Backblaze backup of metadata...are forum warnings still valid?

Hello all, new DT and DTTG user here. I’ve been reading all the posts I can find on backup strategies, paying particular attention to mentions of BackBlaze. As late as May of last year, users warn that BackBlaze does not back up all metadata:

source: Confused on the correct way to backup all my devonthink data, advice appreciate :) - #30 by chrk

I just tested a backup of my encrypted database sparse image (set Backblaze to NOT exclude them). I downloaded/unzipped the file from the BB website and the image file is EXACTLY the same size as my live dtSparse database.

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but doesn’t this mean the backup was an exact replica of the live the database, which would include all metadata? If not, could someone explain why?


Hey :slight_smile: I have not got any information re. the first bit of your post; but I don’t think you can rely solely on the size of a sparseimage to determine its likeness to any other sparseimage. My assumption is based on the fact that the sparseimage does not - to my knowledge - downsize (immediately/automatically?) when you remove content. Two things to do: compare the checksums - identical files must have identical checksums; close all your databases and then open the database which you downloaded back from BB; sift around, see whether things you are worried might be missing are there or not. Remember to close the database before going back to your “live” databases.

On the other hand, I don’t really see how BB could lose metadata from inside an encrypted sparseimage - seeing as it can’t even determine what is and what isn’t metadata. All the metadata quoted in the post (please add a source to the image) I would assume to be pertaining to individual files being backed up. So I could imagine you losing metadata for the sparseimage file itself, but not for the contents within, at least not in the case of an encrypted sparseimage.

Disclaimer: I have never used BB, I wasn’t previously aware of the issues you mention, I can’t test my theory, and I have no training which would allow me to make assertions rather than assumptions.

Thanks, Blanc! I’ve added the source for that image, actually pulled it from another post on this forum that has the original source link.

What you says does make sense. I will have to figure out how to open the downloaded sparse bundle in DT; what I’ve tried so far didn’t work and I don’t want to mess up my live database.
I’ve also contacted BB support to see what they say but haven’t heard back yet. Will update when I do.

Back to reading the manual some more :grinning:

It’s essential that you close your “live” database, as it will have the same ID as the backup. You should then be able to open the backup simply be selecting Open from the context menu in Finder; if that doesn’t work, then you have a problem - or would have, if you ever needed your backup. Be sure to close the backup database before returning to opening your “live” database.

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I second @Blanc 's assumption.

When I was still using Backblaze, restores lost metadata like Finder tags, but that applied to single files, like PDFs.
The image or even a regular Devonthink database backup should work without losing metadata of the files contained in that package.
However, I would certainly test it again in your case.

If you search the Backblaze subreddit, they are quite opinionated about not supporting metadata like Finder tags, because, according to them, they serve no good purpose (everybody should use folder hierarchies) and they claim Apple will not support them in the future anyway.


… Backblaze employee basically gaslighting users that there are no use cases for tags.

… dmg and sparse bundle should work around the issue.

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Interesting! Thanks Chris.

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FWIW, here’s the response from Backblaze support:

“Extended attributes aren’t included in the backed up files. This means no finder comments, no finder tags, no quarantine information, and a few other items.

Permissions and modified dates are retained. Creation dates are technically backed up as well but they aren’t retained when restoring a file so they’re essentially not backed up as well.

You might also find modified dates to be changed to the date that files are restored via zip restore as certain zip utilities might set their own modified dates during the unzip process.

As for an encrypted database, it would indeed need to be accessible in order for it to be backed up.”

Thanks for your feedback!

I don’t actually understand what that means. Nothing can be backed up if it is not accessible; surely they don’t mean that a sparseimage is only backed up if it is unlocked?


I think so. IIRC, Backblaze didn’t see my encrypted database until I unlocked it. I’ll be moving to ARQ.


It sounds like that to me as well. :thinking:

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Thanks for posting. Last time I checked, Backbaze still didn’t list these limitations in their knowledge base and users either have to ask or search for random comments on websites like Reddit, so annoying.

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