backup just the necessary?

I'd like to regularly backup my Zotero library.
I understand that you suggest to backup the entire Data Directory, but is it really necessary to do so? Couldn't I just backup the zotero.sqlite file?

* What I most care about are library items, notes, links, tags, etc.
* My Storage folder is quite heavy, and I actually don't really mind if I would lose the attachments.
* Since I would regularly backup the zotero.sqlite file, it seems unnecessary to also backup the zotero.sqlite.bak and zotero.sqlite.1.bak files
* the locate, logs, pipes, styles, translators folders seem not to contain info that is related to my own, personal activity on Zotero. It looks like some general stuff that would be generated again by reinstalling Zotero.

So it seems fine to me to just backup the zotero.sqlite file.. am I right?

Thank you in advance for your help!
  • The Zotero.sqlite is what is most important. If you are syncing, if the attachments were lost, Zotero could redownload them from the server. If you aren’t syncing, although you might not care if storage were lost, it might be rather annoying if it were—the attachment items in your database would still be there and trying to open a file from Zotero would give a “file not found” error. The styles folder contains all of the style files you have installed for your own use. If you don’t back those up, you would need to redownload them if you reinstall zotero.
  • Technically, the sqlite file is all you need to restore your database, yes.

    I'd recommend keeping the sqlite.bak files as part of your backup in case there's some sort of corruption of your database, potentially something you don't notice quickly or in case of human error.

    The recommendation to back-up the entire folder is based on
    a) keeping things simple, which increases reliability and reduces the chance of error (one thing you're backing up against is human error, after all) and
    b) the low cost of storage. a 2TB external HD is barely over $50. It seems odd so skimp on back-up for even 100GB of files -- that's $2.50...

  • Right, this is the relevant point from the backup documentation:
    Rather than backing up just your Zotero database, we recommend using a backup utility that automatically backs up your entire hard drive to an external device on a regular basis. Most modern operating systems offer such functionality (e.g., Time Machine on Macs).
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