Personal Backup Version 6.0

© 2001 − 2019, Dr. J. Rathlev

Editing a backup task

Dialog window

Create new task Load saved task Save changed task Main menu Show and print log file Close dialog Task infos Destination directory for backup Placeholder Select backup directory Sort directories Start backup immediately Selection of file types Selection of files Selection of subdirectories Remove directory from task Change order of directories Include or exclude subdirectories File quantity Backups using Windows scheduled tasks Time schedule Local and network destination Destination on FTP server Directories selected for backup Scan directories Add single files Other backup options Dynamic subdirectory filter Subdirectories Desktop shortcut User logon Add directory Select directory to be backed up Task settings Volume name Log settings Save backup task under new name Insert placeholder Desktop

Destination of backup

The destination path is displayed towards the top of the program center window. It can be a local path, a network path or a directory on an FTP server.


Directory Destination (local or network)

Click on the button on the right of the entry field to select a directory anywhere on your computer or on your network or edit the path manually.
Clicking the down arrow at the right of the entry field will drop down a list of recently-used destination directories for quick selection. Right-clicking this field will open a menu for editing this list.
It is also possible to insert placeholders for date and time into the path and to replace the drive letter with the volume name of a removable drive (e.g. a USB stick).

User account User logon

If you need a special account to access the destination directory, click the button and enter the username. If also a password is specified, this will be encrypted and saved in the task file. The connection to the backup directory will be made automatically. If no password is specified, the user will be prompted to enter the password for each backup.

Volume Volume specifier of a removable drive

When using USB sticks or external drives as backup destination, the system may not always assign the same drive letter. To be independent from drive letters when backing up data, you can use the volume specifier of the removable media (:<volumename>:) instead.
Example: instead of K:\Backup use :Backup-1:\Backup
On backing up, the program will check whether a medium with the specified volume name (regardless of the assigned drive letter) is connected. If not, the user will be prompted to insert it.


FTP Destination on an FTP server

If you select a destination on an FTP server, the server's name, port and the remote directory are displayed. Click the button at right to specify or edit the required connection settings.

FTP destination

General settings:

FTP FTP-Options

The destination directory may contain one or more placeholders for date and time.
If a password is specified in the dialog, the connection to the FTP server will be established automatically. If you leave the password blank for greater security, you must insert it manually before each backup.

Clicking the Advanced settings button will open the following page.

Advanced settings:
FTP settings

You can find more information about FTP on Wikipedia.

Insert placeholder Using placeholders

Placeholders Placeholders

Clicking the button causes the dialog box (reproduced on the right) to appear, in which a placeholder in the format "%sss%" is added to the directory name, with "%sss%" being replaced with current values on backing up:

Placeholder for Windows environment variables: In addition you can use any Windows environment variable as part of the destination path. Insert the placholder %evar(<name>)% manually. The expression inside the brackets (<name>) should be replaced by the name of the environment variable, e.g. %evar(HOMEPATH)% or %evar(TEMP)%.

Example: X:\Backup\Data-%date% ⇒ X:\Backup\Data-2004-10-17
Hence another backup directory will be generated each day.

Selection of files and directories to be backed up

Add directories

Next, select the directories to be backed-up. Click on the Directories tab and select the desired directories you wish to back up. If you select only one directory, it will be displayed in the upper field and can be added directly to the task by clicking the button.
If you select more than one directory (possibly from libraries), after clicking the button these will be displayed as a list prior to being added to the task. You can check and optionally deselect individual directories. A click on the OK button will add the directories to the task one after the other.

Add directory If you wish to inspect the files contained in the selected directory, click this button. The dialog box option Show files allows you to display a file list, but you can select only one directory.

Add single files

Add files From version 5.8.5, you can directly select one or more files from a directory for backup. Although this was possible with earlier versions, some manual adjustment of the required filters was necessary. The current version will perform this automatically. Clicking the button will open a dialog to select one or more files to be backed up. The directory containing these files will be added to the backup task, all subdirectories will be excluded from backup and the required file filters such that only the selected files will be backed up.

Display of directories to be backed up

Source directories

The names of all selected directories will be added to the task list in the center. Long names will appear abbreviated in the task directory list such that the beginning and end of the path will remain visible. Moving the mouse over a such a name will display the full path as a tooltip.
The checkbox Check on the left can be cleared by clicking to exclude the selected directory from backup temporarily without removing it from the list. If you wish to resume the backup for this directory just click the checkbox again.
After each directory name, additional info is displayed in an abbreviated form to indicate the subdirectories selected and any filter settings for file and file types:

Clicking one of the listed directories will display the tree of all subdirectories or, dependent on the user's selection, the file filters or file types in the program bottom window (see more). Doing this click for the first time after opening the task, will additionally scan all these subdirectories for new and changed files and update the display for file count and volume.

Placeholders Placeholders

Disabled entries
On loading a task or clicking one of the listed items, the program will check wether the associated directory still exists. For example, it could have been deleted or renamed in the meantime, or is a disconnected external drive. Such a directory will be disabled in the list and displayed in gray. To prevent the selection settings from being changed, it is no longer clickable. As soon as the directory becomes available again, the item will be reenabled automatically. If you want to remove from the task all directories no longer available, use the item from the associated context menu.

Order of entries

Clicking the left button will rearrange the directories to be backed up into an alphabetical order. Clicking one of the other buttons will move the selected entry one row up or down.

Possible placeholders for source directories

Insert placeholder Clicking the button at the top on the right will open a dialog box. All placeholders are in the format "%sss%". These will be replaced with current values on backing up (see screenshot on the right):

Ball Other environment variables: Windows Vista/7/8/10 Windows XP
  Ball %appdata% C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data
  Ball %localappdata% C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local not available
  Ball %allusersprofile% C:\ProgramData C:\Documents and Settings\All Users
  Ball %public% C:\Users\Public not available
  Ball %programfiles% C:\Program Files C:\Program Files
  Ball %commonprogramfiles% C:\Program Files\Common Files C:\Program Files\Common Files
  Ball %programfiles(x86)% * C:\Program Files (x86) C:\Program Files
  Ball %commonprogramfiles(x86)% * C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files C:\Program Files\Common Files
  Ball %programdata% C:\ProgramData not available

    * only available on 64-bit systems

Backing up data from removable volumes

If you want to back up files from a removable drive (e.g. a USB stick) you cannot be certain that the same drive letter will always be assigned. In such a case, using file synchronization on backup may result in loss of data in the backup directory.

To prevent this, the program saves the volume name (if assigned) with any directory to be saved and located on a removable drive when creating a new task. So it is strongly recommended to assign a unique volume name to any used removable drive. Right-clicking on a drive in for example Windows Explorer and selecting Properties will allow you to do so.
Before a backup starts, the program checks whether this drive is present. If not, the backup will be canceled.
Note: If the backup method is set to Separate directories for drives, the name of the root directory at the destination will be generated from the volume name (e.g. G:\Backup\Daten-1\..) instead of using the drive letter (e.g. G:\Backup\DrvK\..) as applied for fixed drives (see more).

Removing a directory from the task

To remove a directory from the task list, click on the Remove directory button. Optionally, also all files backed up from this directory can at the same time be deleted from the backup task destination.


Right-clicking the list of selected directories will open a context menu with several preview options

Extended selections

In the program bottom window you can make more detailed selections for

Advanced settings

In most cases you can use the default settings for a backup, but the more experienced user may prefer to configure the many individual options.

Information about task

At the top of the program center window, key information about the current task is displayed:

Errors during backup

There can be many different reasons for errors that arise during a backup. After each backup, the status windows will display whether errors occured and how many. Detailed information about errors will be found in the log file. If a file could not be copied due to an error, its previous version will in any case be retained at the destination.


To accelerate the loading of a task, the number of files, the required storage capacity and the type list for the selected directories are not all updated immediately. By default, only the first directory will always be scanned for new files. You can uncheck the option Scan directories in the dialog called from Preferences ⇒ Program start ... in the main menu to disable any scan after opening a task. In this case, a scan is started not before one of the directories to be backed up is left-clicked.

Load task Opening a saved backup task

Load a saved task (.buj file) for editing or execution.

Task list List of recently-opened tasks

Clicking this button will open the task menu that contains a list of up to 15 of the most recently-opened tasks. Click within the list to load a task.
Right-clicking the icon will allow the list to be edited.

Save task Saving an edited task

You should save your backup tasks to disk for future use as a file with the extension .buj. When starting the program for the first time, a task directory is created at "My Documents\PersBackup". You can change this location using Preferences ⇒ Directories in the main menu.
The backup tasks are saved as readable ASCII files, but modifying such a file manually with a text editor is not recommended. Instead, edit the task within the "Personal Backup" program.

Note: provided that a task has not been changed, this button will remain grayed out.

Save task Saving a task with a new filename

An existing or edited task can be saved under a new filename.

Delete a task no longer needed

Over time, more and more tasks for backup, restore, cleanup and verify will be accumulating. They are stored in the task directory as files using the extensions buj (Backups), rsj (Restores), cuj (Cleanups) and vfj (Verifications). By clicking the Delete ... function in the menu any of these tasks can be deleted. At the bottom right of the file selection dialog, you can specify the type of the affected task and then select the file. Associated entries in the task lists will be removed as well.

Insert a saved task (Import)

The directories of an existing task can be added to the list of directories of the currently-opened task.

Save a selected directory as a new task (Export)

The selected directory in the task list will be saved as new task.


Backup task
New - Create new backup task
Open ... - Open saved task from the directory of the last opened task
Open from task directory ... - Open saved task stored from the selected task directory
Save - Save a modified task
Save as ... - Save task under new name
Delete ... - Delete a task no longer needed
Import ... - Import directories to be backed up from saved task
Export ... - Save as a new task an individual directory from an opened task
Recently-opened tasks ... - List of recently-opened tasks to facilitate reopening
Start backup ... - Start the current backup task
Add directory to task ... - Select a directory to be backed up and add to task
Verify backup ... - Using the settings of the currently opened backup task a guide, the dialog for backup verification will be displayed. You can edit the settings and start the verification of files.
Scheduled Tasks
Add current backup task - Configure Windows Task Scheduler to perform the currently-loaded backup
Edit scheduled task - Select a backup task performed by Windows Task Scheduler and edit the schedule.
Create desktop shortcut
for current task ... - Create a shortcut to the currently-opened backup task on the computer desktop. Double-clicking this shortcut will immediately start the backup.
for several tasks ... - Create a shortcut to several selected backup tasks on the computer desktop. Double-clicking this shortcut will automatically perform these backups one after the other.
Current log
Show ... - Display and optionally print the log of the currently-opened backup task
Delete ... - Delete the log of the currently-opened backup task
Show other ... - Display and optionally print a saved log
Update view (Function key F5) - Update the task view (count all files and calculate the volume to be backed up) and the directory view
Overview - Brief summary
Backup - Editing a backup task
License - User license
Version - Version info
Changelog - Information on version history
References - Information on components used from other authors
Homepage - Homepage of Personal Backup
Donate - Make a donation to Personal Backup

Context menus

A right-click on certain areas of the desktop opens one of the following context menus.

Task menu

Area "Task"

Save task - Save current task to disk
Save task as ... - Save current task to disk as new file
Start backup ... - Start current backup task immediately
Create desktop shortcut ... - Create a desktop shortcut for starting the currently-open backup task
Log settings ... - Settings for the backup log
Task description - User's description for the backup task
Edit menu

Area "Destination directory"

Cut selected text - The marked text in the destination field will be copied to the clipboard and then deleted.
Copy selected text - The marked text in the destination field will be copied to the clipboard.
Paste from clipboard - Text from the clipboard will be inserted into the destination field.
Delete selected text - The marked text in the destination field will be deleted.
Remove current list item from list - The selected destination directory will be removed from the internal list of recently-used directories.
Clear whole list - The internal list of recently-used directories will be deleted entirely.
File menu

Area "Directories to be backed up"

Show all selected files ... - Show all files that are selected for backup using the current filter settings
Show all excluded files ... - Show all files that are excluded from backup using the current filter settings
Show all files to be backed up ... - This item is only available when only files are to backed up having the archive bit been set or the backup is made to zip files.
Show all files not to be backed up ... - This item is only available when only files are to backed up having the archive bit been set or the backup is made to zip files.
Rescan selected directories ... - The selected directory will be scanned to update file count and volume.
Replace directory ... - The directory selected to be saved will be replaced by another. The new directory can be selected using a dialog. All other settings for this entry will remain unchanged. This option can also be used if the name of an external volume has changed. The directory entry will be updated automatically.
Replace directories no longer available ... - Directories not available when loading the task (because they have been deleted or renamed, for example) are disabled and displayed in gray. Select this menu item to replace them by other existing directories. All other settings for these entries will remain unchanged.
Remove all directories no longer available - Directories not available when loading the task (because they have been deleted or renamed, for example) are disabled and displayed in gray. Select this menu item to remove them from the currently-loaded task.
Selected files

Area "Subdirectories"

Show files of subdirectory ... - All files located in the selected subdirectory will be displayed. This is very useful for checking whether there are any files that should or should not be backed up.
Show all selected files ... - Show all files that are are selected for backup using the current filter settings
Show all excluded files ... - Show all files that are excluded from backup using the current filter settings
Task menu

Area "Directory selection"

Add to task -The selected directory will be added to the backup task.
Update - Update directory tree.

J. Rathlev, 24222 Schwentinental, Germany, January 2019