Standalone backup agent for Microsoft Windows servers and workstations (formerly Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE)
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tievolu
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How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

I'm using the Veeam Agent for Windows in File Level backup mode on my home machine, with one or two incremental backups happening each day. It generally works pretty well, apart from the fact that most of my incremental backups are much larger than I expect - i.e. multiple gigabytes, when as far as I'm aware hardly any of the files in the set are changing. I suspect I'm backing up something somewhere that I shouldn't be, but I can't see any way to determine what that "something" is.

Is there any way to see which files are being backed up in each incremental? In a log file somewhere perhaps? I had a good dig around in the logs but I couldn't find anything.
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by Gostev »

No, unfortunately it's not possible to see. Backups are image-level, so Veeam is backing up all disk image blocks that have had their content changed since the previous backup run.
tievolu
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

But Veeam must know which blocks belong to which files, otherwise how would it know which blocks to monitor for updates?
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by Gostev »

Apologies, somehow I missed the fact that OP is using file-level backup mode. In this case we simply look for protected files that have changed since last backup, read the entire file and store it in an incremental backup. This is assuming OP is using a free agent (based on the "home" reference) as for commercial offerings there's an option to leverage a changed block tracking driver as well.
tievolu
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

> This is assuming OP is using a free agent (based on the "home" reference)

Yep, that's correct.

> we simply look for protected files that have changed since last backup,
> read the entire file and store it in an incremental backup.

So it's not really an incremental backup at all? i.e. not just the changed parts of a file backed up, but the entire file if any part of it has changed?

In any case, is there a way to see which files were backed up?
tievolu
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

I've found a way to get fairly close to what I want - I browsed my most recent incremental backup point (from earlier today) in Windows Explorer, and searched for all files modified today, as explained here:

https://www.howtogeek.com/243511/how-to ... -8-and-10/

The set of files produced by this search query is very close to the size of the most recent incremental backup.
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by Gostev »

tievolu wrote: May 26, 2023 2:00 pmSo it's not really an incremental backup at all? i.e. not just the changed parts of a file backed up, but the entire file if any part of it has changed?
"Just changed parts" requires the usage of the changed block tracking driver that I mentioned.
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by BradM2 »

If you're looking for a simple, file level solution for home:

1. Put the files you want to back up on a BTRFS filesystem under Linux (on their own subvolume)
2. Backup the subvolume with BTRBK

Only the changed blocks of the files are backed up, it's fast, the incrementals are small, the main functionality is built into the Linux kernel, you can delete any incremental as there is no chain dependency, and it's free. Keep in mind there is no support with this option.
tievolu
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

I've tried to optimize my fileset, but I'm still seeing large incrementals that I can't explain.

Veeam has generated two incrementals so far today. I just looked at the latest one in Veeam, taken a few minutes ago, opened it in Explorer, and searched for all files modified today. The total size of all these files was 57MB. However, the first incremental .vib file is 2.2GB, and the second is 2.5GB. Does anyone have any idea what might be going on here?

Another interesting thing is that the details for the incremental backups indicate that only a couple of hundred MB were read from the disk, for example:

Image

How can this result in a 2GB .vib file?
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by Dima P. »

tievolu,

Can you clarify you backup job scope i.e. what folder/files are added to the backup job source? Thank you!
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

I'm not going list all of the folders, but basically the job includes user folders for four users (i.e. documents, pictures, music, videos etc.).

The Downloads folders are excluded, as are the user's AppData folders, except for their Chrome profile folders which are included, but with the cache, code cache and other non-important (and constantly changing) folders excluded.
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by Dima P. »

Thanks! Not only the user changed files are backed up during incremental backup but also any files changed by the system. Additionally, entire file version lands the backup and not the changed blocks of every file which likely affects the size of your increment. If you want changed-block tracking where only the changed blocks are being processed you can either:

1. Run a volume level backup / entire computer backup, but keep in mind that it end up with a bigger backup footprint (since entire volume is being protected)
2. Try a paid version of Veeam Agent for Windows with changed-block tracking driver for file level backup, but keep in mind that it works for files lager that 50MBs.

Hope it helps!
tievolu
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

> Not only the user changed files are backed up during incremental backup but also any files changed by the system.

I just ran two incrementals literally back to back and the second one was still around 2GB in size. I'm not sure where to go from here in terms of tracking down which files are changing.

> Run a volume level backup / entire computer backup

There are various reasons why I don't want or need to backup my entire disk.

> Try a paid version of Veeam Agent for Windows

Where can I find more information on that? I couldn't find anything on your site about a paid version of Veeam Agent for Windows.
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by Dima P. »

tievolu,

You can start with the trial license to see if it works for you, it's basically a fully functional paid version for 30 days.
I just ran two incrementals literally back to back and the second one was still around 2GB in size
Mind me asking how you've actually added the desired folders to the job list? By selecting entire user folder plus some exclusions you've mentioned from the tree or you've used the predefined Personal folder option with some folders being selected? Thanks!
tievolu
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by tievolu »

> You can start with the trial license to see if it works for you, it's basically a fully functional paid version for 30 days.

According to the page below a license for the paid version costs nearly £400 a year for a single user(!):

https://www.veeam.com/pricing-calculator?ad=onpage

If that's correct it's not a price I'm willing to pay when there are lots of other apps for home users that only cost around £50 as a one-off fee.

I could also abandon my local backup approach and switch to Crashplan for £10 a month.

> Mind me asking how you've actually added the desired folders to the job list? By selecting entire user folder plus
> some exclusions you've mentioned from the tree or you've used the predefined Personal folder option with some
> folders being selected? Thanks!


I selected the entire user folder then excluded the folders I don't want backed up.

(Incidentally, the file chooser UI here doesn't seem to work properly - when I go back in to edit the job and the file list, nearly everything I selected before is unchecked, despite the fact that it's still being backed up. This makes it a bit confusing when editing the job because I have to either try to remember what was selected before, or start again from scratch every time. I'm sure this used to work properly so something has changed, but I don't know when - the backup had been behaving normally up for months until recently so I had no reason to edit the file list.)
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Re: How to see which files are being backed up (file level backup)

Post by Gostev »

Actually, it's not for a single user. The minimum sale is 5 licenses which protect 5 servers or 15 workstations. Keep in mind Veeam is B2B, we don't do B2C.
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