How to restore backups

CodeTwo Backup can restore data from a storage to a chosen location via restore jobs. This article describes how to filter contents to be restored. You will also learn how to create, manage and monitor restore jobs. The article includes the following sections:

Filtering and previewing items to be restored

To choose data to be restored, go to the Backups tab of the Administration Panel. Here, a built-in backup viewer shows all data backed up in a selected storage (Fig. 1.). You can:

Backup - backup tab
Fig. 1. Previewing a storage.

To find the items you want to restore, select a storage first. You can have multiple storages mounted to the program. To choose the right one, expand the drop-down menu and pick it from the list (Fig. 2.).

Backup - choosing storage
Fig. 2. Choosing a storage.

Tip

If your storage is not listed, check if it was added to the program or add a storage, if necessary. Learn more

Once you choose a storage, its contents will be displayed in the central part of the Backups tab (Fig. 3.). The left panel contains a list of mailboxes. If you select a mailbox, the right panel will show backup details.

Info

If you enabled password protection for a storage, you need to provide a password to view the backed up data. If you do not provide any password, you will only see the names of mailboxes that were saved in this storage.

Backup - browse mailbox
Fig. 3. Storage contents.

If you select and expand a mailbox on the list, you will see a structure that mirrors the original structure of folders in this mailbox (Fig. 3.). Choose any folder, and the items included in this folder will be listed. If you select an item, its preview will be displayed on the right side. This is one of the methods of searching for items to be restored.

You can also use the search box (located above the mailboxes list, see Fig. 4.) to quickly find a desired mailbox. Note that using this field automatically resets the item filters (located in the upper part of the window).

Backup - mailbox search
Fig. 4. Searching for a mailbox via the mailbox filter.

The backup viewer allows you to automatically search for items saved in a storage, with the use of item filters (Fig. 5.).

Backup - search in mailbox
Fig. 5. Searching for items via item filters.

Important

Filters can be used to search for items included in one selected mailbox only.

Filters include multiple search criteria and significantly improve the process of finding desired items. Items can be searched for by using either text values (phrases) or additional criteria, as described in the table below.

Text value criteria Additional criteria

Body - the body of an item contains a specified value.

Attachments - items with or without attachments.

Common fields - the Subject and Body fields of an item contain a specified value.

Created on - items created within specified time frames (month/day/year).

Sender - the item sender's email address or display name contains a specified value. This criterion also refers to Organizer's field.

Modified on - items modified within specified time frames (month/day/year).

Subject - the subject of an item contains a specified value.

Received on - items received within specified time frames (month/day/year).

Recipients - the item Recipient's email address or display name in the To, Cc, Bcc fields contains a specified value. This criterion also refers to recipients of meeting requests.

Sent on - items sent within specified time frames (month/day/year).

Size - items whose size is within specified values (in KB or MB).

Info

Filters cannot be used to search for text values in attachments.

When you use text values in filters, you need to follow these rules:

  1. In the case of the Sender and Recipients filters, the program recognizes letters, digits, spaces, asterisks and other special characters as proper text values. The Body, Common fields and Subject filters recognize only letters, digits, spaces and asterisks.
  2. The text values must contain at least three characters. If you decide to use an asterisk, it will also work only with at least three characters. Exception: 'the' and 'and' cannot be used as text values in filters.
  3. You can type multiple text values (separated by spaces) in one filter. In such a case, the program searches for items that include either of the specified values. For example, if you type separately 'exchange' and 'outlook' in a filter, the program will find all items that contain either the value 'exchange' or 'outlook'.
  4. If you specify multiple filters, the program searches only for items that include all values specified in these filters at the same time. For example, you set the following filters with text values: Body - 'Exchange', Subject - 'Server', Sender - 'administrator@company.com'. As a result, the program will find only items that include all of these values: 'Exchange' in the item's body, 'Server' in the subject and 'administrator@company.com' in the From field.
  5. A filter finds only the exact text value that you provide. For example, if you type 'math', the program will not find other phrases that contain this value, such as 'mathematics' or 'maths'. To find other phrases, use asterisks - see the next point.
  6. You can use an asterisk (*) in front of and/or after a text value to find derivatives of the provided value. For example, if you type *math* in the selected criteria, then the program will find values such as 'aftermath' or 'mathematics'.
  7. Entered values are case-insensitive - typing them in upper case (capital letters) or lower case (small letters) does not make any difference in the search results.
  8. You cannot use regular expressions in filters.

You can customize filters via dedicated buttons (Fig. 6.): you can apply filters (the Search button), clear them (and erase search results) or add new filters from the drop-down list. To remove a filter, use the X button on the right side of this filter. Once you perform a search operation, a list of items that meet your requirements will be displayed in the pane below.

Backup - filtering options
Fig. 6. Filtering options.

An item can be kept in a storage in different versions, representing everything that has happened to this item in its source mailbox: during a lifecycle, an item can be created, modified and/or deleted. The backup viewer lets you switch between these versions and preview them.

Choose an item version from the drop-down list on the right side (Fig. 7.) and a preview of this item will be displayed below. If the item includes any attachments, you can open them from the preview pane.

Backup - versions
Fig. 7. Choosing an item version.

Creating restore jobs

The program is equipped with a restore job wizard to help you create a new restore job. To launch the wizard, you need to go to the Backups tab, select an object you want to restore, and choose one of the Restore options (Fig. 8.) from the menu bar:

  • mailbox - restore one mailbox, with all its folders and items,
  • folder - restore one folder, including all sub-folders and items,
  • items - restore one or multiple items from a specific point in time.

Info

The program currently allows you to pick only one mailbox or folder, but you can choose multiple items - use standard keyboard shortcuts for custom selections.

Backup - restore ribbon
Fig. 8. The available restore options.

Note that availability of these options depends on the type of selected object. For example, if you choose a mailbox from the list, only the Restore mailbox button will be active (Fig. 9.). If you choose an item or items, all of the restore options will be available on the menu bar, as shown in Fig. 8. 

Backup - restore mailbox
Fig. 9. The restore options available when a mailbox is selected.

Important

When restoring a mailbox or folder, you are able to restore the last version of a particular item. However, if you have deleted your item, its last version shows up as deleted. Consequently, the job is not going to restore it at all. If you need to restore last existing version, simply select desired item(s) and use the Restore items button, so you will be able to configure the Restore options page properly.

Another way to choose objects to be restored is to select a mailbox, folder or item(s), right-click on the selection, and choose a restore option from the shortcut menu (Fig. 10.). The available restore options depend on the object type.

Backup - restore context menu
Fig. 10. Using the shortcut menu to restore an object.

Info

Note that the storage content displayed in the backup viewer does not refresh automatically with each completed job cycle. If any current mailboxes, folders or items seem to be missing from the list, use the Refresh button on the menu bar (see Fig. 10.) to reload the most recent object from a storage to the viewer.

Once you select an object (or objects) and choose a restore option, the restore job wizard will open (Fig. 11.). Let us assume that you decided to restore multiple items. The wizard will guide through five steps in which you:

Backup - restore items job
Fig. 11. The restore job wizard.

The first step (Job name) of the wizard lets you enter the restore job's name (Fig. 11.). By default, the job name field is filled automatically according to the following pattern: Restore items from folder [source mailbox email address]\[folder type]. You can change the name, if necessary - it may be useful e.g. if you will be creating a restore job for the same folder in the future.

In the Source data step you will find details about the data you selected for the restore job (Fig. 12.). This is for verification purposes only - you cannot edit any part of the displayed information.

Backup - source data
Fig. 12. The Source data step.

In the next step (Target location) you need to choose a target server connection (Fig. 13.) and a target location where your objects will be restored.

Backup - restore location
Fig. 13. Choosing a server connection.

Info

You can choose any available server connection, e.g. the one that you used to back up the data you are now restoring. You can also create a new server connection via the Manage button (see Fig. 13.) - read this article for guidelines.

When you define a target location where your data will be restored, you can select the original location, another folder (which may reside in another mailbox), or another mailbox. The last option is available only when you restore mailboxes - that is why it is not visible in Fig. 13.

In the Restore options step (Fig. 14.) you can decide what to do when items to be restored already exist in the target location (learn more about naming conflicts). You can choose between:

  • creating new duplicated items,
  • not restoring the items that are already present in the target location,
  • overwriting existing items.
Backup Exchange restore options
Fig. 14. Restore options.

This step also features an option to choose which item versions will be restored, depending on their modification dates (Fig. 14.). You can decide to restore either the latest versions found in a storage or versions from a specific time point. Learn more about data restoring in this article.

Important

The program can store items in the following versions: created, modified and deleted (learn more). By design, the program will not restore an item if its most recent version in a storage has a deleted status. Luckily, the restore job wizard has an option that lets you restore the latest existing version of an item (Fig. 14.).

Note that if you select only one item to be restored, you will be able to pick its version from the drop-down list (Fig. 15.), in exactly the same way as in the backup viewer (learn more). The program will restore only the selected version.

Backup - restore individual
Fig. 15. Choosing a version for a single item.

If you are restoring multiple items, you need to specify a date and time in the calendar window provided (Fig. 16.). In such a case, the program will restore all item's versions from the selected date and time onwards (including this date).

Backup - restore multi items
Fig. 16. Choosing a version time point for multiple files.

The Job summary step of the restore job wizard lets you verify your settings (Fig. 17.). If everything is correct, click Finish.

Backup - restore summary
Fig. 17. The restore job summary.

A notification window will appear (Fig. 18.). It will allow you to start your job immediately.

Backup - Restore job start notification.
Fig. 18. Starting a new restore job via from the notification window.

You can also close this window and initiate the job manually on the Jobs tab: select your job from the list and click the Start button on the menu bar or right-click the selection and use the shortcut menu (Fig. 19.).

Backup - start restore job
Fig. 19. Starting a new restore job on the Jobs tab.

Managing existing jobs

The Administration Panel of the program gives you full control over the existing jobs. You can start, stop, edit or delete a restore job at any point, via dedicated buttons on the menu bar of the Jobs tab (see Fig. 19.). Read the Managing existing jobs article to learn more.

Monitoring existing jobs

The status of all jobs defined in the program can be monitored within the Administration Panel. There are several places in the program where you are able to e.g. review issues encountered while processing data or check the purpose of a particular job. For more information, go to Monitoring existing jobs.

See also

Restoring data - a general information about data restoring in CodeTwo Backup.

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