Recommended --exclude-from list for Windows?

In short what I’m asking is if anybody has some list of exclusions for doing backups of a full C:\ partition (let’s say for windows 10).

Background: even a small SSD windows installation with a few programs and user documents will still have hundreds of thousands of files. To make it worse some are changing all the time (candy crush updates?! WTF). Now I know pointing rclone to c: isn’t the best thing, I know there might be open files, I know with so many files I’d better use duplicati, duplicity (or some other commercial backup software) but I really like the simplicity of rsync/rclone backups (yes, they are really nice incremental backups if --backup/backup-dir option is used wisely).

As I’m lazy and distracted and I know myself - any line I put there I’ll have to trial-error it 15 times to get it right - in case anybody is doing it already can you paste your config? No explanations needed, I know there will be a few things specific to your setup.

You shouldn’t really need to be doing backups of anything outside of the C:/users/$username folder though right? You can’t really restore an rclone backup like that should your drive/OS/applications break.

If you want to do that you’d be best off doing clonezilla images of the drive once in a while and uploading the resulting images to google.

Well I do my best to keep all I care about OUTSIDE the user’s profile folder for many reasons:

  • habit - been using C: before there was such a thing as users and their folders
  • the “Documents and Settings” junction marked me so I try not to keep anything in Users since I moved something from “other place1” to “other place2” and it grabbed my actual profile and moved it to “other place2” …
  • every now and then I run out of path length (for stuff I don’t directly control, like unpacking something). That’s annoying
  • last but not least you’ll get more access errors when backing up your profile’s folder than anything else…

Why then not backup my neat and short named folder with my stuff from c: ? Because there is now and then stuff dropped in some other places and also I do care about programs, I would like to get a previous version of something that I had running in Program Files. I’m not looking to restore the whole OS to a previous state or to have a full re-image at will, I just want access to my file history (which is very with rclone --backup-dir and timestamped folders).

Just food for thoughts, why you do not just clone your whole C: ( ~your Windows 10) as an .iso file and upload that?

I fumbled long time around with that situation and there are just too many, maany small files in Windows folders and subfolders, which will take forever to sync or just to backup.

If you use gdrive for that…do not even waste your time and go straight for one single big .iso otherwise it will not be practicable.

I am sure there is software outside, which could automatically creates those .iso backups on system start or any time.

the windows install disk is pretty good for this backup creation purpose.

“one single big iso” (I assume you mean a disk image because for hard drives they aren’t iso’s) increases the storage and bandwidth requirements more than 100 times. It isn’t practical to save 50-100GB remotely each time the computer starts (incidentally this is when I run my rclone script as well as you mentioned) and most remotes don’t resume so I’d have to baby sit the machine all the time, did I let it run for long enough for the backup to finish (be it x hours or one day or one week)? One of the machines doesn’t even have local space to make an image (it is just one laptop with one SSD).

As it is now a simple sync just works and before rclone worked with rsync also for more than a decade. It comes, it does its thing, it needs almost no resources locally (both for installed programs and at run-time, it just needs to walk the filesystem which isn’t a big problem on an SSD). The history of any file can be obtained just listing */path/to/file in the backup folders (as opposed to digging through tens or hundreds of disk images that might or might not contain changes to the file you are interested in), etc.:

2017-11-17-19-10-02/Program Files (x86)/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe
2017-12-08-20-50-32/Program Files (x86)/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe
2018-01-09-19-10-02/Program Files (x86)/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe
2018-01-24-19-50-14/Program Files (x86)/Mozilla Firefox/firefox.exe

But you have no backup of you registry, if you do it that way. In case this is what you need, then it is faster than doing whole backups I guess :slight_smile:

I didn’t need anything saved from the registry since 20 years ago (and even then not to get some specific data but to replace the corrupted W95/98 registry and not to reinstall the box from floppies). YES, I know probably there are some IE or WiFi passwords saved there but I don’t care. However I did need to get either documents or binaries every now and then (either older versions from the same computer or from the backup of a computer that was inaccessible just that moment) and this kind of “poor man’s incremental backups” saved my bacon.

In the end I guess I’ll just take a note of each access error and create my own exception file…