Areca comes with a graphical user interface and a command-line interface.
It offers many features such as incremental backups, encryption and email reports.
Table of Contents
What is Areca ?[top]
Areca is a file backup software which can be run on Windows or Linux. It creates backup copies (which can be encrypted and compressed) of your files and stores them on external drives, pendrives, FTP servers, ...
Areca is also able to trigger additional actions, like storing a backup report on your hard drive, sending it by email, launching shell scripts before or after your backup.
Areca supports incremental, differential and full backups.
What is NOT Areca ?Areca is not a disk-ghosting application (such as Norton Ghost or Symantec Ghost) : it won't be able to create an image of your disk partitions (mainly because some files will be locked by your system).
Why use Areca ?Areca is easy to use : once you have defined your backup's parameters, they can be launched by a simple click.
Areca also provides all tools needed to handle your archives :
GUIThis is the main interface of Areca. It is launched by the "areca.exe" (Windows) or "areca.sh" (Linux) executable.
It provides all the facilities needed to define which sets of files / directories will be stored (These sets are named "Targets" in Areca's terminology), where and how they will be stored.
It can also be used to explore your archives, search and recover files, explore a specific file's history ...
[Go to "Using the GUI"]
Command-Line interfaceThis interface can be used to launch the backups that have been defined in the graphical user interface ("Targets"). It can be easily integrated into a scheduling software, like Windows' task scheduler or Crontab (on Linux).
It can also be used to recover your archives after a disk crash.
[Go to "Using the Command-Line Interface"]
How to install Areca ?[top]
Pre requisitesAreca is written in Java, which means that you need to have a suitable Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed on your computer : Areca requires a JVM v1.4 or higher.
Most operating systems come with a pre-installed Java Virtual Machine. If you don't know whether you have such a thing, simply open a Command-Prompt and type "java -version" or "java --version" : you should have something like :
java version "1.6.0_03" Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_03-b05)
If it is not the case, go to Sun Microsystems' web site (http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp) and download the latest JVM available for your operating system.
There are no other prerequisites.
WindowsAreca has been tested for Windows 2000, XP and Vista.
To install Areca on Windows, download the latest release on Areca's website (http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=171505) and run the setup. This will create a new program group named "Areca".
To launch Areca :
LinuxTo install Areca on Linux, download the latest release on Areca's website (http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=171505) and unzip its content on your disk.
To make Areca executable, run the following commands :
chmod a+x areca.sh check_version.sh chmod a+x -v bin/*
To launch Areca :
Other systemsAlthought Areca has not been packaged for other operating systems, there is no reason why it could not be run on them (MaxOS for instance). The only prerequisite is to provided the necessary SWT libraries (http://www.eclipse.org/swt/)
64 bit systemsUnfortunately, I was not able to find pre-compiled SWT libraries for 64 bit OSes (Windows / Linux). That's why there is no Areca "64 bit" package. Instructions on how to build SWT libraries for these OSes can be found on the SWT FAQ (http://www.eclipse.org/swt/faq.php)
Memory settingsAreca allocates up to 128 Mbytes. If you want to allocate more memory (if you are running targets that handle a big number of files), you may want to increase this amount.
On Linux, this value can be modified by editing the startup scripts (/bin/run_gui.sh and /bin/run_tui.sh) and setting the "Xms" (memory allocated on startup) and "Xmx" (upper memory limit) parameters.
On Windows, it depends on the version of Areca you are using :
Before Areca 7.2.6, two arguments can be passed to areca.exe and areca_cl.exe :
From Areca 7.2.6, the "Xms" (memory allocated on startup) and "Xmx" (upper memory limit) parameters can be set by modifying the areca.l4j.ini and areca_cl.l4j.ini files that are located in Areca's directory.
Tuning Areca's technical configurationAreca's technical configuration is stored in the "fwk.properties" file (located in the "/config" directory). BE VERY CAREFUL when editing this file, and be sure you have a good understanding of what you are doing.
Checking new versionsYou can configure Areca (see the "Preferences" window) to check whether there is a new version available on startup. You can also check it manually by running the "Check new version" item in the "Help" menu.
You can also run the "check_version.exe" executable (check_version.sh on Linux)
Storage modesAreca can handle multiple storage modes :
Backup typesAreca can handle the following types of backups :
Areca uses the file's size and last modification time to detect modified files. If one of these attributes is modified (whatever its value is), the file is flagged as modified. This allows a fast detection of modified files.
TargetA backup task is called "Target" in Areca's terminology. It defines which files will be stored (sources), where they will be stored (destination) how they will be stored (whether they will be compressed, encrypted, ...)
For instance, you may configure a target to backup the "C:\MyDocuments\Accounting" and "C:\MyDocuments\Account\Photos" source directories on "E:\backups" (assuming that "E:\" is an external hard drive), using Zip compression.
Target GroupsTargets can be organized in "Target groups", for instance "Personal documents", "MP3", "Emails", ... (it is possible to launch a backup on a whole group)
SourcesSources define which files or directory will be stored in your archives. Multiple sources can be set.
DestinationDestination define WHERE your archives will be stored :
CompressionIf archive compression is chosen, a zip file is built at each backup instead of a standard directory. Two archive formats are available :
You can either :
You can also mention a comment which will be included in your zip files, set the charset which will be used to store your file names within the archive or set a "split size", which will produce split archives.
EncryptionArchive encryption means that the archive written on your backup location will be encrypted : instead of creating standard zip files or directories, Areca will create AES128 or AES256 encrypted files, so that the only way to read these archives will be to use Areca with the correct decryption key.
As this encryption key is stored in the backup target, you will never be prompted for it again : Areca will transparently use it to encrypt / decrypt these archives
This feature is useful when your backups are stored on a shared disk, or at a location to which other peoples may access (a remote server or a shared hosting server, for instance), or that can be easily lost or stolen (USB keys, for instance). In these cases, encrypted archives will guarantee that other persons won't be able to read your archives if they get access to the storage location.
You can check that Areca has encrypted your archives by simply trying to open an archive with Window's explorer (or WinZip if they are compressed) : you will get an error.
The encryption key is either
Files managementYou can also tune the target's file management policy (for instance whether file permissions will be stored or not - Linux only)
In case of "Image" targets, the following backup modes are available :
In case of "Non Image" target, the following backup modes are available :
Note that "Incremental backups" have a sense even in the case of an "image" backup : they allow to reduce the number of updated files (useful if you store your data across a network)
File filtersA target also defines whether all files will be stored or if some of them will be filtered. This is achieved by defining a set of "File filters", which can be combined to include or exclude some specific files, based on various criteria (size, name, extension, ...)
They can thus be used to define more precisely the scope of processed files.
The following filters are available :
Filters are modeled as a tree in Areca. Each node of the tree is either :
Each filter can work in two modes :
A "Composite" filter accepts an additional "OPERATOR" parameter :
Some examples :
"Store all files except those who are located in directories "c:\toto" and "c:\titi""
+ Filter Group (EXCLUSION, OR) -> Subfilter : Directory filter (c:\toto, INCLUSION) -> Subfilter : Directory filter (c:\titi, INCLUSION)Another solution :
+ Filter Group (INCLUSION, AND) -> Subfilter : Directory filter (c:\toto, EXCLUSION) -> Subfilter : Directory filter (c:\titi, EXCLUSION)
"Store all files except those who's located in the "c:\tutu" directory and those whose size is above 10 MB or bellow 1 MB"
+ Filter Group (INCLUSION, AND) -> Subfilter : Directory filter (c:\tutu, EXCLUSION) -> Filter Group (EXCLUSION, OR) -> Subfilter : Size filter (> 10 MB, INCLUSION) -> Subfilter : Size filter (< 1 MB, INCLUSION)
To write your filters, always keep in mind the following logical rules :
NOT (A OR B) = (NOT A) AND (NOT B) NOT (A AND B) = (NOT A) OR (NOT B)
Pre/Post processingYou can ask Areca to do the following things before or after backup :
Configuration storage (xml files)The target configuration is stored in a XML file (one file per target group). These files can be edited directly (without using the graphical user interface), but such modifications must be done CAREFULY.
XML configuration files are stored in "workspaces". The default workspace is stored in the "/config" subdirectory of Areca's main directory.
BackupAreca's basic function : Launch the backup process and store the source files and directories accordingly to the target's storage policy and file filters. As a result, an archive is created on the backup location (external hard drive, FTP server, USB key, ...)
Backup simulationLaunch a backup in "simulation" mode : no archives will be created; Areca will simply list the files/directory that should have been stored. Useful to check the target configuration (filters for instance) or estimate the size of the next archive.
RecoveryRecovery will be discussed in detail in the "How to recover" section.
MergeThis command allows to merge contiguous incremental archives (between a date D1 and another date D2) into one single archive (which will be considered to be an archive at date D2). The merge process implies that all the history between D1 and D2 is lost : this includes files modifications (if multiple versions of a file exist between D1 and D2, only the latest is kept) and file deletions (if a file has been modified and removed between D1 and D2, all versions between D1 and D2 are removed from the archives)
"Archive merges" are the answer to the increasing archive size : it allows you to control the history which is kept in your archives.
Additional informations about archive merging can be found on Areca's wiki
DeletionDelete a set of archives
Using the graphical user interface[top]
Launching ArecaLaunch command :
Physical viewThe "physical view" lists the archives that have been created by this target. These archives are sorted by dates (most recent archives on the top). This view is useful to have an overall view over the archives stored on the backup location.
Merges and recoveries can be launched from this screen.
The properties and detailed content of each archive can be browsed (double-click on a specific archive)
Logical viewThe "logical view" gives a consolidated view over all files and directories contained in your archives. It also displays the history of each file (creations, modifications, deletions)
Using the command-line interface[top]
The command-line interface is useful when you want to schedule your backups. The general syntax is as follows :
On linux :
./bin/run_tui.sh <command> <options>On Windows :
areca_cl.exe <command> <options>
DescriptionDisplay a textual description of a target group.
describe -config <your xml config file>Example :
c:\areca\bin\areca_cl describe -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml
BackupLaunch a backup on a target or a group of targets.
backup -config <your xml config file> [-target <specific target>] [-f] [-d] [-c] [-s] [-title <archive title>]If the "f" option is set, Areca will perform a full backup. (instead of an incremental backup)
If the "d" option is set, Areca will perform a differential backup. (instead of an incremental backup)
If the "c" option is set, Areca will check the archive consistency after backup.
If the "s" option is set and backup is performed on a target group, Areca will handle the group's targets sequentially
c:\areca\bin\areca_cl backup -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml c:\areca\bin\areca_cl backup -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -d
MergeMerge a set of archives into a single archive. The merged archives can be either all archives older than a specific date, or all archives that have been produced during a specific time frame.
Possible syntaxes :
merge -config <your xml config file> -target <specific target> [-k] -date <recovery date : YYYY-MM-DD> [-title <archive title>] merge -config <your xml config file> -target <specific target> [-k] -from <nr of days> -to <nr of days> [-title <archive title>]If the "k" option is set, all deleted files will be kept in the merged archive. They will be destroyed otherwise.
c:\areca\bin\areca_cl merge -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -date 2005-07-17 c:\areca\bin\areca_cl merge -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -from 14 -to 7 c:\areca\bin\areca_cl merge -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -k -from 10 -to 5
DeletionDelete a set of archives that are younger than a specific date or delay.
Possible syntaxes :
delete -config <your xml config file> -target <specific target> -date <recovery date : YYYY-MM-DD> delete -config <your xml config file> -target <specific target> -delay <nr of days>Examples :
c:\areca\bin\areca_cl delete -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -date 2005-07-17 c:\areca\bin\areca_cl delete -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -delay 10
RecoveryRecover a set of archives at a specific location.
recover -config <your xml config file> -target <specific target> -destination <destination folder> -date <recovery date : YYYY-MM-DD> [-c]If the "c" option is set, Areca will verify that the recovered files are identical to the original ones.
c:\areca\bin\areca_cl recover -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -destination c:\tmp -date 2005-07-17 -c
CheckCheck that the files contained in an archive are identical to the original ones.
check -config <your xml config file> -target <specific target> [-destination <destination folder>] [-date <checked date : YYYY-MM-DD>] [-a]If the "a" option is set, Areca will check all archives created until the date passed as argument. It will only check the last archive otherwise.
c:\areca\bin\areca_cl check -config c:\areca\config\myconfig.xml -target 1 -date 2005-07-17 -a
Using the wizardsTwo wizards are available in the graphical user interface : A "backup shortcut" wizard, which will simply help you to generate a backup command in the form of a .bat file (or a .sh file on Linux) and a "backup strategy" wizard, that will help you to generate a set of backup commands that implement a defined strategy.
"Backup shortcut" :The wizard will ask you :
Once these informations are set, Areca will generate the backup shortcut at the requested place.
"Backup strategy" :The wizard will ask you :
Once these informations are set, Areca will generate a set of backup shortcuts at the requested place. Once properly scheduled, these shortcuts implement a strategy that allows you to define the "history depth" that Areca will keep at the backup location.
With the following parameters :
How to recover[top]
There are multiple situations in which you will need to recover lost files : accidental directory deletion, accidental file deletion or modification, disk crash, full system crash, ...
Areca provides multiple recovery modes that should cover these needs.
Case 1 - Recovering an entire archiveThis is the standard recovery case : all your files have been lost or corrupted and you want to restore them.
This can be done :
Case 2 - Recovering a single file or subdirectoryYou may want to do this when a subdirectory or a file is accidentally destroyed, corrupted or modified.
This can be done from the "Logical view", in the graphical user interface : Simply select the item (file or directory) that you want to restore, right-click and select "Recover".
For security reasons, Areca will NEVER recover your data at the original location in cases 1 and 2. (they will be systematically recovered in a subdirectory named "recovered_data") It is up to you to move these data at their final destination.
Case 3 - Recovering a specific version of a fileThis may be useful when the file has been accidentally modified and stored : In this case, the last backuped version is not correct and you may want to recover one of the previous versions.
This can be done from the "Logical view", in the graphical user interface. Select the file to recover : Areca will show you the file history on the right of the screen. Select the appropriate version to recover in the list, right-click and select "Recover".
Case 4 - Recovering when Areca's configuration has been lostIn some cases, Areca's configuration may also have been lost. This can occur, for instance if your whole computer has crashed, including Areca's installation directory and target configuration files (The XML files contained in your workspace)
In this case, you will have to :
a- Install Areca Backup again on your computer.
b- Retrieve your targets' configuration (which has probably been lost during your computer crash)
Point a- is rather straightforward (all you have to do is to download Areca's installation file).
Point b- can be a little more tricky : creating a new target from scratch with a similar configuration is not advisable because Areca uses unique numeric identifiers for each target.
The solution is to use the backup copies of your targets' configuration that have been stored by Areca.
These backup copies are created :
In both implicit and explicit cases, it is advisable to open Areca's default workspace (which will be empty if you are running a fresh install) and select the "Workspace" -> "Import ..." menu item to import the backup copy of your targets.
Note that implicit copies can be disabled in the target's configuration ("Advanced" tab of the target configuration screen), but it is STRONGLY advisable to keep this implicit backup enabled. If you disable this, be sure that you will be able to recover your configuration in case of full crash (for instance by making explicit copies)
Case 5 - Worst recovery case : Areca's configuration has been lost and there is no backup copyThis means that :
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to recover your archives in this case.
A first solution is to rebuild your targets from scratch : Areca will generate a new target identifier (something like "523556476") and will create the associated backup directory (something like "storage_523556476"). You can copy-paste your archives in this directory. If you have set the proper configuration (compression, encryption, ...), Areca will be able to read them.
If this first solution doesn't work, Areca provides two external tools (located in the "/tools" subdirectory) : A decryption tool (decrypt.exe on Windows, decrypt.sh on Linux) and a decompression tool (dezip.exe on Windows, dezip.sh on Linux). Both of them are able to decompress archives created by Areca (whether they are encrypted or not, whether they are compressed in Zip32 or Zip64 or not). You can use them as an ultimate solution to extract the archive's content and recover it "by hand".
If your archive is not encrypted, you can also use standard decompression tools such as WinZip to extract your archive's content. (note that your decompression tool will have to be zip64-compliant if you used zip64 compression)
Areca's policy in terms of task scheduling relies on the scheduler provided by your operating system. That's why Areca doesn't include any internal scheduler.
Areca provides instead a command-line interface (see above : "Using The Command-Line Interface") that can be used to build to create backup scripts (*.bat or *.sh scripts) that can be included in your own scheduler.
If you're not familiar with command-line tools, you can use Areca's built-in wizard to generate this command (see "Using The Wizards").
Areca is always looking for additional translators. Its translation home page is located here : http://www.areca-backup.org/arcwk/index.php?title=Translations
If you want to add a new language : Make a copy of the english translation ("translations/resources_en.properties" file) and name it after the language you want to add ("de" for german, "it" for italian, ...)
VERY IMPORTANT : The content of the translations file MUST be encoded using the ISO-8859-1 encoding.
Non-compatible characters (for instance chinese characters) must be unicode-encoded (using a \u escape character).
It is strongly advised to use a translation tool in order to ensure translation files consistency.
For instance :
Once your translation is complete, you can add it in Areca's translation Wiki (http://www.areca-backup.org/arcwk/index.php?title=Translations).
Areca defines a plugin API that allows developers to extend its storage backends. (FTP storage has been implemented using this API).
A specific documentation can be found here : http://www.areca-backup.org/plugins.php.