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Question: Backup to PC [released]

asked 2014-01-02 20:32:12 +0200

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updated 2014-01-20 19:54:27 +0200

jgr gravatar image

Backup has been a subject several times, the answer so far was via Terminal commands. In a comment to

I asked already, whether the following procedure without Terminal commands would be possible, but it seems, the comment is not regarded there by someone with sufficient knowledge.

According to answers so far, the backup data are located in folder /home/nemo/.vault. /home/nemo/ is actually the folder I can see in the PC file manager, when I connect the Jolla to the PC using USB and "PC connection" (e.g Windows Explorer, path "Computer\Sailfish\Phone Memory"). Therefore, wouldn't it be sufficient to:

  1. Using Jolla, create a backup (using the feature provided by |- Settings | System settings | Backup | Create -|).
  2. Connect Jolla and PC via USB, on the Jolla select "PC connection".
  3. Copy the .vault folder to the PC (top level in the phone's directory structure as seen from the PC -- this is not root of Sailfish/nemo OS!).
  4. When needed (i.e. after factory reset), reconnect PC/Jolla and copy the .vault folder from the PC back to the Jolla (again: top level in the phone's directory structure as seen from the PC).
  5. Disconnect Jolla/PC.
  6. Using Jolla, restore the backup (using the feature provided by |- Settings | System settings | Backup | section "Restore": Tap date/time of the backup of interest | [Restore] -|).
  7. Reboot the Jolla.

I do not want to give it a try: If it would fail, too much would be lost already. So:

  • Can someone with more system knowledge confirm that the steps above would restore the system to the state it was at backup?
  • Does it include all data or only apps and settings?
  • Would it be necessary to backup all files and subfolders of /home/nemo/ to PC or remains this folder untouched during factory reset? (Presumable, in general it would make sense to backup this folder completely just to have a backup of the data stored on the phone ...)
  • Is it necessary for any step during the procedure above to activate developer mode or even allow for ssh access? (As far as I can see, it should not.)
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The question has been closed for the following reason "released in a software update" by molan
close date 2017-02-09 11:51:47.628131


I've created the backups through Settings -> System -> Backup, but I can't find a folder /home/nemo/.vault. Actually, there isn't a folder named /home even.

Yolla ( 2015-05-05 14:31:35 +0200 )edit

Same for me today. No .vault visible on the PC with MTP over USB

When I use the "space inspector" app on the phone, .vault contains: .vault/.git/blobs/ and nothing else

Is .vault still the location for the backup files on sailfish 2.0?

find -size +10M on what is visible by MTP over USB does not find anything that looks like the backup files. So I suspect the backup files are in a part of the jolla filesystem that is not visible using MTP over USB?

Where are they?

Most of the point of creating a backup is lost if it is not easy to transfer the backup out of the handset for safe storage elsewhere.

KristianES ( 2015-11-18 20:01:33 +0200 )edit

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answered 2014-01-03 23:07:58 +0200

Veksu gravatar image

updated 2014-01-03 23:12:09 +0200

I try that with windows computer, i transfer .vault folder with winscp program, restore working.

move folder back to phone

boot device,

use restore tool.

boot device.

phone records, messages, pics, browser, people, accounts all come back.

actually i notice when i take files to computer there is all.vcf and its created when backup is make. and there is all you contacts in vcard.

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Hi Veksu, it seems, you did not reset the Jolla to factory settings. I.e. your test does not prove that the backup allows to rebuild the backed up state. E.g., in your case files may not have been overwritten during restore, so the old metadata are still there (which may have been lost otherwise).

jgr ( 2014-01-04 01:09:17 +0200 )edit

oh forget to say, yes i did factory reset. procedur about like that, take .vault to pc, reset device, update device(, test few things (not for backup), copying .vault back to phone, boot, restore, boot.

when choose restorepoint what want restore its restoring everything what you choose to backup, if not want pics you dont to backup pics at all.

and i try before restore make one account(exchange), not good idea, calendar make duplicate with this account.

Veksu ( 2014-01-04 09:41:04 +0200 )edit

btw, browser passwords not coming back and music files not in backup.

Veksu ( 2014-01-04 09:59:58 +0200 )edit

Music files are not taken into backup now, it is considered that music appear in the device from some external source, so there is no need for backup, also it allows to avoid any legal issues :/

Browser passwords are not restored now, this isssue is known.

dez ( 2014-01-04 16:31:04 +0200 )edit

Symbolic links are used inside .vault, they can't be copied correctly to Windows PC. Also files permissions are probably not restored correctly.

Also it should be enough to copy only .vault/.git directory.

dez ( 2014-01-04 16:33:24 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-03 12:42:05 +0200

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This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2014-01-20 21:19:35 +0200

jgr gravatar image

The answer has been given by dez on

" @jgr Do you mean Windows PC? If so - surely no, Windows drops information about permissions/ownership. If Linux - maybe also not: iirc MTP does not expose this information.

Soon there will be ability to export/import backups to/from SD card."

So the instructions do not work this way. I will update the text above accordingly and elaborate a procedure that should work by keeping permissions/ownership.

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Released in software update: It's possible to save backup to SD card (and copy it to a computer) or upload it to chosen cloud services.

molan ( 2017-02-09 11:53:08 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-03 12:45:48 +0200

dez gravatar image

Copying any data from/to device except pictures, videos, documents, installation packages (apk, rpm) through the PC Connection results in lose of those files metadata (permissions and ownership, symbolic links etc.), so consequences of copying 'em back are unpredictable. The only way to copy those files correctly is to do it through e.g. ssh connection to/from POSIX-compatible (e.g. Linux, MacOSX but not Windows) system but this option is only available when Developer mode is enabled.

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Hello dez: This means, I have to tar the .vault, all other dot folders, system and optional (either on Jolla using Terminal or through ssh from the Linux or Win PC) and then I can copy the tar to any medium (including a Windows PC) for storage. All other folders can be copied directly.

jgr ( 2014-01-03 13:28:11 +0200 )edit

@jgr tar saves permissions correctly. .vault contains backups for units shown in backup UI and it is self-contained. But some information still can't be backed up correctly for different reasons, e.g. Links with contacts from misc. services or browser passwords.

dez ( 2014-01-03 14:07:36 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2014-01-02 20:32:12 +0200

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Last updated: Jan 20 '14