Dorico file backup strategies

mducharme posted this on another thread:

I personally work directly in Dropbox as I can recover back to any previous version, all indexed with the date and time that I hit save. That way if I delete something and then decide later that actually now I really want that thing that I had deleted (which happens more often than I would like), I have a way to get it back.

While somewhat off-topic in the other thread, I thought it might be of general interest, and would welcome others pitching in with their backup strategies.

I strongly suggest folks acquaint themselves with the autosave preferences.

and project backups:

In preferences, you can change the number of saved project files PER PROJECT. I set this to a large number because storage is cheap. I probably have 1000 project files out there in the backups. I rarely refer to any of them, but several times a year, this is a life-saver.

I will describe my backup strategy but want to make sure it is clear this is probably obsessive as a result of a 40+ year IT career implementing and managing mission-critical systems. Backup/recovery is something of a disease for me. When I die, I will probably have two layers of caskets, both enclosed with 6 feet of concrete to hold my cremated remains which will be bonded in epoxy resin. So I wouldn’t wish this solution on anybody, but am including it in case there might be elements somebody might find useful.


I certainly use the Project Backups feature aggressively, with 20 backups per project. That is stored on the local computer at Documents->Dorico Files->Project Backups.

As a matter of discipline, whenever I am making big changes to a project, particularly if I am not sure it will be a fruitful path, I copy my project to a new version number (XYV V1.Dorico, XYZ V2.Dorico etc.) so I may have 50 or 100 project backups on my local machine by the time I am done with a big project.


My project files are not on my local machine. Instead, they are on a Synology network-attached storage (NAS) device. I have no permanent files on my local computer. If my computer dies, I can reinstall the software and continue with all my data files that are safely on the NAS.

The NAS has redundant disks, so a disk failure will not lose any data.

My user data is all on network “shares” that include daily snapshots, so I can reconstruct the status of any of my data files for any day within the past 3 months.


In addition to that, I have a second NAS unit for online backup. I use a program called Backup4All to maintain a backup image of all changed files on the secondary NAS, so in the event of a massive failure of the primary NAS, I can still reconstruct everything. And both NAS units have a share that includes all software installations, so rebuilding a computer isn’t too much of an ordeal.

All of the above happens automatically and requires no thought or daily upkeep on my part.


About once per quarter, I do a complete copy of my secondary NAS to a 12TB USB hard drive. I have several of these hard drives so I have 1-2 years’ worth of backups that I keep offsite. This would be used if my house burns to the ground. These copies take about 24 hours, so it is a bit of a pain.

As I say, I don’t necessarily recommend this approach. The Dropbox solution is much simpler and has most of the same benefits. However I live in an area where the Internet is pretty good, but I do have 3 or 4 days each month when the service is up and down. My solution above does not require any Internet access.

I too use a multi-pronged strategy:


For all projects that I am currently working on, I save the Dorico file directly to Dropbox. Every time I save, there is a new version available in the Dropbox version history. Because I hit the save hotkey quite often as a force of habit, it is not unusual for me to have a hundred (or more) file versions over a few hours work. In case I delete something that I decide I want to get it back, I only have to find the correct version in the Dropbox history based on the date and time that I saved it. Dropbox does not count these versions towards your storage usage, so you don’t have to worry about this versioning costing money.

Also, when I make revisions, I will frequently save as a new file. In that case, I use things like v1b, v1c, v1d, etc for minor revisions, and go up to a new number (ex. v2) for more major revisions.

On my main desktop PC I have a subscription for Backblaze backup, which backs up all drives on my computer online for a flat rate - in my case, this is several terabytes of data. Backblaze scans for changes every half hour or so, so in general in event of disaster, I will not lose very much. It also backs up the same files backed up by Dropbox, but Dropbox backs things up more frequently (instantly on a save) and the versioning makes it a better choice for Dorico projects I am working on right now.

It took months for Backblaze to complete the initial backup process with my Internet service at home, but once it was done, it only backs up changes. Also, if I need to restore quickly (in event of disaster), I can pay them to ship me a disk drive with the backup contents.

In addition to all this, I take image backups of my main desktop PC with StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX, which I switched to several years ago from Acronis True Image as I found that Acronis was unable to restore my backups as they were too big - it is a big red flag when you can’t restore from your backup software. A full restore might have worked, but I didn’t want to take that chance. Note: These days, a better and cheaper option is probably Macrium Reflect, but I’m still using ShadowProtect as a result of inertia.

The conventional backups take a full image backup of my boot drive once a week to an external hard drive, with incremental backups happening every hour or so. In event of a boot drive failure, I’m able to get up and running again quite quickly by restoring this image backup. This has already happened to me once, and the ShadowProtect image backup worked brilliantly to get me up and running again very quickly, only took a few hours to restore the 1TB image of my boot SSD to the new disk and I was back to exactly where I had left off. This is another reason I haven’t switched to Macrium - this solution has already proven itself once.

These ShadowProtect image backups to the external hard drive are in turn backed up to Backblaze online, so in the event of some kind of disaster that were to wipe out my home, I could buy a new system and download the image backup from Backblaze online, restore it to new hardware with ShadowProtect, and basically get a clone of my new system up and running as quickly as possible.


I do not use any special backup for my laptop - when I work on anything there, I work directly in Dropbox, so that it is backed up online and synchronizes to my desktop, where it is backed up by the other solutions.

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