What is a task? Which tasks are supported?
A task is a process that runs in the background and carries out your instructions to copy content from one or more sources to one or more destinations. Currently, the “backup” and “synchronize” tasks are supported. Support for more types of tasks will be added on an ongoing basis (e.g. to move or delete content automatically based on rules you specify).
How are Blob's tasks different from other backup or synchronize products?
Blob’s tasks let you:
- Backup important content within seconds: you can select important files and folders to get backed up within seconds of being created or modified, while other content gets backed up at a more leisurely schedule. The performance impact of doing this is minimal, since Blob lets you specify which files/folders should get backed up this way – backing up the entire disk “instantly” could make your computer unusable.
This capability is also useful for computers that are powered on and used infrequently. “Static” tasks that run at a specific time might not run if the computer is not powered on at their scheduled time, and bog down your computer when you power it on to use it. Blob’s “instant” backup tasks will copy the files as they are changed, while the computer is already up and being actively used.
- Copy from anywhere to anywhere: Blob’s tasks are not restricted to hard drives, USB drives, CDs, DVDs or network drives. They let you specify remote cloud storage accounts and even emails accounts as the source or destination for a task.
- Backup all content types, not just files: emails, social media posts, contacts and appointments are important too, so Blob lets you back them up as well.
- Automatically backup your phones, cameras, tablets and music players: you can set up a task to automatically back up portable devices when you plug them into the computer. The backup destination can be anything – local drives or cloud storage accounts.
- Backup content in its original or standard format: Blob saves content in its original format or in a standard format that Windows and 3rd party apps can also read (see “Are backups done in proprietary file formats? Will I need Blob to view or restore backed up content?”).
- Select content from multiple sources: a single backup task can select source content to backup from multiple sources. You can even create and back up a Virtual Folder that includes content from multiple sources (e. g. a “Financial Info” Virtual Folder that includes emails, contacts as well as files related to your financial info).
- Create intuitive rules to select what to back up: you can create one or more rules to select what content to back up. These rules can be just as sophisticated as search rules (See “Search Frequently Asked Questions”).
- Compress and encrypt backups: you can encrypt and compress your content to a ZIP file that can be viewed and opened by Windows or any tool that deals with ZIP files (e.g. 7-zip, WinZip…).
How do I create a task?
Click on the “Create Task” button at the top of the Blob main screen.
You will see a screen that lists existing tasks (if any) with a row of buttons at the bottom. Click on the “New” button to create a new task.
You can now set up the task, including the rules that specify what content the task should operate on and when it should run.
Can I set up a backup or synchronize task from any source to any destination?
Yes, though only “compatible” backups can be set up. For example, you can set up a backup task to copy emails from an email account to another email or file store, but you cannot set up a backup task to copy files directly to an email account (since files can only be attachments inside emails at your email accounts). This is true for “synchronize” tasks too – you can synchronize only between compatible Data Sources.
How can I back up files or folders as soon as they are created or modified?
When you create a new task (see “How do I create a task?”), one of the things you have to select is when the task should run. Set the task to run “Immediately after content is added or modified at source”. This task will be run as soon as Blob becomes aware of a change in the source of the backup task. You can also modify an existing task to run this way.
In order to make sure that Blob becomes aware of changes to the source of the backup task right away, please make sure it is set to be re-indexed at an appropriate frequency (see “How often are my Data Sources indexed?”). If you are backing up files from your local hard drives, please make sure they are set to be monitored “Constantly”. With this setting, Blob will get a notification from Windows within seconds of a file being created or modified, and Blob can check if the affected file needs to be backed up right away.
What happens to my backups if I uninstall Blob?
Any files, emails, appointments, contacts etc. that were moved or copied using Blob remain where they are when you uninstall or reinstall Blob. The backups remain useful, since Blob saves your content in its original format, or a standard format that can be handled by Windows or 3rd part tools.
Are backups done in proprietary file formats? Will I need Blob to view or restore backed up content?
All content is copied in its original file format or in a standard format recognized by a wide variety of programs. You do NOT need Blob to view or restore backed up content. Your backups will remain useful even if you uninstall Blob.
- Files are saved in their original file formats, unless you ask Blob to compress the backup copy. Blob will compress files into “.zip” files that can be opened by any program that recognizes compressed files (e.g. WinZip, 7-zip and even newer versions of Windows itself). If you ask Blob to compress and encrypt the backup copy, Blob will create encrypted zip files. Please note that you will not be able to open such files if you forget the password you provided Blob – Blob will NOT save this password anywhere!
- Emails are saved as text files with the “.eml” file extension. This format is defined by an industry organization that defines internet standards (Internet Engineering Task Force RFC 822). This is the standard way to save emails and this type of file can be opened by most applications that deal with email – e.g. Microsoft Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and email applications on the Mac/iOS and Android based systems . You can even open it with any text editor (like Notepad). If the saved email has attachments, they are saved within the “.eml” file too.
- Contacts are saved as vCards, which are text files with the “.vcf” file extension. This is the standard way to save contacts and this type of file can be opened by most applications that deal with contacts – e.g. Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook as well as contacts related applications on Mac/iOS and Android based systems. You can open “.vcf” files with any text editor (like Notepad) to read its contents.
- Appointments are saved as iCalendar files, which are text files with the “.ics” file extension. This format is defined by an industry organization that defines internet standards (Internet Engineering Task Force RFC 5545). This is the standard way to save appointments and this type of file can be opened by most applications that deal with appointments and emails – e.g. Microsoft Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and calendar/email applications on the Mac/iOS and Android based systems. You can even open it with any text editor.
- Social media posts are saved as HTML files wit the “.htm” file extension. This is basically the snapshot of the page on your social media account that displays the post (and comments). An “.htm” file can be opened by any browser on Windows, Mac/iOS and Android based system. You can open them with any text editor too.
Can I use Blob to clone my disk?
No. Blob is a file based backup tool, not a disk cloning or disk imaging tool.
Can I use Blob to back up Windows system files, program installation files or the Windows registry?
You can only back up content that Blob indexes. By default, Blob will NOT index Windows system files or program installation files, since Blob’s focus is the personal content files you create and work with. However, you can tell Blob to index them too (see “How can I control the indexing process?”). Once Blob indexes them, you can create a task to back them up as well. Please note that there are typically hundreds of thousands of Windows and program installation files and Windows changes some files very frequently as part of normal operation (some files can change multiple times per second). Indexing and backing up such files every time they change can have a noticeable performance impact on your system.
In any case, Blob cannot index the Windows registry and cannot back it up.