Personal Backup

Personal Backup Version 6

© 2001 − 2020, Dr. J. Rathlev

Program preferences

All global settings for the program are saved in an ini file (see here). With one exception (see here), no settings are stored in the Windows registry. To change a setting, click the desired sub-item of Preferences in the Control Panel menu:

  - Display - Program start - Shutdown
  - Copy - Security copies - Log
  - Printer - Directories - Other
  - User defined utilities

The associated dialog described below will open. Click the OK button to apply changes.

View settings


Main window

Default position - Position the window into the upper left corner of the screen
Default size - Change the size of the window to the default values
Reduced height - Change the height of the window to a value that fits smaller screens
Narrow - Toggle between normal and narrow window (without toolbar and start options)


Show tool-tips - Show or hide the additional tool-tips when moving the mouse over the program desktop

Total progress

During backup, a status window is displayed on the screen indicating total progress in form of a bar. Progress can be calculated in two different ways:
from file count - The total progress bar shows the number of files copied
from file sizes - The total progress bar shows the volume copied

Status window

Show always on top
You can select whether the progress bars and the status window at the end of a backup shall be displayed on top of all other windows on screen or not.
Close on automatic backups after:
After an automatic backup, the status window is displayed for a short time. The period until this window automatically closes can be set here.
Play sound
The end of a backup is signaled to the user by playing a sound. There are different sounds for a successful backup and for errors and warnings. Optionally these signals can be disabled, which also affects the sounds played when the program icon is added to the Windows notification area, for example after an automatic start of the program.

Settings for program start

Program start

Normal start

Without splash screen - Enable or disable the splash screen showing the program version (see command line option /hide)
Scan directories - When selected, causes the directories of the backup task to be scanned on each program start

Automatic backups

Notification of failed backup on last logoff - If this option is selected and an automatic backup on logoff or shutdown failed, you will be notified of this issue on next starting the program. Check the log for further information as to the reason for the failure.
Delay after start - The period the program waits on automatic start (see automatic backup) can be adjusted between 5 s and 5 min (default = 10 s). If there is an automatic backup to be performed on logon, this will start after the chosen delay. The same delay will be applied after resuming from suspend state.

Automatic program updates

Check for updates
On starting the program a connection to the Internet will be established every 7 days to check whether a program update is available (default: enabled).
Use proxy for updates
A proxy server can be configured for program updates. If this is required, you must specify server name, port, user name and password.

Settings for shutdown


Default action after backup

Because it is not possible for the program to recognize the action selected by the user via Windows Start menu (Shutdown or Restart) that will interrupt the shutdown process (in this case for the backup), you can specify the action to be performed after an automatic backup here.

Power off - After backup, the computer will be switched off (default).
Restart - After backup, the computer will be restarted.
Allow hybrid sleep - After backup, the computer will not be switched off, but goes into a mode which combines hibernation and sleep. This will result in a faster boot sequence on restart (available since Windows Vista).

Delay after backup on logoff/shutdown

Specify the time the program waits after automatic backups before continuing with logoff or shutdown.


Lock computer during backups on logoff/shutdown - To preclude access by unauthorized persons during backups started on shutdown or logoff, the computer will be locked.

Copy settings


Default setting for new tasks

The user can select which compression setting should be used as default for a new created task backing up into single files:

No compression - All files will be copied 1:1 without any compression.
Compress as zip - An individual zip file will be created at the destination location for each file to be backed up. During this, all file types listed below will not be compressed within the zip file, but all others will be compressed.
Compress as gz - All file types listed below will just be copied 1:1, but all others will be compressed in gz format.

File types not be compressed

File types are characterized in Windows by a filename extension that indicating the file format, e.g. docx being a Word document. File types that are already compressed, such as those with .zip extension or the OpenOffice .odt extension, should not be compressed again but instead just copied. This list can be edited by the user and will be used automatically for each new task, but existing tasks must be adjusted manually.

Add - The user can add to the list a file type not to be compressed.
Change - The user can select a file type in the list and change it.
Remove - The user can select a file type to remove it from the list.
Default - This will set the list to its default values, thereby excluding the following types from compression:
7z,ace,arc,arj,bz2,cab,docx,gif,gz,gze,jpeg,jpg,lha,lzh,mp3,mp4,mpg, odg,odp,ods,odt,otp,ots,ott,pdf,png,pptx,rar,xlsx,zip,zipx
If this list of default file types changes with a new version of the program, any types not present in the user list will be (re)inserted automatically.

Size of copy buffers

The program uses an internal buffer when copying or compressing files. The size of this buffer is adjustable in multiples of 1 KiB (= 1024 Byte). The default values for new tasks are 4096 kB for Windows operations and 256 KiB for FTP transfers. Depending on the backup destination, you can change these values for each backup task individually to optimize the copy speed. The default values are a good compromise.

Settings for security copies

Security copies

In the options of a backup task you can determine that during backup older file versions will not be overwritten and during synchronization files no longer existing at the source will not be deleted. Instead, they will be renamed or moved to special subdirectories using adjustable identifiers. The presettings of these identifiers valid for all new backup tasks can be adjusted by the user to suit individual requirements.

Security copies during backup

Default directory prefix: - Prefix for the subdirectory to which older file versions will be optionally moved during backup (default: ~).
Default filename suffix: - Suffix for the filenames to which older file versions will be optionally renamed during backup (default: bak).

Security copies during synchronization

Default directory prefix: - Prefix for the subdirectory to which older file versions will be optionally moved during synchronization (default: _).
Default filename suffix: - Suffix for the filenames to which older file versions will be optionally renamed during synchronization (default: sync).

Log settings

Log file

The following settings are the default values for the logs of all newly-created tasks (Backup, Restore, Verification and Cleanup). If desired, you can this adjust individually for each task.


This will define the contents of the log file. If everything goes well, a short or long log is adequate. To permit an analysis of errors you can switch to the verbose mode that will give more detailed error messages.

Date and time of backup
Destination directories
Error notifications (optionally with warnings)
Backup status with the number of files copied, deleted and checked
As for Short including warnings
List of all files copied on backup and all files deleted on synchronization
Additional information for copied files: A succeeding A indicates that the attribute of the source file was reset (e.g. during incremental backups), a succeeding U indicates that an older file version was overwritten at the destination.
As for Long, but with much additional information, such as timestamps, attributes, skipped files (useful only for debugging purposes) and system error messages


Show warnings in short log
Warnings are generated when the backup copy succeeded but changing the attributes and/or timestamp failed at destination. In contrast to the long log, these will usually not be shown in the short log. If you wish to have these warnings also in the short log, select this option.
Print automatically after backup
If this option is selected, an automatic printout of the log file will be made to the selected printer after each backup.

Enable logging

During restore
If this option is selected, the log settings as defined above will be used as default when opening the Restore dialog. For saved Restore tasks the log settings can be adjusted individually.
During cleanup
If this option is selected, the log settings as defined above will be used as default when opening the Cleanup dialog. For saved Cleanup tasks the log settings can be adjusted individually.
During verification
If this option is selected, the log settings as defined above will be used as default when opening the Verify dialog. For saved Verify tasks the log settings can be adjusted individually.

Prefix for mail attachments

If a mail is sent following a backup, restore, cleanup or verification action, the log created can also be sent as an attachment. The name of the attached file is assembled from a prefix (default: PB) and the date and time the action was started. The user can change the prefix for better recognition of mails from different sources.

Maximum file size

As new logs are added to existing entries, the log files will grow ever larger. The size of these files can be limited under Log settings (see screenshot). This setting will define a maximum size for a log file. On exceeding this size, the program will rename the current log incorporating the current date (PersBackup yyyy-mm-dd.log). Subsequently logs will be placed into a new, initially empty, log file.

Unit prefixes for file sizes

The recommendations of IEEE 1541 differentiates between binary and decimal prefixes (e.g. 1 kB, 2 KiB, 2.5 MiB, 1.8 GB). You can select which prefix is to used for indication of file sizes in the log file (and anywhere else in the program).
Examples: 1 kB = 1000 bytes, 1KiB = 1024 bytes, 16 MB = 16 000 000 bytes, 16 MiB = 16*1024*1024 bytes = 16 777 216 bytes.

Delete old log files

As the number of log files grows over time, you can specify an age after which log files should be deleted. The age is entered as a time span of days, weeks, months or years relative to the current date. The deletion of older log files can be done manually or automatically on each program start.

Printer settings


Settings for a printer are only needed if log files are to be printed.


After clicking the arrow on the right in the drop-down box you can select the printer to be used for printing the log.


After clicking the button on the right you can select font name, size and style.


Select the orientation of printout: portrait or landscape.

Page margins

Adjust the margins of the printout.



Task directory

This is the directory where the tasks for backups, restores, verifications and cleanups are to be stored.

Default - The directory forced by the program
Selected - Any user-selected directory

Directory for log files

This is the directory where all log files created by the program are to be stored.

Default - The directory forced by the program
Selected - Any user-selected directory

Temporary directory

This is the directory used by the program for temporary storage of files during backup and other actions. Usually all these files will be deleted by the program automatically after use.

Default - The temporary directory forced by Windows
Selected - Any user-selected directory

Ini directory

This is the location of the file PersBackup.ini where all the basic settings of the program and time schedules of the automatic tasks are stored.

Default - The directory forced by the program
Selected - Any user-selected directory
If this option is selected, an entry will be created in the Windows Registry pointing to this directory. On resetting to the default directory this Registry entry will be deleted automatically.

Other settings


Default backup task

The settings of this task will be used if a one-click backup is started from the context menu of a directory (see more). After opening the context menu by right-clicking a folder (e.g. in Windows Explorer), select the option Backup this folder using Personal Backup .. to start Personal Backup and to back up all files from this directory and its subdirectories into the destination directory specified in the default backup task. All other settings (backup mode, compression, encryption, etc.) will also be taken from this task. The selection criteria for subdirectories, files and file types are taken from the first directory to be saved.

Use selected
Select the backup task by clicking the button on the right.
Entry in folder context menu
This option will insert or remove an entry in the folder context menu of the current user. If this option is selected, the user can call a one-click backup of a directory (see above).
This feature is only available if the option to insert such an entry for all users was not selected during installation of the program .

User interface

Use wizard for new tasks - If this option is enabled, the wizard will always be started to create a new backup task. Experienced users can disable this option so that they can always freely configure the new task at will.

Other logs

Create SMTP log
During mail delivery, the communication log is written to the file PbSmtp.log in the log directory (see above).
Create VSS log
During creation of a volume shadow copy, a log is written to the file PbVss.log in the log directory (see above).

Minimum password length for encryption

Specify the minimum length of passwords for encrypted backups.

Maximum retry time to repeat file failed operations

The user can adjust the time for which the program will try to repeat a failed file operation, like renaming or setting the timestamp.

Drive identifier

The user can specify the name of the subdirectory the program will use to substitute a source drive in the destination directory on backup (see here). The default setting for this identifier is Drv? where the question mark will be replaced by the program with the current drive letter during backup. The user can specify any other name as identifier, e.g. Drive?, but it is important that the ? remains as part of the identifier!

User defined utilities

There is a separate menu in the Control Panel for starting the utility programs that are part of the Personal Backup package directly. The user can add any other program to this menu by clicking the option in the preferences menu. A dialog will open for selecting the desired application (exe file) and for entering an appropriate description which will be shown in the utilities menu later on. In addition you can rearrange the entries.

J. Rathlev, 24222 Schwentinental, Germany, May 2020