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Laptop backups & restores


We provide daily network backups for supported laptop computers, connected to the SCS wired network, running Facilities-supported Unix/Linux operating systems, including:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Mac OS v10.5, v10.6, v10.7, v10.8
  • Fedora Core 3,5
  • Fedora 7
  • Redhat Linux 9.0
  • Ubuntu Dragon (10.04 LTS)

The backup system used on the above platforms is Teradactyl.

Important Notes

  • Laptop systems also have a backup client tool that initiates an immediate network backup. The tool is called BackupNow and can be found in the normal program area based on the Operating system of the laptop.
  • Laptop hosts are not automatically placed in the backup system; backups must be specifically requested. See the section below on how to tell if a laptop host is being backed up if you are uncertain if your host is receiving backups.
  • If there is an alternate host you would like the restored data to be placed, then specify the path on the new host along with the new host name.
  • If you add a disk to a host, or change or rename the partitioning, you must tell us in order for the new disk or partition to receive backups. To request backups, send mail to with the name and CMU asset number of the host.

Backup Scheduling

Considering that laptop computers are not as powerful as desktop systems, the backup process causes a very noticable degradation of performance when it is actively running. The following is a list of four alternate backup scheduling options.

  1. Laptop Polling Backups (default)
    • A polling system that runs from 6:00am to 6:00pm every day that looks for mobile computers over the SCS wired network automatically running backups
    • Warning -- Laptops should be left online from 6:00am to 6:00pm
  2. On-Demand Only Backups
    • These backups are set up so that you can initiate backups over the SCS wired network at any time that you desire
    • Warning -- There are no automatic backups
  3. Night Backups
    • These backups are set up so that an automatic backup over the SCS wired network happens at night
    • Warning -- The laptop must be left on the SCS wired network overnight
  4. Custom Scheduled backups
    • These backups are set up so that an On-Demand Only backup is initiated by the laptop at a pre-determined time
    • Warning -- The laptop must be left on the SCS wired network at the pre-determined time

How to Determine if your laptop host is being backed up:

  • Windows systems.
    There is a program called LastBackup under the SCS Backups section of your Start Menu. This will list this host's drive partitions and when they were last backed up.
  • Facilitized Unix/Linux systems.
    You can run the program bustatus to tell whether or not a host is being backed up. The path for Ubuntu is /usr/cs/bin/bustatus. For all other Unix/Linux systems, the path is /usr/local/bin/bustatus.
  • Mac systems.
    To see if your Mac is being backed up you may use the LastBackup script found in the /Applications folder for Mac OS 10.7/10.8 (Lion/Mountain Lion) or the /Applications/Utilities folder for earlier Mac operating systems. If the machine is being backed up this should return the last backup date. If this script does not exist or returns an error you are most likely not being backed up.

How to request a restore

To request a restore on a system, send mail to with the following information:

  • Name of the machine the file(s) were located on.
  • Name of the Machine and path on the new host if there is an alternate host you would like the restored data to be placed.
  • The full path to the requested file(s). Please make sure that these are the actual paths of the file(s) and not a symlink to them.
  • The last known dates during which the file(s) existed.

E-mail containing instructions on how to access restored files will be sent to you after the restore is complete.

For more specific information on backups, please see :