Backup for dummies

I am trying to find out how to do a Backup of my Zotero library (all folders – everything) but after reading through most of the forum discussions I am still confused. Is it really necessary to sort of leave Zotero to do a backup. I have looked up a folder containing:
And folders:

Is this one of the files that I am supposed to backup?
I am thinking that it should be possible to just “right-click” on something and export. I have done that with single folders, but that doesn’t seem to work on the whole library. Am I correct or is there a SIMPLE way to export the entire library with folders, without have to deep dive in to the “innerstructure” of my computer.
  • Did you read ?

    You're in the right folder. The easiest way to back up your Zotero data (apart from backing up your entire hard drive) is to make a copy of this entire folder, with all its content.
  • The easiest way to backup everything is purchase some storage space from Zotero and let the software backup itself to Zotero servers.

    You need to backup Zotero.sqlite, Zotero.sqlite-journal, and storage, but it may be easier to backup just the entire storage folder. If you have automated backups of your computer, Zotero data should be included if you are backing up your settings.

    Exporting data is not a good way to backup, because it will break links between Zotero data and your documents where you cite items from Zotero.
  • What Rintze and mronkko say, with two caveats:
    1. Zotero storage is great, but _not_ a substitute for a backup. If you accidentally delete something and then sync it's gone - that's not acceptable for a back-up.

    2. I always tell people "if you're wondering how to back-up Zotero, you're doing back-up wrong": Everyone doing serious work with a computer should have an automatic, periodic (daily, if not hourly) back-up of the entire harddisk to an external harddisk. The required technology for that is now built into all major operating systems, a 500GB external HD costs under $50. Set this up today and, as both Rintze and mronkko say, it will also back-up Zotero.
  • edited October 25, 2012
    Thanks! I need to learn more about backup, thats for sure:o) I work in a school with about a 1000 computers, so there is hopefully some sort of backup involved. I backup my Dropbox every week so I havent had any reason to worry until I started fuzzing about loosing my beloved Zotero-library. First of all I have to find out if my workplace has automatic backup and if they dont I will try to back up the entire Zotero folder. Thanks again:o)
  • edited October 25, 2012
    I urge you in the strongest terms _not_ to depend upon any backup system on your school network. If you are using a Mac or Windows machine there are very simple back up systems that are build in the OS. I use a Mac and the built-in "Time Machine". It works in the background (you don't need to do anything once you have plugged in the new hard drive and turned on the software). I have a Windows machine but only use it to test how our websites appear under that OS. Although I don't use it, from everything I've heard and read the built-in back-up system is similar to mine and works quite well.

    This is not only for crashes. If you have been working on a document and do something dumb but only realize it after you have saved the flawed document on top of your last good copy; you can close the document and replace the flawed one with one from 10 or 20 or 30 minutes ago. Back-up external drives can plug into your machine by USB. An external back-up drive is insurance. $50 to $100 may seem like a lot but if it saves you the trauma of spending hours of work you will be glad you spent the money. You might never again have to say, "Oh, No!" to yourself. At most I need to redo 10 minutes of work.

    Your manager may be able to buy an external drive for you out of the office supplies budget.

    You can depend on DropBox for your attached files (PDFs, etc) but _do not_ depend upon DropBox for your Zotero data. Use the free Zotero storage to regularly sync.
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