automatically backing up - Research Data Service

Automatically copying your
research data to the RDSF
for Windows users
University of Bristol Research Data Service
Copyright © 2015 University of Bristol
There are many excellent reasons to store research data in the Research Data
Storage Facility, Bristol’s world class data store. However, it sometimes makes
practical sense to retain a local, working copy of your data.
For example, while valuable audiovisual research data should be stored on the
RDSF in the long term, playing video back over the network, directly from the RDSF
can give less than optimal results. You may wish to have a copy of the video on a
local drive of your desktop PC, to help ensure smooth playback while editing.
This can mean the frequent copying of files to the RDSF from another location. For a
small number of files this can easily be done manually by mapping your RDSF
project space as a networked drive, under Windows (see How do I access my
project?1 for details) and then simply dragging files or folders across.
However, you may wish to automate this process for larger numbers of files or for
frequent operations.
For example, you might set an automated, incremental2 backup job for a particular
folder kept on your local PC. The job might involve copying the folder (and all its
contents) to your RDSF project space every day at 1pm.
Please note that this procedure makes use of a programme called SynchFolders
which must be installed on your computer. Your computer must be switched on for
the duration of the backup procedure.
Can’t my whole computer system be backed up to the RDSF?
Whole system backups (such as those carried out by utilities such as Apple Time
Machine, Linux rsync and PC backup software) should not be used to copy entire
computer systems to the RDSF.
This is because problems arise when copying multiple ‘live’ system files (such as
applications, preferences, browser caches etc.). Such files are often rejected by the
software used to manage the RDSF.
If you need to back up non research data you should make alternative arrangements
with your Zonal IT support team.
The following assumes you are using Windows:
Incremental backups involve copying only new or amended files from one location to another. Files which are
already present in the target location will not be copied.
1. The SyncFolders program is installed via the IT Services Software Center3. If
you don’t see SynchFolders listed under available software contact IT Services
who can resolve this for you
2. If you don’t already have a convenient folder within your RDSF project space to
copy your data to, then create a destination folder
3. In SynchFolders, start by creating a ‘sync rule’ using the Create rule button
4. As a minimum, you will need to specify a Source Folder (the folder with your
files in it), a Target Folder (created in Step 2, above), and choose an
appropriate Action (Copy, Backup or Synchronize). Make sure that you read the
description of the actions carefully. Note: Back up can delete as well as create
5. Click OK once configured
6. Save the rule(s) you have just created to somewhere convenient such as your
Documents folder on your computer, using the Save Rules button
Automating the task
Next: To use the Scheduled Sync Tasks feature within SynchFolders, in order to
setup an automatic sync on a schedule, follow this procedure:
1. Open the Scheduled Sync Tasks from the options menu
2. Click the Create button to setup a new schedule
3. Click on Rules File to locate the rule file you saved earlier. By default the
synchronisation task will be executed once every day but you can modify this
4. Once you have set an appropriate name, description & schedule, click Create
Task to complete the setup
5. Ensure that your computer is switched on at the scheduled time and the task
should run automatically