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  • What happens if you delete accidentally some (all) files of your directory ?
  • What happens if you want to recover a file that you deleted/changed 2 weeks ago or more ?
  • What happens if your workstation stop working ?
  • What happens if the File Server stop working ?
  • What happens if a disk stop working ?
  • What you have to do in order to backup your data?

In order to answer to these questions, we prepared some systems (hardware and software) that save/backup/move our data in an automatic fashion. This way the human intervention (and so the possibility of error) is reduced at the minimum.

Remember that when we say home directory, we talk about your homedirs stored on the file server, we don't do backup of workstations or laptops.
For some suggestion on how to backup your laptop see here.
If a workstation stop working is not a problem, we can repair/substitute the workstation without loss of important data. In case of Personal Laptops we don't offer any kind of safeguard, regarding data stored on the laptop's disk.


The most important thing that humans and computer share is just one: the data recorded in memory. No matter what kind of computer, interface, network connection or whatever else mechanical/logical device users can/must use: if they can't access their data (stored inside the computer), problem arise. For a user isn't important where or how the data are saved, the only important thing is that hi/her needs access to these data, even in case of his/hers fault or in case of technical problems (yes, earthquake and flood are just technical problems).


To offer the maximum support to users, our Network has different method to backup the data. Each method has pros and cons, and not all the method are accessible directly to the users. In some cases the user must ask to the System Administrators to recover his/hers data from the backup devices. This is necessary to maintain a good level of compromise between access to data and security. The backups are complete collections of all the data that all users collect and thus we have to consider the access to these repositories carefully.
We have 2 different level of backup that offer access to deleted/changed files with different solutions.

.snapshot directory

Every user can find inside his/hers homedir on the central filer an hidden directory named .snapshot. Inside this directory exists others directories that have name

  • hourly.[0-23]
  • nightly.[0-6]
  • weekly.[0-3]

As the name suggest, these directory contain the file changed during the lasts 24 hours, 7 days and 4 weeks.
If the wanted file was deleted/changed during this period of time, the user have to search inside these directories, in order to find it. If the searched file is found, the users can copy it where it want and the restore is done, the files inside .snapshot subdirs are accessible only in read mode and cannot be changed/modified/deleted/renamed.

Hard Disk in a central backup sever

Every day at 00.30 a backup process copies all the files present in the users directories to another server, accessible only to System Administrators. Stored in this server we maintain the last 30 days of all the homedirs, so in case of failure of the central file server we can restart with only 1 day of lost. Not vital files aren't backed up. here you can find the list of files excluded.
To retrieve a file from this server the user must ask it to System Administrators, and please don't forget the details about the file.


Each Laptop managed by the lab is configured to backup all the files on one of our backup server. this function works only when the laptop is connected to the EPFL network using a network cable, please connect your laptop at least once per week to the network using the cable.

Please refer to this page for more information about backup of laptops

backup.txt · Last modified: 2015/07/24 09:55 (external edit)