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Cleanup Settings for Virtual Machine Backups

In this article we discuss the Traditional Incremental Backup Scheme, and important concept in Backup Engineering, and how it relates to the cleanup of virtual machine backups. The first section of this article discusses the theory behind the incremental backup scheme and the last few slides show the cleanup in action, depicted over several backup […]

Can I Backup Files in their Native Format?

In order to back up files in their native format, simply switch off deduplication in the Deduplication tab. Uncheck the option “Activate Deduplication (Delta Compression), and switch off data compression in the Compression tab by unchecking “Turn on compression to save space”. See Backup Software Without Compression Option: As-Is File Backup.

Can I Move the Backup Folder?

Yes, the backup folder may be moved when the backup is not running. Please stop the backup and disable the task first and then ensure that all files are moved, beginning with the backup’s root folder. You will see subfolders, such as C_ or , in the root folder, as well as several BackupChain.config* files. […]

What is the FastNeuronDelta file extension?

FastNeuronDelta is the proprietary file format for deduplicated file backup chains. A backup chain consists of one full backup and N incremental or differential backups (deltas) that follow and depend on it. The file name extensions are as follows: .1.FastNeuronDelta files are full (compressed and optionally encrypted) file copies .0.FastNeuronDelta files are increments or differentials […]

How to Run Powershell Commands Automatically

In order to run Powershell commands before and after backup tasks, use the corresponding fields in the Options tab. The C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Powershell.exe C:\scripts\myscript.ps1 Check the external utility and enter the above path as shown below:   The command may also be passed as an argument, like this: C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\PowerShell.exe -Command {enter commands here} Important Please make sure […]

How to Exclude Files by File Extention from Backups

To exclude files of a certain type from backups, use the File Versioning/Cleanup tab, and if the extension is not already there, click the Add button and enter the extension in the following format. For example: you would enter *.pst to set up a rule for PST files. Then set ‘number of backups to keep’ […]


The error VSS_E_FLUSH_WRITES_TIMEOUT may occur in various circumstances. This error usually means the preparation of a VSS shadow took too long. The timeout is fixed in Windows and can’t be changed. Usual suspects here are heavy fragmentation on C: or having too many shadows in the system. Please check using vssadmin list shadows there should […]

Task Chaining With or Without Wait Option

The Options tab offers a feature called Task Chaining, which allows the configuration of a task to follow the current task: When Should the Wait  Option be Used? Typically when you chain tasks, it’s done to avoid overlapping tasks and to avoid having to wait in between tasks unnecessarily. When a chain of task a+b+c […]

What’s New in v4.0.5441?

We are excited to announce the second maintenance release of BackupChain version 4 (build 4.0.5441) and the 10 year anniversary of BackupChain! New Features & Changes The major new features and changes are outlined below: Breaking changes: none Centralized Management This new feature allows you to connect all your BackupChain instances together and control and […]

How to Set up Centralized Remote Management / Console / Dashboard

In order to manage many servers from a single screen without having to log on to each server individually, you need to use the Server Enterprise edition as the “master” and connect to it all other instances of BackupChain you have running on other computers. All instances of BackupChain can be remotely managed, except the […]

Is the .Net Framework Required?

BackupChain v4 no longer requires a .Net Framework installation because .Net already comes preinstalled in Windows since Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. BackupChain works with .Net 4.0, included in Windows 8 and 10 and Windows Server 2012 and later, but also works with .Net 2.0 which is included in .Net 3.5 installations, on Windows […]

Backup to multiple storage media at the same time?

You can run many backups at the same time in BackupChain. However, there are certain services that do not allow parallel backups. These can sometimes include Exchange Server and SQL Server; it depends on the internal database structure. Then there could be an error with the Hyper-V backup. Our recommended method is to define several […]

Bare-Metal Recovery

In order to do a bare metal recovery you will need to prepare a Windows boot USB drive, see How to: Bare-Metal Recovery via USB Windows Server Boot Disk. Once you have this USB hard disk set up to boot Windows via USB, you can install BackupChain on it and use the disk image backup […]

Are Tape Drives Supported for Backup?

Yes, tape drives work with BackupChain. For best performance you will want to use a task without deduplication (compression is OK) because deduplication requires fast random file access and tapes can naturally not provide random access as efficiently as hard drives. Moreover, your tape system will have to be accessible using a drive letter, for […]

DriveMaker Help and FAQ

Below is an overview and definition of DriveMaker Freeware and DriveMaker Plus features. DriveMaker allows you to connect to an FTP site via a mounted drive, so that all FTP files and folders become accessible from all your applications, for example on the path F:\ Download DriveMaker Now  Purchase What Can I Do With DriveMaker? DriveMaker opens […]

How to Exclude Certain Folders and Files From Backups

In order to exclude folders and files from a backup, use the Exclusions tab. The Exclusions tab offers various ways a folder or file can be excluded:   The top two boxes allow users to enter specific files and folders to be excluded. The third field ‘exclude files and folders containing this text…’ allows names […]

Network Tips & Tricks

Sometimes connecting to a server or NAS device on the network can be a real pain; this has mostly to do with how Microsoft manages network connections and how servers are set up and networks are structured. Background Info In Windows, each user session has its own network connections. On a Windows Server there are […]

Backing up Locked Files from a Network Share / Drive

Naturally, files stored on a network can be backed up using BackupChain using a pull strategy (that’s what you’re doing now); however, Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service doesn’t permit unlocking files over the network. In order to backup locked files, these files need to be local; hence, you can resolve the problem by installing the […]

Suspending a VM Before Backup in VMware Workstation

Instead of a VMware live backup you could also suspend VMs before backing them up and start them as soon as the backup completes. In BackupChain‘s Options tab use the External Utilities section as shown below:   The above example uses the VMRUN.EXE utility that ships with VMware Workstation (also VMware Server 2.0). We use […]

How to Backup Files with Unicode File Names

Backing up files with Unicode file names is fully supported in BackupChain and there is no need to configure anything. Full Unicode support is provided by BackupChain for file names up to 32,768 characters long. This makes BackupChain a perfect tool to back up very large file servers with deep folder structures, even over the network (network […]

How to Set up Block Level Delta Compression and WAN Acceleration

To set up Block Level Delta Compression and WAN Acceleration you don’t need to configure much. In fact, the default settings already pre-configure deduplication for types of files where it makes most sense, for example, disk images, VHDX files (Hyper-V, Virtual PC / Server), VMDK files (VMware), MDF LDF files (SQL Server), etc. The tab […]

How to Fix: “Error Creating Hard Drive Snapshot” and VSS Errors

The log entry “Error Creating Hard Drive Snapshot” indicates a ‘fatal VSS’ issue in the VSS system of Windows. Without a valid snapshot of the hard drive, BackupChain cannot proceed. To inspect the Windows Event Viewer logs, see Troubleshooting Volume Shadow Copy Errors: First Steps In the case of Hyper-V being used, make sure you […]

Can I Back up VMware ESX / ESXi?

ESX and ESXi backups are not supported in v2.4 and below.  BackupChain needs to run on top of Windows and can back up hypervisors that run on top of Windows, such as VMware Workstation VMware Server 2 VMware Player VirtualBox Hyper-V Please contact our helpline to request more information.

License Renewal Questions

Question: I bought several BackupChain Server Enterprise Individual with 1 year update licenses at 3 different times in June, July, and October. What is the price to renew the software and what are the benefits of the renewal. If I don’t renew, will it reduce the software functionality? Answer: BackupChain licenses are perpetual; the software will […]

How to Deactivate / Move Software Licenses to Another Server

BackupChain licenses can be uninstalled and moved to another server or PC. You can deactivate the license yourself with immediate effect. Uninstall the software first, then visit and enter the license code and your email address. The license will be deactivated immediately and you can reuse it on your new computer. Alternatively, please email […]

Network Backups: Common Pitfalls

First of all make sure the network drive is NTFS formatted. If it is not, there will be critical limitations, depending on the file system used. NTFS allows paths to reach over 32,000 letters, whereas Linux file systems don’t. Linux file systems have different file size limits and file name limits (not just full path […]

Backup of VMs to External Drives: Common Pitfalls

Lots and lots of smaller companies use BackupChain to back up VMs to USB drives as it allows for very simple drive rotation (no configuration is necessary when drives are rotated). When backing up virtual machines to external drives, such as USB drives, there are a couple things to watch out for. First, you need […]

Discussion of Backup Strategies and Samples

Backup strategies often revolve around certain constraints, such as: • backup time is limited • backups are performed around 500-1,000x more often than restores; hence, backup time windows tend to be prioritized over restore time • storage space is limited • human labor is expensive • business consequences of data loss may range from expensive to fatal • business data is […]

Create a Hyper-V Plain File Backup Job and Copy to Server

In order to copy VMs from one Hyper-V server to another and have them ready to boot at the backup server in case of a disaster, you need to set up a plain file backup job. In BackupChain’s New Task Wizard, this option shows up a ‘no processing’. See Step-by-step instructions on how to set […]

How to Set Up a Plain File Backup Copy

Plain file backup is basically a straight copy job. In the New Task Wizard in BackupChain the option is called “no processing” because no compression, encryption, or deduplication is being used (see link to step-by-step article at bottom). A great bonus in BackupChain is you can keep more than one copy of each file, if […]

How Should I Back Up VMware Workstation?

VMware Workstation isn’t quite a server-grade beast; however, we have thousands of BackupChain installations taking care of VMware Workstation and VMware Server successfully. Now when it comes to backing up VMware Workstation it’s really important to do some tweaking in the system so everything runs smoothly. Recommended reading: VMware Workstation Speed-Up, How to Fix Slow […]

How to Fix Hyper-V Backup Errors Quickly

When backing up Hyper-V VMs, VSS errors (Volume Shadow Copy Service) are not uncommon. The error potential for VM backups is much higher than for physical servers because many resources are shared and live backup requires the (error-free) participation of all VSS aware services inside each VM. Any resource shortage of service configuration issue inside a VM […]

How to Fix VSS Errors

VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) errors are not uncommon. VSS is a Windows component made by Microsoft and is the key to obtaining consistent and reliable live backups in Windows–there is no other way to achieve it. VSS errors are known to have thousands of potential origins; therefore, the best thing to do is to […]

How to Back up or Transfer Logs and Settings

How to Move Backup Logs BackupChain’s task settings are stored in: C:\ProgramData\BackupChainService Logs are stored in C:\ProgramData\BackupChainService\Logs\<task name>   You can back up these folders as necessary. How to Move Backup Settings to Another Server In order to move the settings to another server or PC, take a copy of BackupSets.xml. On the target PC, exit […]

How to Run a Task During Business Hours Only

In the Schedule tab, select the “daily” schedule. You need to change the start time from 9AM or whenever you would like the repetition to start. Note, however, the repetitions run inside the task. If you break the task to make changes or reboot the server, the repetitions won’t take place until the next day. […]

Do I Need to Buy the Software Every Year?

BackupChain software licenses are perpetual. They come with a one or two year update subscription. During that time you receive free upgrades and technical support. Beyond that time frame the software will continue to function; however, you will no longer receive software updates. Please contact our helpline to obtain a license renewal, place an order, or […]

BackupChain Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to BackupChain’s Frequently Asked Questions page. Please use the category links at the right or the search function to find  an article Alternatively, you may find the BackupChain User Guide helpful. In the user guide you’ll find the Tutorials section with several illustrated step-by-step instructions and screenshots for each step, such as Hyper-V Backup […]

How Should I use Granular Backup?

You don’t have to use Granular Backup to back up everything; it’s there for added flexibility and value. Most users create two or more tasks, one for the full backup, whether compressed / deduped or not. The other one runs more frequently and backs up only specific folders from inside the VM, via Granular Backup. […]

What Does “Always Authenticate” Do?

The ‘always authenticate’ option was added to deal with the case where user X may have read access to a share but no write access, unless X authenticates explicitly. This occurs for example when shares are opened to everyone for reading but only certain users have write access. BackupChain is then forced to re-authenticate to […]

Does BackupChain use a Backup Store or Container Files?

BackupChain doesn’t use the concept of a backup store. It’s a target folder it writes to, which may be freely rotated. BackupChain continues where it left off last time it wrote into that folder. If you switch off dedupe and compression you’ll see the original file / folder structure and files being reproduced inside the […]

Does each Hyper-V CSV Node Require a License?

You’ll need a Server Edition or Server Enterprise license and installation on each node and each node should use its own target folder, whether or not going to the same target device. The deduplication algorithm works on a file basis, meaning each file (VHDX) is deduplicated on its own in isolation. You would set up […]

What Do I Need to Know When Backing up Hyper-V CSVs?

When you’re dealing with Windows Server 2012 R2 CSV backups you need to be aware of the following: use Hyper-V Backup types only, not Universal overlapping backups (simultaneous backups between two or more nodes) are now permitted. Server 2008 R2 couldn’t do that make sure all VM files are on the one and same CSV: […]

Is Granular Backup as Good as Running a Backup Inside the VM?

Granular Backup is an innovation of ours and uses the same VSS mechanisms as a full backup. It should give you the same file perspective as being inside the VM. Thus it saves you time and money and nothing needs to be installed/managed inside the VM. Probably because it saves you money you won’t find […]

Why is “total bytes read” so low in the log stats?

The read and write “total bytes” are the same when there is no compression or deduplication occurring. When compression or deduplication is being used, the total bytes read should be higher than total bytes written, since compression reduces the write volume. The read volume is less than the total of all original files because some […]

Can I back up Hyper-V on Windows 10 PCs?

Yes, all BackupChain Editions offer Hyper-V Backup for Windows 10 and Windows 8, as well as Windows Server 2019 – 2008 and Hyper-V Server 2019 – 2008. A complete walk-through, which is identical for all Editions, can be accessed via this page. Another interesting feature is that you can back up Hyper-V virtual machines on Windows […]

What is the Difference Between Server Edition and Server Enterprise Edition?

In a nutshell, the Server Edition is limited to 2 simultaneous file backups and 2 deduplication workers. The Server Enterprise Edition doesn’t have those limitations and also offers Granular Backup (backup files internal to VM  from the host) & Granular Restore (restore files from within VM backups) features. The limitation of workers and simultaneous files […]

Does BackupChain Back Up and Restore Folder / File Permissions?

Yes BackupChain has the option to back up and restore file and folder permissions, so-called ACLs. You’ll find the backup option in the Options tab, box “Access Control Lists”. When restoring, at the very end of the restore screen where you enter the target folder, click ‘advanced options’. You’ll see an option there to restore […]

Is the trial fully functional?

Yes, the trial is fully functional for 20 days. In v2.4 if you need to do a emergency restore to a new computer, install the trial and set up a ‘dummy’ task which doesn’t do anything. Simply save it and once you access the main screen in BackupChain, click Restore in the main menu and […]

I have 4 physical hosts with 10 VMs each. How many licenses do I need?

The number of virtual machines does not matter for licensing. Each installation needs a license. In the case of Hyper-V you would typically install BackupChain on the host, either the Server Edition , the Server Enterprise Edition, or the Server Enterprise Edition with Premium Support. If you are using Hyper-V on Windows 8 instead of a […]