Scheduling backup jobs

Backup jobs don't need to be completed in one go. They can be automatically paused and resumed at your convenience. For example, you may want to run a 10-hour backup job in 2-hour batches, backup your data only when the workload on your systems is the lowest (e.g. at nights or on weekends), or schedule the program to run backup jobs once a week or month. The time when the job is supposed to run is referred to as an activity period. The configuration options in the Activity periods step of the Exchange or SharePoint backup job wizard let you define when the backup job should start and end, and how much time should pass between activity periods. This functionality can be used with both one-time and continuous backup jobs.


When activity periods feature is enabled, you don't need to be present to start and stop the job. However, the machine that performs the job (physical or virtual) must be turned on when the job is expected to be active. 

Use the links below to find out more:

Overview of the activity periods functionality

To start configuring the Activity periods, select the Enable activity periods checkbox (Fig. 1.).

Next, in the Activity pattern section, choose the recurrence pattern for your job, that is the frequency with which you want the job to start and stop automatically:

  • Custom
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly

By selecting the Custom option, you can choose any dates and times when you want the job to be active. Click the Add button, and enter the dates and times in the Job date range editor (Fig. 1.). You can add several different ranges.

Backup Activity periods Custom
Fig. 1. Adding custom activity periods.

If you want the job to be active every few days, or on specific days of the week or month, select one of the three remaining options that best meets your needs: Daily (Fig. 2.), Weekly or Monthly. Note that each of these patterns has slightly different customization options. In all cases, however, the All day checkbox is selected by default. Clear it if you want the job to run only during specific hours, e.g. between 22:00 (10:00 PM) and 6:00 (6:00 AM).

Backup Activity periods Daily
Fig. 2. Customizing the Daily activity pattern for a backup job.

In the Range of activity section, you can specify the beginning time when you want the program to automatically start backing up your data, and for how long the activity periods should be active (Fig. 3.). By default, the No end date checkbox is selected, so that the backup job will run indefinitely (this applies mainly to the continuous backup jobs).

Backup Activity periods Start date
Fig. 3. Configuring the start date for a backup job.

Other points to consider:

  • You can configure only one activity pattern for one backup job.
  • You can disable the activity periods of your backup job anytime: go to the Jobs tab to stop the job and then edit it. In the Activity periods step, clear the Enable activity periods checkbox.
  • If no activity periods are defined for a one-time job, the job once started will back up the selected data in one cycle and finish when the backup process is completed.

Configuring the activity periods for a one-time backup job

Scenario goals

This scenario assumes backing up an entire SharePoint Online site collection by using a one-time backup job. The machine on which CodeTwo Backup is installed may run only during the operating hours of a company (i.e. between 8:00 and 16:00, from Monday to Friday). The entire backup process will take no longer than 12 hours to complete, but to avoid putting excessive load on the IT infrastructure, the backup job should only run 2 hours a day. Additionally, the backup job should start at a specific date (first Monday of the month).

  1. Once you open a new SharePoint backup job wizard, go to the Job continuity step and select One-time backup.
  2. In the Activity periods step, select the Enable activity periods checkbox.
  3. In the Activity pattern section, select Daily.
  4. In the Job activity period section, clear the All day checkbox and specify a 2-hour interval between the start and end hour (e.g. set the Start time as 8:00 (8:00 AM), and End time as 10:00 (10:00 PM). Additionally, select the every weekday (no weekends) option.
  5. In the Range of activity section, select the Start date to be the first Monday of the next month (e.g. 6 August 2018). Leave the No end date checkbox selected.

Your configuration should look like this (Fig. 4.):

Backup Activity periods Example 1
Fig. 4. Sample configuration of the activity periods for a one-time backup job.

In theory, if the job starts on Monday, 6 August 2018 at 8:00, it should be completed next Monday, next week, 13 August 2018, at 10:00. However, if for some reason it would take more than the assumed 12 hours to complete the backup process, the program will automatically continue the job in the next days, i.e. Tuesdays, Wednesday, and so on, between 8:00 and 10:00, until the entire SharePoint site collection has been backed up.

Note that if you restart this job manually after it has been completed, the backup will be incremental – only new and modified items will be backed up.

Configuring the activity periods for a continuous backup job

Scenario goals

This scenario assumes implementing a comprehensive backup strategy for your mailboxes. The backup job should be continuous and should run on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, all day. Additionally, there should be at least a 20-hour period of inactivity (idle time) between subsequent backup cycles. The first backup cycle should take around 30 hours to complete, but subsequent cycles should last for no more than 5 hours. The backup job should begin as soon as possible.

  1. Open the Exchange backup job wizard, go to the Job continuity step and select Continuous backup.
  2. Set the Idle time between cycles to 20 hours (Fig. 5.).

Backup Activity periods Idle time
Fig. 5. Setting the idle time between backup cycles.

  1. In the Activity periods step, select the Enable activity periods checkbox.
  2. In the Activity pattern section, choose the Weekly option.
  3. In the Job activity period section, leave the All day checkbox selected and select the Monday, Thursday, and Friday checkboxes.
  4. In the Range of activity section, leave all the default values.

Your configuration should look like this (Fig. 6.):

Backup Activity periods Example 2
Fig. 6. Sample configuration of the activity periods for a continuous backup job.

You now need to know how the idle time of 20-hours will affect the execution of the job. Let's take a look at a couple of subsequent cycles of this backup job:

  • First cycle: the backup job starts at 00:00 on Monday and lasts for 30 hours, ending at 06:00 on Thursday (the backup job is active for 24 hours on Monday and for 6 hours on Thursday).
  • Second cycle: the backup job starts at 02:00 on Friday, exactly after 20 hours. This time the job finishes after 5 hours, at 07:00.
  • Third cycle: the backup job starts at 0:00 on Monday, even though more than 20 hours have passed. That is because the backup job can only run on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The job ends at 5:00.
  • Fourth cycle: the backup job starts at 0:00 on Thursday. And so on. 

See also:

Learn more about the scheduler and activity periods

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