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Creating Custom Selections Files

While building your custom branded backup client, you have the option to use a custom selections file instead of the default one we provide. Customizing your "default selections" allows you to have greater control over what your customers will have selected when they install the backup client, or you install it for them.

Here is a blank selections file that can be used as a template for making your custom selections file:

BlankSelection.sel

If you are looking for a general guide to how Selections files work, or more specifics on how to add to a Selections file, you can read our main article on Selections files. 

 

Adding Selections

The formatting for adding folder selections is as follows:

+ PATH [/s]

Where PATH is the full path to the folder that you want to back up, and the /s is an optional flag to recursively select files in sub-folders found at the specified path. A very common selection is the following:

+ C:\Users\ /s

This will back up all the data found in the various user folders, including their Documents, Desktop, and AppData.

 Note: By default, the backup client follows symlinks and junction points, so when recursively scanning for files to back up from the C:\Users\ folder, it will follow the C:\Users\All Users\ junction point to C:\ProgramData\. If you do not wish to follow specific junction points or symlinks, deselections can be added for them. If you do not wish to follow junction points or symlinks at all, there is an option to disable this behavior on the Expert Settings tab.

 

You can also add selections for specific files. In general, it is better to add selections for folders, unless you know for certain that everyone installing your backup client will have the specified file. The formatting is similar to adding a folder, except it should also contain the file name, and does not need the /s. For example:

+ C:\Users\Administrator\Desktop\test file.txt

Finally, you can add network shares to the selections. The formatting is slightly different and follows the following form:

+ \\UNC\COMPUTERNAME\PATH [/s]

These are generally not suited for being in default selections files, but if you are deploying your backup clients to identical but unconnected networks, then a default network selection could work.

 

Adding Deselections

Adding deselections works in exactly the same way as adding selections, except instead of a + at the beginning of the line, you use a -. You can deselect files, folders, and network paths.

 Note: Deselections always take priority over selections! Please keep this in mind when creating your default selections file.

 

In addition to normal deselections, it's possible to add deselections using regular expressions, so that any file or folder that matches a particular expression will be marked for deselection. Here are some examples:

-  <.*\.((TMP)|(TEMP)|(LCK)|(LOCK))$>

This regex deselects any files with the matching file extensions.

- <.*((Thumbs\.db)|(pagefile\.sys)|(hiberfil\.sys)|(ntuser\.dat)|(ntuser\.dat\.log)|(UsrClass\.dat)|(UsrClass\.dat\.log))$>

This regex deselects any files that exactly match the listed file names, including the file extension.

- <.*((\\RECYCLER\\)|(\\Time Machine Backup\\)|(\\Temp\\)|(\\Temporary Internet Files\\)|(\\System Volume Information\\)|(security.config.cch)|(\\MountPointManagerRemoteDatabase\\)).*>

This regex deselects any folders that match the listed names.

- <.*\\~.*>

This regex deselects all files beginning with a tilde (~).

All of these can be customized to incorporate any files, folders, and extensions you wish to always exclude from your backups.

 

Where to place the (De)Selections

When you look at the blank selections template, you will notice there are headers for each day of the week, weekdays, weekends, and "Everyday". When a backup is run on Wednesday, for example, it will use any selections and deselections in the Everyday, Weekday, and Wednesday headers.

You will want to place any selections you want backed up every day under the Everyday header. This is also where you should place your regular expression deselections.

If you want certain files or folders not to back up daily, but instead only on certain days, then you should add them under the header(s) that match the day(s) they should be backed up.

 

General Guidelines

When dealing with your default selection file, most, if not all of it should be added to the Everday header. It should also only include files and folders that will almost always be present on your customer's computers.

The regular expression deselections are an excellent way to make sure your customers aren't backing up different types of files and folders containing non-critical data.

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