Backing Up with Konserve

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Today I'll be taking a look at a small backup utility called Konserve. This will be the first in a recurring series where I feature simple backup apps designed for individual use. They will be measured using similar criteria to make it easier to compare between them.

Konserve is a simple backup applet that resides in the system tray. It can be launched from the Utilities menu.

Appearance and Useability

Konserve's interface is very user friendly. It doesn't take many clicks to get started and is hard to get lost in. A wizard helps you define each backup. The wizard contains only a single option per screen and the instructions are well documented.

One minor complaint is that the system tray icon needs to be improved. It has a built-in white background which looks strange when the system tray is any other color.

Features

Backup Locations

  • Local Drives - Yes
  • Remote Drives - smb, ftp

Backup Types

  • Full Backups - Yes
  • Incremental Backups - No
  • Drive Images - No

Backup Management

  • Individual Files - Yes
  • Folders - Yes
  • Flexibility - Once you select a directory to backup, Konserve does not give you the option to exempt specific files or subfolders.

Restoring a Backup

  • Complete - Yes
  • Partial / Selected - No
  • Earlier Version - No

Scheduling

  • Automatic Backups - Supported, but I could not get them to work.

Extras
A cool feature is creating a new backup by dragging and dropping a file or folder from your file manager to the Konserve icon in the systray. This will open up the wizard window with the source URL already filled in.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating a Backup

Step 1: Choose a name for your backup

Step 2: Select the source location for the backup

Step 3: Select the location the backup will be saved in

Step 4: Choose how often the backup will be run

Step 5: Reviews the settings that you have chosen

Behavior

Once you create a new backup and set it as active, you don't need to do anything else. The first backup will kickoff right then. The backup is saved as a .tar.gz file that begins with the folder name being backed up, followed by a dash, and a datetime stamp.

A new backup is triggered only if any files have been changed since the previous backup.

An annoying behavior of Konserve is that it immediately starts all active backups upon login if you have it running in your system tray. This bothers me because backup programs should be unobtrusive and not force you to wait even longer to do work.

Restoring a Backup

To restore a backup, click (left or right) the Konserve icon in the systray and select Preferences. Pick the appropriate profile from the left hand side of the window and choose Restore.

Konserve will not overwrite an existing directory during a Restore. You will have to delete or rename it first.

Because Konserve doesn't support incremental backups, you can't restore a previous version. It also doesn't allow you to only pick certain files to restore, however, the backup is saved as a tar.gz file so you can use your favorite archive manager instead.

Conclusion

Konserve does well with the initial backups, but I was never able to get it to automatically update on the designated schedule. That combined with its lack of incremental backups really limits its usefulness.

Konserve is worth using if all you want to do is manually trigger a list of complete backups to start, but for anything beyond that I suggest looking elsewhere.