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Adopt A Computer

When you adopt a computer, you are telling the desktop to assume the computer ID of another other desktop installation. As a result, the desktop takes on the settings, backup file selection and backup archive(s) of the computer that is adopted. Adopt when you've done either of the following and you do not want to start your backup new and from the beginning:

BEFORE YOU ADOPT make sure that you first move or restore your files to the computer.


  1. Install the desktop software
  2. Sign in with your username and password
  3. Move or restore your files to the computer
  4. On the Backup screen, choose Adopt A Computer
  5. Choose the computer to adopt

Additional Notes

The .identity File

The desktop stores your computer's ID in a text file named .identity. The .identity file containing the computer ID is preserved when you uninstall and reinstall the desktop.

If there is no .identity file when you install and you sign in as a user with one or more computers, the Adopt A Computer message displays, giving you the option to adopt the computer ID of one of your other computers.

When You've Upgraded Your Operating System

Generally, when you upgrade your operating system without reformatting your hard drive, the .identity file remains intact. You will not see the Adopt A Computer dialog when you log in. Adoption is not required.

When You've Moved To A New Computer

If you've moved your entire user account with Mac's Migration Assistant or have cloned your system, the old computer's ID may be brought over to the new computer. You are not presented with the Adopt A Computer dialog if the computer ID is transferred.

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Back Up Open Files and Databases


This article describes how backups take place on files that are open at the time of backup, in particular, virtual machines, databases and Outlook .pst files.


FractalBackup's ability to back up open files provides the following benefits:


Behind the Scenes

Open file backup behavior varies on each operating system:

FractalBackup does not have application-specific hooks to safely back up files that are always being written to (like SQL databases, virtual machines, Exchange databases, PST files, etc.). While FractalBackup backs up open files by default, the nature of open files is such that FractalBackup might not have all the data necessary to restore such files reliably.

Dumping Application State

To increase the likelihood that FractalBackup can back up and consistently restore files from these types of applications (e.g., Oracle, MySQL, Exchange, Outlook, etc) you need to use application-specific tools to dump/export a snapshot of the internal state to a file.

Below are some application-specific links and information about dumping an application state to a file for backup.


External Resources For Dumping Application State

Access Database

Adobe Lightroom:



(Backing up outlook is not necessary if your data is stored in an Exchange server)

- a leading virtual machine implementation

SQL Links

SQL Server:



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Download FractalBackup

You can download the FractalBackup software from the FractalBackup website. The ability to download is also available when you are signed into FractalBackup.

Steps: Download From The FractalBackup Website

  1. On the computer on which you wish to install, go to
  2. Click on the icon for your computer's operating system.
  3. After the download completes:
    • Install the software
    • Sign in with your account's email address and password
    • In the desktop and click Start Backup.

Steps: Download From FractalBackup

  1. On the computer on which you wish to install, sign into FractalBackup online.
  2. In FractalBackup, click Devices > Add a new device.
    Add new device
  3. From the Download screen, choose the download icon for your computer's operating system.
  4. After the download completes:
    • Install the software
    • Sign in with your account's email address and password
    • In the desktop and click Start Backup.

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Restore Files From The Desktop

Restoring files from the desktop is the primary way to restore. If you are restoring a large number of files, it is safe to close the desktop while the files restore in the background.


  1. Launch the desktop.
  2. Click Restore.
    • By default, the most recent versions of the selected files are restored to the Desktop folder. Files with the same name as any files being restored are renamed to include the prefix “original1”. Click the underlined text to cycle through the restore options.
    • To restore files that have been deleted, enable the Display deleted files check box.
  3. Select the files you'd like to restore.
  4. Click Restore.
    • Your files begin downloading as soon as you click Restore.

Tips for restoring files between platforms

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Restore Files from FractalBackup Website

Web Restore is a great way to quickly restore a small number of files to any computer with a web browser. Use Web Restore when you do not have access to your desktop.

It is best to restore from the desktop if you have a large number of files to restore or if your files are larger than 250MB.


  1. Sign into FractalBackup.
  2. Click Devices and navigate to the device from which you need to restore data.
  3. From the archive action menu choose Restore.
    Restore your files
  4. In the Web Restore window, select the files and folders you'd like to restore.
  5. Click Restore.
    • FractalBackup restores the files and packages them as a downloadable .zip file.
  6. Download the .zip file containing your restored files.
    Restore files from web

Settings for Faster Backup


Designed not to make heavy demands on your computer's resources, FractalBackup's default settings trade speed for quiet background operation. There are times, however, especially during a first backup, when you may decide that speed is more important. Here are some temporary adjustments that allow backups to complete faster, as well as some items to consider before changing any settings.


Quick Steps

You can make backup go faster by increasing the system resources FractalBackup is allowed to use. Under…

What to Check First - Details

  1. Choose Settings > General.
  2. Increase CPU for when the user is present to at least 90%.
  3. Increase CPU for when the user is away to at least 90%.
  4. Choose Settings > Network.
  5. Increase the sending rate for both present and away to None.
  6. Increase the sending message buffer size. (Advanced)

If you're backing up over a WAN, adjusting the CPU and Network throttling are the only changes you should make.

What to Check Next - Details

When changing these settings, keep in mind that while you might decrease the time FractalBackup requires to prepare your files for backup, you might actually increase the amount of data being transmitted during backup. Because of this, your backup might not complete faster. Also, be sure to consider any transmission costs or caps your ISP may enforce and how additional data may affect your FractalBackup subscription if you are on a limited data plan.

  1. Click Advanced settings > Configure.
  2. Turn off Compression.
    Note that your backup will use a larger amount of space when compression is turned off. If most of your files are already compressed (for example, jpegs or ZIP files), turning off compression may not consume a large amount of additional space and might be a good idea for speeding your backup.
  3. Turn off Watch file system in real-time.
    When you disable this feature, FractalBackup will only detect changes within your file selection during the daily file system scan. Backup then occurs only once per day. Disabling real-time watching is only recommended for computers with very large file selections.
  4. Click Save.

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NOTE: Reset these settings to the default after initial backup is complete.

Uninstalling The Desktop

How It Works - Standard Uninstall

Each platform uses a different process for uninstalling the desktop. Use this uninstall process in most cases.


Uninstall Process


Use Microsoft's Add / Remove Programs


Open the FractalBackup installer's disk image (dmg) and double-click Uninstall.
The uninstaller runs in Terminal and prompts you to enter your system password.


Run the uninstaller shell script that comes in the installer package.

How It Works - Remove The Desktop Completely

In a standard uninstall, the desktop retains a small amount of information (your computer's ID or GUID) so it can “remember” that computer when you reinstall. This information is stored in a hidden file called ”.identity”.

Situations where you want to remove FractalBackup desktop completely:

To completely remove the desktop:

  1. Follow the Standard Uninstall process
  2. Remove the .identity file from your system

.identity File Locations



Windows 7

C:\Users\All Users\FractalBackup\.identity

Windows Vista


Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\FractalBackup\.identity

Mac (standard installation)

/Library/Application Support/FractalBackup/.identity

Mac (custom installation “as user”)

~/Library/Application Support/FractalBackup/.identity

Linux (default)


Tech Notes

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Other services provided by Fractal Computer Services Inc.