Suggestions for a program ? I would need a form of incremental folder storage allowing to go back in time…

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By Oliver (AKA the Admin) on 12 comments
in Categories: Just Talking

Hello guys, did I win the award for the Most Cryptic Title For A Blog Post of 2014, or must I try harder ? :D

I’m searching for something particular, a program to manage different versions of chosen directories, and I don’t even know if it exists. Could you help me with a recommendation or suggestions, if this request isn’t unrealistic and something of that kind exists ?
Thanks if you can, and no worries if you can’t ! ^^

Here’s the thing :

– I keep frequent backups of my websites, downloading backups from my server to my hard disk
– those backups are stored inside a partition
– however, as time passes, they’re taking a freakingly HUGE size :shock:
– and yet, there are only very few things that change from one backup to another, a few new files, some changed files, some removed files, most of the contents are the same between two separate backups

And so, that made me consider an option. Incremental storage.
With incremental storage, every new backup is not “everything, again”, this is just a list of what has changed, with the new files, and a list of which files have been removed. It can be super duper small, in comparison.

That, that would be what I need.
That would require a program to handle all this, of course.
(The more advanced note : that would imply that I change my current .tar.gz archived format of backups storage, extracting everything to a new folder every time. Biggest extraction operation I would ever run)

But I have this additional need : I need to be able to go back in time.
If I want to see what was “~/etc/php5/php.ini” in the backup of 30 weeks ago, even though that file changed since then, I must be able to obtain that file.
If I want to unpack entirely two backups for hentairules at two different dates, I must be able to re-create each of the versions of my choice as a full backup.

With these needs in mind, do you think, do you know if, there is such a program, somewhere on the internet, that I could use on my windows 7 PC ?

Thanks a lot if you have recommendations :)

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Faceless
Faceless
9 years ago

Sounds like you want a version control repository. TortoiseSVN is an SVN client that integrated into Windows Explorer as a shell extension, although I personally use SmartGit.

Besbin
Besbin
9 years ago
Reply to  Faceless

Agree, Oliver, you do sound like you want something version control system for your directories. Are these just documents e.g. html, css, php, etc. or do you store things like compressed hentai, doujinshi and such?

Oliver AKA The Admin
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  Besbin

I'll wait to read more answers, and look into that, thanks, guys :)

@Besbin : these are all kinds of web stuff, php, txt, jpg, gif, png, conf, ini, tpl, zip, rar, etcetera…

Friend
Friend
9 years ago
Reply to  Faceless

I would second looking into creating a Subversion repository with TortoiseSVN. Every change you commit to your repo is logged as a new revision. With TortoiseSVN you can easily browse the revision history of any files or folders. You can even view or export your repo at specified revisions to effectively let you "go back in time". Best of all, TortoiseSVN is free!

Devil
Devil
9 years ago
Reply to  Faceless

Definitely version control – SVN or GIT probably.

dearlight
dearlight
9 years ago

Due to the rollback feature you want some version control or a snapshot capable filesystem. Since installing new kinds of file systems is pretty much the devil I would recommend a version control system + a delta sync utility.

I am unsure if you are talking about a mounted partition or not.

Recommended Version Control: git

* Filesystem based, can copy/paste directories and still run git commands
* No need for a server process running
* Popular
http://msysgit.github.io

Recommended Delta Sync: SyncToy ( http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.a… )

* Made by MS
* Scriptable

1. Setup: Turn your folder into a git repository + setup sync pair

Add git to your path then add SyncToy to your path:

* http://blog.countableset.ch/2012/06/07/adding-git
* SyncToy stuff should be in (C:Program FilesSyncToy) , check both SyncToy and SyncToyCmd work

open up good old cmd.exe after you have installed git and put it in your PATH

“`
cd C:pathtofoldertobackup
git init
SyncToy -d(left=c:foldertobackup,right=b:backup,name=hentairules_backup,operation=synchronize)
“`

this will make a .git folder, that is where git will be saving all the versions of your stuff

note the lack of spaces in the SyncToy line's -d argument

2. Make a script to perform your backup

NOTE: check this against non-vital data first

in a file `hentairules_backup.bat`:

“`
cd C:pathtofoldertobackup

rem ADD ANY NEWLY ADDED FILES TO VERSION CONTROL
git add .

rem COMMIT CHANGES TO VERSION CONTROL (AKA MAKE LOCAL SNAPSHOT)
git commit -m "Backup at %DATE% %TIME%" && SyncToyCmd -R hentairules_backup

rem SAVE SNAPSHOT TO BACKUP LOCATION
SyncToyCmd -R hentairules_backup
“`

* This wont lose backup history unless you have done a rollback by copying old data ontop of your directory
* It also wont do any big uploads if nothing changed, though will still run the check against the backup to make sure nothing changed

now you can double click that or run it via command line to do backups, woot.

3. Use task scheduler to setup for automated backup
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308569 + http://support.microsoft.com/kb/226795

4. When you want to roll back your local stuff / view history you can use tortoise git for a nice GUI
https://code.google.com/p/tortoisegit/wiki/Screen

5. When you want to restore your backup

NOTE: if you have not synced your changes you will lose them.

* Move your current folder
* Copy the folder from your partition to where you have your current folder
* Check everything looks ok
* Delete where you moved the current folder

JamieWolf
JamieWolf
9 years ago

I would second for a version control system, but I would not use it for binary files like rar zip etc. If you have a Mac you should use Timemachine for binary files. Works just awesome. On Windows 8 there is somethin called file history which should do the same as Timemachine on Macs.

Peace!

AV_
AV_
9 years ago

Until windows 7 you can simply use the windows backup, which can keep version of file incrementally. I use it to keep both the current system image and version of snapshots made every week for a few selected folder. In windows 8 it still exists but with less features. But if you want to make the backup to network you must open a SMB share there and have windows professional.

Hans
Hans
9 years ago

Apart from any version control that would fit your needs, there are a couple of backup applications with flexible restore points áka time machines.

http://ax64.com http://www.genie9.com/Business/genie_timeline_prohttp://www.storagecraft.com/products/shadowprotechttp://www.altaro.com/home-pc-backup/

dripcoffeemaker
dripcoffeemaker
9 years ago

You want SVN and an incremental capable backup software. But really SVN. If you do one repo for all your subfolders and files, you probably will want to tag at the subfolder level versions you like so you can easily switch between them. Just IMHO.

Helpful Guy
Helpful Guy
9 years ago

How about rsync? That satisfies your need for sparse remote copies (which SVN isn’t a tool for)

SL-Gundam
SL-Gundam
9 years ago

For text based stuff like the files you mentioned i would go with version control as they track changes within the files instead of the full file every change. But i would recommend GIT. http://git-scm.com/

You can even use internet repositories like https://github.com/ but they are not required for usage

I personally use tortoisegit with msysgit on windows to manage source code for some php projects

If you are actually backing up binary program files then version control should work as well, but you can't track changes within the files from a file to file basis. and the size of the version control repository will grow a lot faster then with normal text files

If on the other hand you are more interested in a full backup solution then there are quite a few who offer incremental and differential backup options.
Acronis True Image (costs money and windows/mac) http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-bac… (free software windows only)

My experience with linux is limited but if you need a solution for that these are two good websites to start with https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/backup_progrhttp://www.admin-magazine.com/Articles/Using-rsyn

My advise would be, based on the information given, to use a online repository (private one if necessary) and use version control software. Which version control software is all up to you as they can all do the job and all of them have there pros and cons