Backing up files and folders to Microsoft Azure

Cloud Direct Azure Backup is a service to back up and restore data in the Microsoft cloud.

This article explains how to backup files and folders to Microsoft Azure. To do this requires a Backup Plan, specifying files to backup, together with compression and encryption options.

The steps required are:


You must have the Azure Backup agent installed before beginning this task. If necessary, please refer to knowledge article, KB0011324, Installing the Azure Backup agent.


Creating a Backup Plan for files and folders

The Backup Plan Wizard guides you through the creation of a Backup Plan for files and folders. The wizard takes you through the following steps:

  • Open the wizard and name your Backup Plan
  • Identify files and folders to back up
  • Set backup options
  • Specify a schedule
  • Set pre/post actions and notifications
  • Review and finish

These steps are explained in the following paragraphs.

Open the wizard and name your Backup Plan

  1. From within the Azure Backup agent, Welcome tab, click Setup Backup Plan.

The Create Backup Plan Wizard appears.

  1. Click Next.

The Select Cloud Storage dialogue box appears, listing the available Cloud Storage accounts.

  1.  Click the desired radio button to select the Cloud Storage account you're going to use, then click Next.

The Plan Name dialogue box appears.

  1. In the Plan name textbox, enter a name for your Backup Plan.
  2. Ensure the checkbox, Save Backup Plan configuration to the backup storage, is ticked (unless you do not wish to save this Backup Plan).
  3. Click Next.

The Backup Source dialogue box appears.

Identify files and folders to back up

The Backup Source and Advanced Filter dialogue boxes are used to specify the files and folders you wish to back up.

  1. In the Backup Source dialogue box, tick appropriate checkboxes to select whether to back up the whole disk, specific folders, or specific files.

  1. Click Next.

The Advanced Filter dialogue box appears, enabling you to specify file types to backup or to skip.

  1. In the Advanced Filter dialogue box, select the file types to backup or skip.
  2. Click Next.

The Compression and Encryption Options dialogue box appears.

Set backup options

Data compression, encryption, and backup purging options may now be set.

  1. In the Compression and Encryption Options dialogue box, set up required compression and encryption options.
    1. Enable compression – Tick to enable compression of backed up data.
    2. Enable encryption – Tick to enable. Recommended; in which case you then need to then select the required encryption algorithm and create a password.
    3. Encrypt filenames – Tick to enable encryption of filenames. By default this would be unticked so that filenames may be read.

Store the encryption password securely, you will have to specify the encryption password during a restore!

  1. Click Next.

The Retention Policy dialogue box appears, listing the purging options for backed up data.

  1. Specify the retention policy for backed up files:
    1. Use defaults – Select to enable the defaults retention policy.

The same default retention policy is used for all Backup Plans on this agent.
It may be viewed and edited if required. Click the options link to open the Retention Policy Options dialogue box, then make changes and click Save or OK.

  1. Specify custom retention policy for Backup Plan – Create a custom retention policy for this Backup Plan. Select the radio button, then complete the options as required.

Changing the retention policy may have cost implications, particularly if a large amount of data is stored and the retention period exceeds that associated with your Azure Backup subscription. If in doubt, check with your account manager.

  1. Delete files that have been deleted locally – Tick to automatically delete backed up files that have been deleted locally.
  1. Click Next.

The Schedule dialogue box appears.

Specify a schedule

Identify when you want folders or files to be backed up.

  1. In the Schedule dialogue box, specify the required schedule options for backing up files:
    1. No schedule – No schedule set. Backups must be initiated manually.
    2. Specific date – Specify a single date and time to run a backup.
    3. Recurring – Select Recurring to open the Schedule Recurring Options dialogue box.
      1. Under Frequency, select Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Yearly. Select further on-screen options, as required.
      2. Under Daily frequency, tick Occurs at to select a single time of day for backup to commence, or tick Occurs every to create a periodic schedule over 24 hours.
      3. Click OK.

The recurring schedule may be changed later, from the Schedule dialogue box, by clicking edit schedule.

  1. Real-time Backup – Select to automatically monitor selected folders for new and updated files, and copy them to cloud storage.
  2. Stop the plan if it runs for: - Available only if No schedule, Specific date, or Recurring, have previously been selected. This feature will stop the Backup Plan if it runs for longer than the specified period.
  3. Run missed schedule backup immediately when computer starts up – Available only if Specific date, or Recurring, have previously been selected. If a Backup Plan cannot run because the computer is not available, then the scheduled backup will start as soon as the computer becomes available.
  1. Click Next.

The Pre/Post Actions dialogue box appears.

Set pre/post actions and notifications

Set any pre or post actions, and also notifications.

  1. In the Pre/Post Actions dialogue box, specify commands you want to be executed before and/or after the backup is run.
  1. Execute this command before backup runs – Enter a command to be run prior to backup. If the command fails, specify whether to continue the backup or not.
  2. Execute this command after backup completes - Enter a command to be run following the backup. If the backup fails, specify whether to run the command or not.
  1. Click Next.

The Notification dialogue box appears.

  1. Specify the required notification options:
  1. I want to receive notification email when backup completes – Tick, then select When backup fails, or In all cases.
  2. Generate detailed report – Tick to generate a detailed report associated with the email notification.
  3. Add entry to Windows Event Log when plan completes – Tick, then select When backup fails, or In all cases.
  1. Click Next.

The Summary dialogue box appears.

Review and finish

Review your Backup Plan details, then save it and exit the Create Backup Plan Wizard.

  1. Review your Backup Plan details in the Summary dialogue box, then click Next to create the plan.

A dialogue box appears, indicating Backup Plan is successfully created.

  1. If you want to start a backup as soon as you have exited the Create Backup Plan Wizard, then tick the Run backup now checkbox.
  2. Click Finish to exit the Create Backup Plan Wizard.

The Create Backup Plan Wizard closes. Your new Backup Plan is now listed in the Cloud Direct Azure Backup agent.


Running your Backup Plan

If you chose a regular schedule when setting up your Backup Plan, then your backup will initiate on the specified dates and times. However, you can initiate a backup manually at any time as follows.

  1. From within the Azure Backup agent, click the Backup Plans tab.

  1. Locate the required Backup Plan in the list, and click Run.

The backup begins. The background colour of the listed Backup Plan entry changes from grey to green. The Run hyperlink is replaced with a Stop hyperlink. Click Stop at any time to abort the backup process.

When the backup is complete, the background colour returns to grey.

To view a Backup Plan status, or change/delete the plan, then click the chevron next to the plan name.

View status details, or click on the required link to edit or delete the Backup Plan.