Personal Backup

© 2001 - , Dr. J. Rathlev

(32 and 64 bit)

Former Versions 5.7 and 5.6
(32 and 64 Bit)

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New utility programs

Backup and restore of Thunderbird mail data

This program will help the less experienced Thunderbird user to backup and restore his/her mail data. Because the location of the mail data is a rather confusing and by default not visible to the user, problems can occasionally arise. In particular, a restore of mail data frequently fails.
Using the TbBackup program provided, backing up and restoring of Thunderbird user data becomes child's play. After selecting the directory to which the data is to be saved, just a single click is required. Further settings are unnecessary since these are taken care of by the program. The actual backup or restore is performed in the background by Personal Backup.
If present, multiple Thunderbird profiles (more information). are supported. In such cases the desired profile must be selected prior to starting the backup.

Important note: The program can only be used if all mail data is located at the original location or was moved by the user manually in conjunction with an adjustment of the file profiles.ini (see this description). If instead you changed the paths of the mail folders in the account settings of Thunderbird, TbBackup cannot be used. In this case Backup must be performed using a task in Personal Backup. The same applies to Restore.

Protecting the backup from malware (Ransomware)

Of late, ever more news items are published reporting malware (so-called Ransomware) that maliciously encrypts a user's data and demands a ransom in return for the decryption key. Because this can also affect backups, some additional procedures are required to protect backed-up data from such attacks.
One possible way is to restrict write permissions in the backup directory to a special user causing all backups to be performed under this account. Because all other users only have read permissions for the backup directory, an encryption Trojan started under their account by mistake cannot harm the backup.
To facilitate the use of this procedure, the current version of Personal Backup contains the utility program PbStarter (detailed description).

You will find some additional notes about this issue on the Tips and tricks page.

Personal Backup

The program at a glance

Personal Backup is a program for saving personal data to any destination folder. This folder may be located on a local fixed or removable drive, on a Windows network server or on an FTP server. The 32-bit version runs under Windows 7, 8 and 10 (32- & 64-bit), Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003/2008(R2)/2012(R2), the 64-bit only under Windows 7,8 and 10 (64-bit) and Windows Server 2008(R2)/2012(R2).
You can configure and store as many backup tasks as you wish. The selection of the files to be backed up is made on a by-folder basis. All subfolders are included automatically, but the user can exclude or include any subdirectories from or in the backup by selection or by filter. Additional criteria are the selection by file type, file age and/or file name filter.
At the destination folder the original drives (C:, D:, etc.) appear as subdirectories named LwC, LwD, etc. The original directory structure remains unchanged beneath these folders. All files may be compressed in gzip, either in toto or separated by subfolders as zip files. Optionally all data can be AES algorythm-encrypted.
Performing the backup can be done manually or automatically. During the backup the program checks whether the file to be saved is newer than one already backed up. Only new files and files with newer timestamps are saved. An alternate criteria is the archive bit of the files.
Automatic backups can be started on logon, at a selectable time of day, on logoff or on shutdown. You can make scheduled backups with destination paths changing daily or weekly.
For individual schedules it is easy to start a backup using the Windows Task Scheduler and the command line options of the program.

Note: Personal Backup cannot be used to save and restore system files.

New in the current version

The features in detail:

Release notes

Other notes:

Due to technical reasons, the processing of automatic updates was changed with Version 5.4.8 (July 2013). Users having an older version cannot update from within the program, but need to download and install the current version manually. Subsequently, the update will function automatically again.

Personal Backup Version 5 is created using an IDE (currently Delphi 10 Seattle by Embarcadero) which has full Unicode support and overcomes the ANSI (ISO-8859) filenames limitations on copying files. Also pathlengths may be longer than 260 characters.

The most important enhancements in that respect:

Windows 98/ME are no longer supported.

The program package contains the following additional tools:



Version (32 bit) released 2017-01-18

Notes on the installation of the 32-bit version: An already installed 64-bit version should be removed prior to installing this version. All backup tasks and the ini file with the settings for automatic tasks can be used unchanged.

Windows setup (14.95 MB) - OpenPGP signature*
(MD5 checksum: 636be60da56ae5b49fb6237996965891)
Zip file for update or portable Version (see here)
Previous versions Older versions

Version (64 bit) released 2017-01-18

Notes on the installation of the 64-bit version: An already installed 32-bit version should be removed prior to installing this version. All backup tasks and the ini file with the settings for automatic tasks can be used unchanged.

Windows setup (16.17 MB) - OpenPGP signature*
(MD5 checksum: 7fecfbadfd18465ba39b8b67dbc6b650)
Zip file for update or portable Version (see here)
Previous versions Older versions

* Notes about the OpenPGP signature: If you have installed Gpg4Win (e.g. for encryption of mails) on your system, you can use this program to verify the Personal Backup downloads. Just download the signature file associated to the respective version (see above) and store it in the same directory as the setup file. Then open the context menu of this file in Windows Explorer or any other filemanager by right-clicking and select Decrypt and verify.
If the required certificate has not yet been registered in Gpg4Win (see the list in the program Kleopatra), it can be downloaded as zip file and then imported in Kleopatra.

More Information

Languages: German, English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and Russian,
(click on language to show desktop)


Note: The translations to French and Italian are incomplete at the moment. Anyone who wants to help to improve these translations will find more information here.

Other download sites:

Of late, ever more download sites make freeware programs available not in their original version but with modified installers or using download managers. The latter can be recognized by their relatively small file size (mostly about 500 kB) and in either case the user may run the risk that additional, unwanted programs, such as browser toolbars and adware or spyware, will be installed without warning. Subsequent removal of this software often turns out to be very difficult.
To avoid any tacit support of such unfair practices, I have removed all links to download sites offering anything other than my original setup files.




The former version can be downloaded from here:

Download version (2016-04-18):


The former version can be downloaded from here:

Download version (2015-03-06):

Older versions

Further information

Compressing as gzip

The existing standard for the gzip format (RFC1952 of 1996) calls for the filename to be stored in the file header using the ISO-8859-1 character set. I could not find any recommendations as to how to handle Unicode filenames.

The current Linux version of the program gzip used for creating and reading gz archives differs from the above standard and stores filenames in UTF-8 format. The OS byte in the header is set to 3 (Unix).

Until now, Personal Backup has set this byte to 0 (FAT) and saved the filename per ISO-8859-1. To be compatible with previous versions and also to support Unicode, two variants are used in Version 5:

Hence the problem arises that other programs (such as WinZip or WinRar) will correctly detect the stored filename only with the first variant. This has, however, no effect on the unpacking of the files.

It would of course be better to use one of the unused bits the FLG byte as a criteria for the coding of the filename. The current zip format does it in this way (see below).

Creating zip archives

The current zip format specification version: 6.3.2 dated September 2007 defines how Unicode filenames are to be processed: if bit 11 of the "general purpose bit flag" is set, filename and comment are in UTF-8 coding. Personal Backup uses this convention. Unfortunately not all file-compression programs currently support this new format. Among those that do are WinZip 12, 7-zip 9.20, IZArc 4.1.6 and WinRar 3.80, whereas Windows Explorer does not yet support the new format even under Windows 7.


All passwords for FTP, for SMTP and AES encryption must be coded per ISO-8859-1.

Length of file paths

For filenames (inc. path), the 260-character limitation still applies to certain Windows versions (more info). This limitation appears no longer to apply first of all under Windows 7. Under older operating systems, e.g. XP, all applications using Windows shell components, such as Explorer, cannot process longer file paths.
Everywhere where Personal Backup refers to shell components (e.g. in a directory- or file-selection dialog), the path length limitation applies even for Version 5 except with Windows 7 and newer.
Internally, the program uses UNC paths (e.g. when copying files) which may have a maximum length of about 32000 characters. With Version 5 it is therefore possible to backup, restore and delete files with paths exceeding the above limit, even when many file managers (including Windows Explorer) will fail on scanning such a directory tree. One file manager that supports long filenames is Total Commander Version 7.5 .

Version 4.5

Version 4.5 works with all current Windows systems and Windows 98/ME. It supports only the West European character set (ISO 8859) and pathnames up to 260 characters.

Note: There will be no further development of this version! Version 5 is recommended for use with current operating systems. Version 5 may be installed alongside version 4.5. The old tasks and settings will largely be inherited.

Download Version released 2011-04-15

Windows setup (5.54 MB)
(MD5: fb71c5e5a671f3c75066bb8f7e8de3f9)
Update as zip file Release notes (only German)


This package contains programs useful for automating backup processes and to rescue data from damaged zip archives.


All above utilities (1,96 MB, updated 2014-07-10) WinMerge-Plugin BartPE plugin
Gammadyne's Free DOS Utilities (e.g. Wol.exe, StartAs.exe)

Personal-Backup everywhere

Many thanks to Jim Scharfenberg Jones for proofreading my English

Visitors since 2007-02-09: