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Beta Release 20

Alex Pankratov :

Jun 26, 2013

.

Major - Backup descriptions


Added "Description" field to a backup configuration. It is a user-defined label that, well, describes the backup. The rationale behind this is to replace two lines - "From" and "To" - in the main window with a single line - "Description" and use saved space for something else (see below).

Description can be left empty, in which case it defaults to "$SRC -> $DST", which in turn is expanded by the UI by substituting $SRC/$DST with actual source/destination locations. These macros can be used in the description as well, e.g. you can set description to be "Daily, from $SRC".

Major - Backup configuration dialog


Reworked "Backup configuration" dialog to accommodate newly added description field.

Also, tweaked the dialog styling a bit, going from http://bvckup2.com/wip/backup-config-br19.png to http://bvckup2.com/wip/backup-config-br20.png

The way settings are framed in the new version may look a bit odd at first, but this *greatly* improves the comfort level of using this window. If you don't like it at first, stick with it and it will grow on you. I guarantee it.

Also, added nice little animation that transforms compact "New Backup" dialog to the full "Backup Config" when creating first backup. The compact version is shown only if you don't have any jobs configured, but you can force the UI to show it by holding CTRL down when selecting "Add new backup" from the menu. I killed a good day on making this damn animation as flicker-free as possible and I think it came out quite nicely. Check it out.

Major - New layout of the main window items


Adding description paved way to changing how backups are presented in the main window - http://bvckup2.com/wip/backup-tile-br20.png

Top-left corner is the description. This part always stays the same.

Bottom-left is the backup's status - Disabled/Monitoring/Queued/Working/Paused/etc... It changes to the name of the file being copied or updated when backup is processing files.

Top-right shows the stats from the last run when the backup is idle. It switches to scanning/planning information when the backup is going through a preparation phase and the backup progress when it is executing. The "no errors" part can be suppressed, but it's via the .ini edit only for now.

For backup phases where it can more-or-less guess the amount of work, it shows a small progress bar beneath the phase description. Specifically, this is done for both source and destination scanning - http://bvckup2.com/wip/phase-progress-bar.png

Bottom-right shows source location statistics when idle, scan progress when scanning, planning progress when planning and, pièce de résistance - the file copying progress bar when executing. Notably, the copying progress bar indicates parts of the file that were skipped and that were copied by the delta copier - http://bvckup2.com/wip/delta-copying-bar.png - copied parts are in dark, partially copied - in a lighter color, skipped parts - in the lightest.

Major - Automatic destination re-scan


For a backup that is set not to re-scan destination on every run (a default Scanning setting), the backup engine will look for any errors indicative of the destination snapshot getting out of sync with the live destination. For example, not being able to delete a file because it no longer exist. In such cases, the engine will now automatically discard the snapshot and restart the backup forcing a destination re-scan.

This adds a bit of intelligence and a lot of resilience to the backup engine.

Major - "Drive not connected"


Added detection of _disconnected_ mapped drives on program's start.

This is a big deal because starting with Vista Microsoft has optimized the account logon procedure to NOT wait for the network drives reconnect before letting the users into the system. So this leads to the situation when a logged in user sees mapped network drives in a "disconnected" state, with a red cross next to it. Only after clicking on it in the Windows Explorer, Windows would try and connect it. Apparently, this is a well-known problem and people typically solve it by dropping a link to a mapped drive into the Startup folder.

Interestingly enough, disconnected drives are invisible to the programs that enumerate system drives. Nor does Window supply a notification when such drive reconnects. It should, but it doesn't :-/

All this leads to a situation when Bvckup complains about "destination drive not found" if it is started shortly after the boot and there's a backup that goes onto a network drive.

To address these issues, BR20 implements an alternative way of enumerating system drives - this helps it to "see" disconnected network drives. Also, when it discovers a disconnected drive, it issues a command to prod it and nudge it into a connected state.

Alex Pankratov :

Jun 26, 2013

Minor changes / fixes / improvements


# Simplified VSS (volume snapshot taking) code a bit and made it more aligned with Microsoft's recommended flow (switch an order of a couple of calls).

# Added code to force write-through of the .ini files upon saving. This is in addition to flushing of the file buffers and using two-step transactional updates that were in place since BR1. The goal is to make .ini's resilient to ... erm ... sudden power losses.

# Fixed an issue with VSS code logging "file was not copied" when getting cancelled half way through taking a volume snapshot.

# Ctrl-<Go> now discards destination snapshot and, effectively, forces the re-scan of the destination

# Added %AppData\Local\Temp, %AppData\Local\Bvckup2 and %System\ServiceProfile\Bvckup2 to the list of automatically excluded directories

# Modified engine to NOT set up (hard-coded) exclusion filters that can't be triggered. For example, C:\System Volume Information is no longer included if the source location is C:\Windows.

# Added timestamps to switching.log - the log created when switching app mode.

# Added beta revision to the systray icon tooltip

Deipotent :

Jun 26, 2013

http://bvckup2.com/wip/backup-config-br20.png


This link doesn't exist

Jadag :

Jun 26, 2013

DESCRIPTION? "YAY!"

Now if only they would sort alpha/numeric or there was a way to manualy re-order them.

Alex Pankratov :

Jun 26, 2013

@Deipotent - fixed, thanks.

@Jadag - It'll be in one of the next two releases. Also, you can sort them by setting conf.ui_position in respective settings.ini file for each backup. The lower the number, the higher spot on the list it gets.

Miles :

Jun 26, 2013

Hi Alex,

Thanks so much for making the left column headings clickable (I clicked on them without even thinking ;-) and for fixing the cutoff text in the "How to scan" description.

Would it be possible for the "Archive backup copies" option to archive deleted AND modified files?

It's a small thing, but could you please include a "Bvckup Uninstall" link in the Start Menu Bvckup 2 folder? That would be a handy addition. If you prefer not to, would it be possible to create just the Bvckup icon within the Start Menu's Programs folder rather than embedding it within yet another folder which only contains a single item?

Goastler4 :

Jun 26, 2013

I second the archive of modified files as well as deleted files, that would be very handy indeed. I like the look of the new beta release, glad to see description is back, but there is one tiny thing that i find niggling. When processing a backup job, the program says "Step X of Y". Wouldn't it be more appropriate to have "File" rather than "Step", because you've then got the amount of data transferred value mounding up below it, and that's per file.

Other than that, Bvckup 2 is awesome!!

Deipotent :

Jun 27, 2013

When a backup is manually started and the backup is successful, shouldn't that reset the period until the next scan takes place ?

eg. if the job is set to backup every 30 minutes and I click Go when the next scan is set to take place in 10 minutes, when the job finishes, shouldn't the next scan take place in 30 minutes rather than 9 or 10 minutes ?

Alex Pankratov :

Jun 28, 2013

@Miles - Archiving of the modified files is not something that I will be adding to the V2 just yet. It's one of those features that is very simple of the surface, but a huge can of worms on the inside.

For example, it generally requires storing the archive of modified versions to be stored as incremental changes (or it will make the archive explode in size just like *that*). If that's accepted, then there's a question of an archive format. There's also a question of the UI for browsing the archive... and so on, and so on. One thing leads to another.

I'll add the Uninstall link.

@Goastler4 - I'll see about changing the wording. It's called "step" because file copying is just one of 7 (?) possible operations that are executed during the backup (e.g. there's also create-directory, move-file, etc). On the other hand, all file copying and updating is clustered together and executed after all other backup actions, so I might as well show "Files" instead of "Steps". So let me think about this.

@Deipotent - Manual click on Go is treated as a one-off override. I was also thinking in term of scheduled backups being set to run daily at a specific time, so making the backup time drift didn't look like a good idea.

scribbly :

Jul 03, 2013

Sorry if this is handled elsewhere... I've had a quick look but couldn't see it?

My $Archive of Deleted Items (Bvckup) directory seems to alway get two 'deleted' directories:
* KR_thru_Ch13
* KR_thru_Ch13 (deleted on 2013-07-03 at 19-19-57)

KR_thru_Ch13 is empty.

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 03, 2013

@scribbly - That's just some directory that happens to be created and deleted between the backups. I have no idea what it is.

I can however add an option to not archive _empty_ deleted directories as it would seem a sensible thing to do.

scribbly :

Jul 03, 2013

@Alex Pankratov - It's the same directory, probably created first, then BvackUp creates the one it's going to use (with the date string).

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 03, 2013

@scribbly - Ah, right. It's strange though.

The KR_thru_Ch13 directory in the Archive shouldn't be empty. It was created, because one of the files or folders in KR_thru_Ch13 directory at source was deleted and Bvckup needed a place to archive the item.

After that, the backup was run again and this time KR_thru_Ch13 itself was deleted. So the directory itself was archived and so "KR_thru_Ch13 (deleted on 2013-07-03 at 19-19-57)" was created.

See BR16 release notes for a longer explanation of how archiving works - https://bvckup2.com/support/forum/topic/49

--

Can you double-check which directory is empty and which is not?

scribbly :

Jul 03, 2013

Well, it's happened twice (tho' the date stamps are confusing)...
Name Ext Size Type Modified Created
KR_Ch11_revised [Empty] File folder 3/07/2013 7:23:24 PM 3/07/2013 7:23:24 PM
KR_Ch11_revised (deleted on 2013-07-03 at 19-23-24) 1,408 KB File folder 3/07/2013 7:10:20 PM 20/06/2013 10:04:49 PM
KR_thru_Ch13 [Empty] File folder 3/07/2013 7:19:57 PM 3/07/2013 7:19:57 PM
KR_thru_Ch13 (deleted on 2013-07-03 at 19-19-57) 1,471 KB File folder 3/07/2013 7:10:20 PM 21/06/2013 6:41:40 PM

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 03, 2013

@scribbly - Let me try and reproduce this.

scribbly :

Jul 04, 2013

OK: 99% success for the job that crippled v1 :)

I use SpiderOak to backup my Documents, and it also keeps a local copy, which I copy to an external HD for offsite storage. Anyway, I was so disappointed when BvckUp would handle that job, but I used FreeFileSync and patiently waited ;)

The job involved copying from a NAS drive to a USB3.0 External HD:
* 145.71 GB
* 908,626 files
* 278 folder
* no errors

The only problem was when I came home (I had to leave it running whilst I was at work), it had finished running (successfully) and I thought I'd take a look at the log: which is when the programme crashed. An error report was sent (I think: I didn't get confirmation that it was received).

But the total job took about 17 hours (from memory).

And I can't seem to locate the log file? There's a backup.txt and backup.0.txt, but all the steps are not represented.

So I'm very happy!! Was the log file an issue?

scribbly :

Jul 04, 2013

And I've just done a rescan...
10:15 to scan the 908,829 files and process the 203 steps.

This is just a [tiny] personal observation, but you rely on the ellipsis a lot: I felt a little too much.

The ellipsis after the current file being copied was maybe the one that bugged me the most.

I know it's only WikiPedia, but they say [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellipsis]:
"An ellipsis character after a status message signifies that an operation may take some time, as in "Downloading updates…"."

1. Notice there is no gap between the last word and the ellipsis? That's how I always write it.
2. These file operations are not taking any time at all!

I love v2 already!!

stubbs :

Jul 04, 2013

I noticed that jobs that are set up while running as Administrator, or as a service (elevated privileges) are not visible when running in user mode. I don't know if that's intentional, but I think it might be nice to at least list them, and have them grayed out or equivalent with a note that they can only run in privileged mode.

stubbs :

Jul 04, 2013

Oh, I just had a brilliant idea. As as a way of filling in filter settings, it would be awesome if you could expand the backup log, see an error, and right-click or have an option on it to exclude that file!

Another help would be to make text in the log selectable, so that paths can be copied as needed to input into filters, etc.

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 04, 2013

@scribbly - Got the crash log, thank you very much :) I will have a look at it later today, buf it appears to be a genuine bug (as opposed to a tripped internal safeguard of which there's a metric ton in the code).

The log files - there's one central log for the program that tracks adding/removing of the jobs and what not, and there are per-job log files. Latter are accessible by right-clicking on the job -> Open folder -> Configuration and Logging -> and there'll be backup.log. I'm guessing you found it.

The backup.log is the current log file. backup.0.log is the previous instance that grew to 16 megs and was archived. The size threshold is configurable as is the number of archived copies to be kept, but these aren't currently configurable through the UI. In any case, steps from your first run should be in the backup.0.log. If they aren't all there, then the earlier part was in the first archived copy of the log that got overwritten by current version of backup.0.log.

With regards to the ellipsis - I'll take an advice here. So what do you think it should log when it is *starting* to copy a file. It can't really wait until the copy is done, because (a) the file can be big (b) the copy may fail, in which case logging the error first and *then* stating that the copy failed is not going to make much sense. I guess I can omit "..." in "Copying, creating, moving, planning, etc" altogether - do you think that would look normal?

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 04, 2013

@stubbs - Can you elaborate on the exact sequence of events? This shouldn't be happening.

You run it under a regular user (or is it a limited Admin? Like a default Vista/W7 single-user account), then you switch to run as a service, create a job and then switch back to the app mode and the job's not there? If that's how it is, can you email me switching.log file from AppData\Local\Bvckup2 directory?

The idea with excluding based on error log messages is indeed brilliant :) I'll see what I can do.

stubbs :

Jul 04, 2013

Alex, the problem isn't present when switching between service and program modes, but rather when switching between my user and the Administrator (in the Preferences).

Jobs that have been created under the Administrative mode don't appear when not the "run as Administrator" checkbox isn't checked.

Here are some screenshots to illustrate:

http://i998.photobucket.com/albums/af106/clawsonj/settings_zps03b52c46.png

http://i998.photobucket.com/albums/af106/clawsonj/administrator_zps1742babf.png

http://i998.photobucket.com/albums/af106/clawsonj/no_jobs_zps7cb23bcc.png

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 05, 2013

@stubbs - Hmm. My understanding was that this should only be happening if you are normally running under a regular user account, because in this case restarting as an Administrator effectively switches the account. What is your user account like?

pjb :

Jul 06, 2013

Has anyone encountered this scenario?

I have 2 jobs setup in bvckup (running as service).  Both are in 'Disabled' mode.
When I launch bvckup to see the GUI, I've randomly seen several times now where both jobs change to 'Awaiting a Go command' as if the Go button was pressed for both jobs from the 'Disabled' mode.

Have not figured out what the root cause is or consistently determined how to manually replicate it.  It just happens randomly.  Don't recall seeing it before beta 20...

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 07, 2013

@pjb - This shouldn't be happening. If you shutdown with a job disabled, it should remain disabled when you run bvckup the next time. You would've not been exiting the program with a job running by any chance? Because that would cause it to not be disabled on next launch.

pjb :

Jul 07, 2013

Alex - these are just test jobs with not many files and no adds or changes.  I've just been disabling them so I just run it manually when I want to test bvckup.  So for the times I 've experienced the scenario I've described there was no activity other than me launching bvckup and hitting check for updates.  In the times I've seen the mode switch it was right after launching bvckup GUI before I could even go to the menu for to check for update.

I'll keep on monitoring.  I went to the logs for yesterday and here's a snippet if it's any help:

2013.07.06 23:51:39.977 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Waiting for the engine to start syncing...
2013.07.06 23:51:40.008 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Starting regular event poller...
2013.07.06 23:51:40.008 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Entering the UI code...
2013.07.06 23:51:44.532 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui | Checking for updates...
2013.07.06 23:51:44.548 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Sending the request for http://update.bvckup2.com/check?ver=0.20.0.0?nag=...
2013.07.06 23:51:44.860 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Receiving the reply...
2013.07.06 23:51:44.860 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui | Update information
2013.07.06 23:51:44.860 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Version:  0.20.0.0
2013.07.06 23:51:44.860 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Released: 26/06/2013 06:10
2013.07.06 23:51:44.860 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Location: http://bvckup2.com/beta/files/bvckup2-setup-beta.exe
2013.07.06 23:51:44.860 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Size:     1395784 bytes
2013.07.06 23:52:10.148 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui | Checking for updates...
2013.07.06 23:52:10.148 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Sending the request for http://update.bvckup2.com/check?ver=0.20.0.0?nag=...
2013.07.06 23:52:10.366 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Receiving the reply...
2013.07.06 23:52:10.366 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui | Update information
2013.07.06 23:52:10.366 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Version:  0.20.0.0
2013.07.06 23:52:10.366 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Released: 26/06/2013 06:10
2013.07.06 23:52:10.366 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Location: http://bvckup2.com/beta/files/bvckup2-setup-beta.exe
2013.07.06 23:52:10.366 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui |   Size:     1395784 bytes
2013.07.06 23:52:22.955 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Applying [disable] command to 1 job
2013.07.06 23:52:22.955 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Job [1] is in [idle] state
2013.07.06 23:52:23.002 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Awaiting an exchange reply for 12...
2013.07.06 23:52:25.467 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Applying [disable] command to 1 job
2013.07.06 23:52:25.467 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Job [2] is in [idle] state
2013.07.06 23:52:47.183 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Applying [enable] command to 1 job
2013.07.06 23:52:47.183 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Job [2] is in [disabled] state
2013.07.06 23:52:49.382 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Applying [disable] command to 1 job
2013.07.06 23:52:49.382 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Job [2] is in [idle] state
2013.07.06 23:53:11.862 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Back from the UI code...
2013.07.06 23:53:11.862 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui | Stopped
2013.07.06 23:53:11.862 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | Tearing down the IPC...
2013.07.06 23:53:11.862 (UTC+5) 3 01238 ui | IPC is down
2013.07.06 23:53:11.862 (UTC+5) 2 01238 ui | Shut down
2013.07.06 23:53:11.862 (UTC+5) 2 The UI has exited, shutting down the engine...
2013.07.06 23:53:15.169 (UTC+5) 2

Alex Pankratov :

Jul 08, 2013

@stubbs - I tracked it down and fixed. Indeed it has always been creating "foo" directory in the $Archive in addition to "foo (deleted on...)" when "foo" was deleted at the source. In a sense it's harmless, but it was adding noise to the archive. Thanks for the report.

@pjb - I think I found it too. When "disabled" flag was set or cleared for a backup job, the job wasn't immediately saved. If no further changes were made to the job and if the job wasn't run after that, the change was lost upon the app exit. My bad, fixed in br21.

pjb :

Jul 08, 2013

Alex - that may possibly be the scenario.  Jobs are already created and disabled.  When I want to run, I run them manually.  Then set them to disabled and exit bvckup.

I also notice in the log several entries saying when bvckup GUI is launched - Only sporadically and not every time bvckup is launched:
"[log contents dropped due not being able to open log file for writing]"
(even though it says contents dropped, I still see regular log entries from when I initially installed bvckup2)

Could be related maybe to me starting the laptop, going to Windows 8 desktop mode, and launching bvckup in succession before Windows has fully 'settled' upon bootup.  Maybe affects ability to write/update to user's %appdata% in this scenario?

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