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What is a backup?

A backup could be defined just as the process to make a duplicate of our important data (documents, research data, etc.) and store it in a safe place, in case we lose or corrupt the original data. If you want to dive deeper in the concept, we recommend you reading this document

Backup to Google Drive

In this example we are going to learn how to setup a backup to Google Drive. Before we get started, make sure you have a working copy of the Open Source software Duplicati, which you can get from here. Once we have it installed in our system, whenever we launch the program we will be prompted a webpage through our local host, in our default web browser. Here, we choose to “Add backup” and agree to configure a new backup.



Then, we fill-in the general information of our backup, including an identifying name, the type of encryption and a password. We recommend that you use a strong password, as seen in the image below. If you prefer, Duplicati can generate a strong password for you. In any case, make sure you write down your password somewhere safe and keep track of it.



Upon clicking next, we are asked to fill-up the information regarding where we want to store our backup. We choose Google Drive as our storage type. Then, on advanced options choose the option at the bottom, where it says “authid”, right under the Google Drive bold title.



A new input field will appear, with a link at the description. Accessing this link will land us on the authentication page. Click the Google Drive login button, accept the corresponding requirements and you will be given your own credentials for Duplicati.




Copy your AuthID in the text field, as done in the image below and test your connection. If your folder does not exist, the program will ask if you want to create it.



Once set, it is time to specify which are the files/folders that we want to store in our backup. We can select them using the file explorer provided by the software or introducing the path to the file or folder directly. We can also add filters and/or specify files or folders to exclude.



Next, we will be able to plan the schedule for the automated backups, and the last screen will give us the opportunity to set up other general or advanced options. This will not work, however, if Duplicati doesn’t start with our system. By default, it should be launched in background mode at the startup of our system.




When we have finished with the setup, we should see something similar to this:



We can then execute our backup for the first time to check if it works properly. Just remember to make sure you have our Google Drive FTP Adapter application up and running with the proper settings before proceeding.



Exporting configuration

Now that we have at least one backup setted up and running at Duplicati, we can export the configuration in case we want to import it later. This will allow us to keep track of the configuration we had in case we change our computer or somehow we lose Duplicati’s configured backup. The process is fairly simple. First, we need to get to the start menu at Duplicati, as shown in the image below. In this screen we will be shown the different backups we have configured.



Where it says “Settings” we should see a link that says “Export”. If we click on it we will get to another screen. Here we are asked whether we want to export the backup settings to command lines or to a file. If we choose to export as a file we are also given the option to encrypt the file with a password, as seen in the image below.



If you encrypt your configuration file with a password, make sure to keep track of the password somewhere safe. Then, click on export and a file named something like YOUR-BACKUP-CONFIGURATION-NAME-duplicati-config.json.aes will be downloaded.


Importing configuration

When we want to import a configuration from a file, we need to click on the “Add backup” at the start menu of Duplicati. In this case, instead of choosing to setup a new backup, we choose “Import from file” and click “next”.



In the next screen we need to choose the json.aes file we want to import, introduce the password (in case we set one before). If we click on “Import” without selecting “Save immediately”, we will be taken to a set of screens where we can review and modify the settings of our imported backup. Otherwise, the backup settings will be imported and we will be taken back to the home screen of Duplicati.



Setting up mail notifications

Whenever we want to receive a confirmation mail every time the backup is created we need to set up some settings in our backup configuration. We can do this when we create a new one or edit the settings of an existing configuration. Right on the last step (step number 5), we need to open the advanced options and click on the button with the three vertical dots. Here we select “Edit as text” and after a few seconds, a textarea will appear, as in the following image:



We need to delete the text contained in that textarea and put the following series of commands:


--send-mail-any-operation = false

--send-mail-body = %RESULT%


We need to delete the text contained in that textarea and put the following series of commands:

--send-mail-any-operation = false
--send-mail-body = %RESULT%

l = Success,Warning

--send-mail-password = YOUR_GMAIL_PASSWORD

--send-mail-subject = Duplicati %OPERATIONNAME%backup report

--send-mail-to = DESTINY_EMAIL_ADDRESS

--send-mail-url = smtp://smtp.gmail.com:587

--send-mail-username = YOUR_GMAIL_ADDRESS


We can also set up the email notifications using the list editor instead of the text one. The advantage is that it will show descriptions of the possible settings for each options. The textarea of the advanced options should now look similar to this:



Save the changes and you will be brought back to the main screen. You can execute your backup now to test if your mail notifications are working properly. Notice that you may need to allow less secure apps to run your gmail account in order for this to work, but this is NOT RECOMMENDED.