Backup for Workgroups?

Backup for Workgroups can backup just one computer or you can backup groups of networked computers, as its name implies.  When you are using the 30-day trial software, you are limited to backing up no more than 10 computers to a single Backup Server.  Should you need to expand your evaluation to include more computers in the backup process, please send us an email requesting an extension. 

Backup for Workgroups can backup any number of Windows computers so long as you have the resources to process the backup data and store the backup files.  The resources that you need to have in place are: (1) storage - enough disk space needs to be accessible to hold the backup data for the computers getting backed up - a good rule of thumb is to allow for 3 to 5 times the sum of the data that you want to backup; (2) network speed - you need to provide enough network bandwidth between the Backup Clients and the Backup Server; (3) Backup Server CPU Speed - the Backup Server will take advantage of multiple processors or multi-core processors, so the more processors and the greater the speed the more efficient the backup process will be.

Q:  How does Backup for Workgroups backup a computer?

Backup for Workgroups runs as a client/server application.  The Server component of Backup for Workgroups is called the Backup Server.  The Backup Server keeps track of the list of computers (Backup Clients) that you are backing up.  It also centralizes the storage of the backup data from the Backup Clients.  The Backup Server needs access to enough disk-based storage media to hold the backups for all the Backup Clients.

You need to first install and setup your Backup Server so it is ready to receive and manage backup data from the computers you want to backup.  Then, you go to each computer that you want to backup and install the Backup Client on each.  On each Backup Client, you can customize the backup sets to define what to backup and when these backups should occur.  Once you have the Backup Server and the Backup Client software installed and configured, Backup for Workgroups will start backing up your computers.

The Backup Client scans the computer, looking for files that need to be backed up.  The Backup Client reads the files, compresses the data, and encrypts the backup data and then it sends the compressed, encrypted backup data to the Backup Server for storage.  This reduces the network load and protects your data while in transit.

Q:  Does Backup for Workgroups support incremental or differential backups?

Backup for Workgroups supports incremental backup and eliminates the need for differential backup. 

Incremental backup is the term used when you backup only the files that have changed since the last backup.  Differential backup is the term used when you backup the files that have changed since the initial baseline backup.  Note that differential backups can cause some files to get backed up repeatedly with each backup run.  Backup for Workgroups supports incremental backups in that it only backs up the files that change when compared to the last backup.

Backup for Workgroups eliminates the need for differential backup by creating what is called a "rolling, baseline backup."  Traditional backup terminology refers to the first backup of the computer as the baseline backup and all subsequent backups after that baseline are dependent upon the original baseline.  Backup for Workgroups differs from traditional backup processes in that it creates a backup chain for each file that is backed up in which the most current version of the file is viewed as the baseline with trailing revisions going back in time. 

Q:  How fast does Backup for Workgroups backup data?

The answer depends upon the following:  (1) the speed of the hard drive that is being backed up, (2) the speed of the CPU of this computer, (3) the speed of the network connection between the computer getting backed up and the Backup Server, (4) the CPU speed of the Backup Server computer, and (5) the speed of the hard drive holding the backup data. 

Generally speaking, you should see backup speeds on average Windows computers in the range of 250 - 500 MB per minute.  You will notice an increase in speed on large files and a decrease in speed on lots of spread out, little files because some of the backup time is spent looking for files to backup.  The more files that are identified for backup means more time spent during the backup process.

Just to give you an example from Lockstep's lab, an Exchange 2007 Server with a 2.4GHz CPU backs up at the rate of 350MB per minute over a 1-GB network connection.  This is backing up to a slightly slower computer used as a Backup Server.  If we were backing up to a newer Backup Server, we would see a boost in speed up to about 400MB per minute or better.

We have received comments from end users along the lines of  "After the baseline backup, the total backup time for one of our Windows Server is down to 10 minutes to perform a backup, down from several hours when using a tape system."  We encourage you to send us your results.

Q:  Is the backup data encrypted?

Yes.  Backup for Workgroups protects your data by encrypting your backup files.  Three different levels of encryption support are available:  256-bit AES, 56-bit Blowfish, and simple scrambling to avoid plain text.  Please note that encryption is available to licensed copies only and limited to US Export-friendly countries.

Q:  Is the backup data compressed?

Yes.  The Backup Client compresses the files as it reads the files for backup.  Since the backup files are compressed before they are transmitted the network bandwidth usage is significantly reduced.  The backup files are stored in a compressed format to conserve storage space. 

Backup for Workgroups achieves industry standard compression, which is generally considered 2:1 or 50%  Your actual compression is based on the content of the files that are backed up.  Pre-compressed data, such as JPEGs, MP3 files, and ZIP files do not compress; whereas database files, Word documents, and spreadsheets tend to compress very well.  So overall, you tend to find a mix that leads to the 2:1 range.

Q:  Do I need to rebaseline periodically?

NO!  This is one of the main goals of Backup for Workgroups - to eliminate backup chores.  You are not required to rebaseline, although some people like to do this because it fits with their archiving schedule.  Backup for Workgroups is designed to eliminate the need for frequent rebaselining.

Traditional (tape) backup, creates an initial, baseline backup.  And, after that first baseline backup, it chains incremental backups together - starting with that baseline backup and ending with the most current backup.  As the chain gets longer, the risk to restoring and the efficiency of restoring decreases.  This causes the need to rebaseline - because it shortens the chain. 

Because Backup for Workgroups uses a rolling baseline backup, the baseline is recomputed based on the most current backup; thus eliminating the risk to restore the most current version.  Backup for Workgroups reverses the chain so that the most current is the baseline, and the trailing revisions go back in time.  This allows Backup for Workgroups to delete OLD revisions without interfering with the backup chain and the current baseline.

Q:  How long does it take to backup a computer for the first time?

The initial backup time depends upon how much data is on the computer and the throughput of the overall backup process.  Typical backup times range anywhere from 1 to 10 hours. 

Assume that the backup throughput is 1GB per 3 minutes.  If you have 100GB to backup, this will take 300 minutes, which is about 5 hours. 

Remember that the first backup, the baseline backup, is always the longest because you are starting from scratch and backing up everything.  Subsequent backups are much faster because only the files that are new or have changed get backed up.  If we take this same computer and assume that 5GB changes on a daily basis, the incremental backups will complete in about 15-20 minutes.

It is important to invest the time in completing that first, full baseline backup, which is a backup of the entire computer.  When you have that full computer baseline backup, you can restore the entire computer if needed.

Q:  How do I define what to backup?

Actually, Backup for Workgroups comes with some predefined backup sets, so you do not need to define what needs to get backed up unless you want to make changes.  We highly recommend that you backup the entire computer - which is covered by the Backup Client's default backup set called ALL LOCAL DRIVES.  This backup set backs up your entire computer for you. 

If you want to add additional backup sets, or modify backup sets, you go to the Backup Client software on the computer in question and go to Tools > Modify Backup Sets and proceed through the Backup Set Wizard.

Q:  Can I create multiple backup sets or instructions for one computer?

Yes.  You can define as many backup sets as you want.  Keep in mind that we recommend that you do not modify the ALL LOCAL DRIVES backup set because you should have a backup set that backs up the entire computer. 

When does it make sense to create additional backup sets?  Usually, most people create additional backup sets to cover a small set of files that are changing frequently.  A good example of this is accounting or bookkeeping data that you want to backup several times during the day instead of just once at night. 

Note, Backup for Workgroups stores the backup data independently of the backup sets.  If you define multiple backup sets, files that are common between the backup sets is only backed up once.

Q:  How do I schedule when a backup should run?

Backup for Workgroups defaults to running the ALL LOCAL DRIVES backup set at 11pm on Windows Servers and at 12 Noon on Windows desktops.  You can change this default by modifying the ALL LOCAL DRIVES backup set.  The backup schedules are defined in the backup sets on each individual Backup Client computer.

If you have multiple computers backing up to one Backup Server, you may want to stagger the backups to conserve network resources.

Q:  How many revisions of a file does Backup for Workgroups store?

When a file is backed up and then it is changed and a new backup of the file occurs, this is considered a revision.  Backup for Workgroups allows you to restore whichever version of the file you want up to the revision limit set by each Backup Client.  The default number of revisions that are kept is 25.  You can change this limit from 1 to unlimited, or anywhere in between.  Keep in mind that the higher the revision number, the more storage space required at the Backup Storage.

Q:  Why does it seem that the progress bar showing the backup process sits at zero for a while?

At the beginning of the backup process, Backup for Workgroups has a lot of internal accounting to perform.  So, you will notice that it looks like Backup for Workgroups is hesitating, but it is really just getting everything ready for the backup. 

And, you will notice that the first task performed by the backup process is the System Registry.  It can take up to 90 seconds of background processing before you will see the backup process bar start moving, even though the backup process has really started in the background.

Q:  Can I backup over the Internet?

Yes.  You can use Backup for Workgroups to backup computers and send the backup data over the Internet to an off-site Backup Server.

For more information about backing up over the Internet, click here.

Q:  Can I backup Network Shares?

Yes.  The Backup Client software can backup files that are accessible through a standard Windows Network Share.  Please note that operating system files and files that are in use cannot be backed up through a Network Share and as a result, backups thru Network Shares tend to be incomplete.  You can backup multiple network shares as long as all network shares reside on a single network attached device.

If you have a Windows File Server that is accessible from a Windows desktop, you can use the Windows desktop to backup files that are accessible on the file server.  But, you cannot backup the operating system of the file server, nor any files that are locked, in use, or not accessible through standard Windows file access.  As a result, Network Share backups tend to be incomplete.  The optimal solution is to install a Backup Client and use the Open File Add-On on the Windows File Server in order to perform a complete and thorough backup of this computer to fully protect all the data on this computer.

In the event that you choose to use a Network Share to perform a backup of files on another computer, you will not be able to perform a disaster recovery of the computer hosting the network share.  To encourage you to install Backup for Workgroups on all of your computers and avoid the situation where you have incomplete backups of some computers, we offer volume discounted pricing.  Please visit our Pricing Chart for details on quantity discounts.

Q:  How do I monitor or make sure my backups are really running?

Backup for Workgroups can send you emails showing you the activities it has performed during the day.  Or, if you would like, you can choose to receive an email after each, individual backup session.  The choice is yours.  We call this Email Reporting.

Q:  Can Backup for Workgroups send me emails letting me know how my backups are running?

Yes.  We call this Email Reporting.  You can instruct Backup for Workgroups to send you emails after each backup runs or you can ask Backup for Workgroups to send you a summary report of the day's activities.  The Daily Summary Report color codes the results so you can get one message with a complete summary of the computer backups.

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Everyday, thousands of corporations, non-profits, and Government agencies use Backup for Workgroups Backup Software to backup their Windows Servers!  You can too!

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