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BackupPC is a backup program for Windows, OS X, and Unix operating systems that backs up your desktop over the network. All backups are stored remotely on zippy. BackupPC is not intended to be used to fully restore your system (i.e., an image), but instead is for backing up a selection of important (non-system) files.

Getting Started

  • If BackupPC is not already set up on your desktop, send Libby an email to arrange a time to set it up. Set up could be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on what OS you have and if you need Cygwin installed. A restart could be required.
  • Stop by Libby's office so she can have you set up your BackupPC password.
  • While on the UCSB network (either at your computer, over Remote Desktop, or via VPN), go to and enter your BackupPC username and password (that Libby helped you set up) to access the BackupPC browser console.
  • Once you are signed in to the BackupPC browser interface, select your computer from the "Hosts" dropdown menu.
    • To find your computer's name in Windows, enter the command "hostname" into a command prompt. On a Mac, use an iTerm to enter the "hostname" command.

Browse Backups

Click "Browse Backups" (located in the sidebar in the left) to view your available backups.

Edit Config

  • In the Xfer section, you can adjust what gets backed up and when.
  • In the Email section, you can adjust the domain of your email and tweak when you get notifications.
  • In the Schedule section, you can tweak the time of day your backups occur (sticking to the defaults is strongly recommended).

Key Variables

NOTE: For the sake of the integrity of your backups, please consult with Libby before changing any variables not listed here!

Xfer Tab

  • RsyncShareName: This variable can be used to specify the drive(s) you want to back up (e.g., for Windows users, insert /cygdrive/[drive letter] in the field next to the "Add" button and clicking "Add").
    • BackupFilesExclude: Libby will set your backup exclusions based on your OS, but you can fine tune exclusions here to avoid backing up extraneous files (thus shortening the time your desktop takes to backup). A more fine-tuned Windows exclude list can be found here. The default exclusions for BackupPC for Macs are usually sufficient.
    • Do not use BackupFilesOnly.

Email Tab

  • EMailUserDestDomain: The default email domain for BackupPC notifications is If you want to have your notifications sent elsewhere, make sure you let Libby know during setup so she can set your username to the part of your email before the @. The EMailUserDestDomain variable with then need to be set to whatever your email domain is (e.g.,,, etc).


  • You can read more about fine-tuning BackupPC here.


  • Not preserving the proper amount of lines during pull-config on September 10, 2015 deleted backuppc user from /etc/passwd, resulting in the following error when trying to access the web interface:
Error: Wrong user: my userid is 105, instead of (backuppc)
This script needs to run as the user specified in $Conf{BackupPCUser}, which is set to backuppc.
This is an installation problem. If you are using mod_perl then it appears that Apache is not running as user backuppc. 
If you are not using mod_perl, then most like setuid is not working properly on BackupPC_Admin. Check the permissions on
/usr/share/BackupPC/sbin//BackupPC_Admin and look at the documentation."
  • Added backuppc user back into /etc/passwd, copied form a backup of /etc/passwd, issue resolved. Libby 16:48, 10 September 2015 (PDT)