Backup Preference not working

I’ve tried to reset the backup preference in DTPO rev 2.9.2 to be daily backups and any number other than the default 10.

No matter what I set it always resets to 10. I realize that only gets the metadata but at least it’s a start.

What is the best way to get an automatic backup of everything (metadata, database and files) on a regular basis without manual intervention? I do use time machine but my DT databases are always open and I suspect that means that TM won’t properly back them up.

Could be you have corruption in your preference file. Shut down DEVONthink, move the preference file to the desktop, and restart. You’ll get default settings, but you can also test the backup preference to see if it works as expected. If so, then check with Support about the possibility of repairing the pref file.

Bill De Ville posted a good article about backup here:

Bill recommends using the File > Export > Database Archive … regularly. Over here, I don’t do that because it means I have to remember to do it. Instead, I clone my laptop (including DEVONthink databases of course) each day – two clones to two external drives. Carbon Copy Cloner does this automatically for me, so it’s not a big deal. I also have two Time Machines and 24x7 backup running to CrashPlan. All these also are automatic, reliable, and no fuss. (I plan to get rid of Carbon Copy Cloner because they eliminated a feature that we could buy a replacement hard drive with all archives on it – without that, any significant restoration from Carbon Copy would be prohibitively time consuming.)

I’ve restored databases a few times from Time Machine. Short of failure to open, there is no way simple way of knowing if the database integrity is 100%. That’s why I clone, and probably why Bill Archives.

Joe Kissel’s book on backup methods (recently updated) from Take Control Books is a great source.

Same error, cannot change the backup number in the preferences. Or rather I change it but as soon as I go back to look at it it’s been changed back to 10.

I have no problem in DEVONthink Pro Office changing the frequency or the number of backups. Just mentioning this to indicate it might a flaw on your machine with the installed copy. Quit and delete DEVONthink from Applications, reboot, and download and install again.

It’s actually limited to 10 backups since version 1.0 and it’s the first request ever to increase this.

Then there shouldn’t be a clicker to allow you to select more. Having that there leads one to believe that more are possible. Personally I’d like to run with 30, a months worth of daily backups.

You do realize this increases the size of your database, don’t you??

korm has excellent backup strategies.

He observes correctly that Time Machine (and for that matter, the cloning approach) lacks the ability to check the integrity of backups. Which is to say, backups of databases that contain errors could be made.

I recommend periodic running of Tools > Verify & Repair to every few days to minimize that potential problem. It’s also recommended to reduce Sync issues. Once in a while, especially after making major changes to a database, I’ll run DEVONthink’s Database Archive procedure which does check for errors, when I want a “certified” backup of an important database.

Yes, but in my case I’ve had to go back to old versions of backups and while Time Machine is one option I like the backup of the metadata from within DT as well. Space isn’t really an issue IMO for the database that I want to set to save that many backups. I have several different ones and they will end up, ideally, with differing numbers of backups kept reflecting how often their data changes and how critical it is to my work.

Do you also realize it’s not a file backup, as in you’re not going to rollback to last Thursday and get the document as it was on that day?

Yes, it’s just the metadata, but that is still useful. Even better would be rolling backups that include the actual data, more like a real backup but made simpler. Yes, I can do it now with export backup archive but I’d prefer some sort of automatic system to do that say on every open or close of the database and keep as many as I wish.

The term backup implies that it is the whole thing, Yes, if you read the documentation you know it isn’t but still… Lots of folks will make assumptions when you use terms in a different manner than most of the apps.

To assume that backup means the whole thing is a dangerous assumption. What’s the whole thing? You will find that the use of the term backup varies widely in the world of computing, as do the functions of backup in many apps. BTW, the default number of internal Backup folders is 3, not 10. Most people (including me) stick with the default number. A limit of 10 was placed to keep users from experiencing too great increases in file size and memory requirements.

If you need 30 whole thing backups of your databases, just close them at end of day and copy them to an external drive, into dated folders. Why an external drive? My collection of databases, if multiplied 31-fold in file size, would use up too much space on ;my internal SSD.

For example, I use Time Machine. The first time it is run, it does backup all the data on my computer’s internal drive, to an external disk. That takes a long time and a lot of storage spaced, as I’m backing up hundreds of gigabytes. I would find Time Machine worse than useless, were it to continue to backup the whole thing every sixty minutes, which is the automatic backup frequency I use. Instead, Time Machine keeps track of incremental changes in the data on my computer, every sixty minutes during my use of the computer. That means that I could return to the state of my data, including the state of a selected DEVONthink database file as of three hours ago. That could be very useful.

That does not, however, mean that I could specifically select the state of data on my computer as of, say, 1,804 hours ago. Instead, Time Machine compacts its backup records as time goes on, in order to keep storage requirements from becoming excessive. As time goes on, hourly backups are compressed into daily backups, then weekly backups, then monthly backups. That means that I can use a 1 TB USB disk to hold the backups for well over a year. Yet, e.g., I could find and restore a file that had been deleted a year ago. I like this approach.

DEVONthink’s Tools > Backup & Optimize (or Preferences for periodic Backup) creates a backup of the state (metadata only) of a database, and does not include the whole thing (assuming that document files are stored in the internal Files.noindex folder). That can be useful. Suppose something had happened to corrupt the database so badly that it can no longer be opened. One could restore the database from a Time Machine backup made before corruption happened. But suppose a lot of new content had been added subsequent to that backup’; it would be lost. Here’s where the metadata backup could be a lifesaver. Here’s how to restore as working database: 1) create a new folder in the Finder; 2) copy the contents of a previous internal Backup folder into that new folder; 3) copy the database Files.noindex folder into that new folder; 4) rename the new folder, adding the .dtBase2 filename suffix (if using DT Pro or Pro Office); 5) open the restored database. If it still won’t open, start over, this time using contents of an older internal Backup folder. When the restored database opens, run Tools > Verify & Repair. All content added after the internal backup was made will be displayed in an Orphans group and can be refilled into the database.