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What Should I Back Up? A Guide to Gillware’s Standard Configuration


Photo credit: Flickr user ExeterAnna,

What is the standard configuration?

When we see cases come in to our data recovery lab, we always ask the customer what files on the computer they’re after. (Although we always try to make a full recovery, there are certain cases in which we can only target certain files, like if a drive’s mechanics are not being cooperative, for example.) More often than not we hear one answer when we ask what people want recovered: everything!

However, as IT professionals know, there is a lot of data on a computer that really isn’t important. When you’re helping your client with implementing a backup solution, it can be difficult to decide what you should back up and what you should exclude. You have to weigh the importance of the data with the amount of unnecessary storage space on the backup that it could use.

While some backup solutions make you mark folders and files for backup by hand, Gillware’s standard backup configuration does the work for you. We’ve built a finely tuned, yet robust rule set that you can apply to all or some of your backup accounts to make configuration a breeze.

The configuration is based on commonly backed up file types and locations, like the documents folder or desktop. The parameters are crowd sourced, so if we notice a new file type is being marked for backup frequently, it will get added to the standard configuration. We’re constantly monitoring the rules to include anything that might be missed.

You can use our standard configuration for your accounts, modify a copy of it to meet your needs, or start from scratch and make your own custom configuration. You can customize configurations from the dashboard, or make quick changes on a one at a time basis for files and folders if you’d like.

How do the rule sets work?

There are three different rule sets in any backup configuration: backup if not excluded, excludes, and backup always.

Backup if not excluded includes the majority of the rules, including the most common file types and locations. We include custom rule sets for industry specific file types. The excludes list consists of known “junk” files and folders that don’t need to be backed up. They’re generally just space wasters, like the recycle bin or temporary files. As the name implies, the excludes list trumps the “backup if not excluded” list. Finally, the backup always list trumps both other rules. You can use it if you want to be absolutely sure that a certain file or location is backing up.

The backup configuration is designed for efficiency, giving you the most and best coverage without unnecessary storage use. Although you will likely never need to alter the configuration, you still have control over every aspect of the rules. So the next time you need to set a customer up with backup, you can be certain they have all the coverage they need and none they don’t.