Backing up from several computers to a single cloud backup

In initial experiments with Duplicati I got a small sample folder to back up to OneDrive. What I would like it to do is back up to the same cloud backup from several computers. I work on several computers, each with identical directory structures for my working files (but generally not the same absolute paths). Is it possible to use Duplicati to backup from all of these computers (at different times) to the same cloud backup?

If so, how would it be set up?


Hello @Xh86tr and welcome to the forum!

You can back each one up to its own OneDrive folder, or use the –prefix option to share a folder if for some reason creating multiple folders is a problem. Though their folder is shared, the backups run independently.
Maybe you could say a bit more about what “same cloud backup” means, and what you’re trying to achieve.

ts678 – thanks for the welcome and the quick reply!

  1. To get an idea of what I’m trying to do, here’s what I’m doing now. I have 3 computers (work, home, portable) each with all of my working files (~40gb). I have a flash drive with a copy of these working files using the same directory structure (encrypted). When I start work at a location I use the Total Commander “Synchronize Directories” to sync the work computer to the flash drive. I do the same thing at the end of the day. This solves the sync-ing problem nicely (and has for many years) but I’m still looking for off-site backup, thus the interest in Duplicati.

  2. I would like to duplicate the (1) procedure for backup – a single backup that is alternately backed up from each computer. Can that be done? If not, I can use separate backups for each computer although it will use triple the storage!

  3. I tried -prefix, but that doesn’t seem to be what I want since it changes file names. In any case, I set up a backup on one computer and then tried to access it from another. When I did that I got the error, “Found 3 remote files that are not recorded in local storage, please run repair.”

  4. A semi-related question – what are the pros/cons of using Duplicati vs. Google backup when using Google Drive storage?

Thanks again.


It’s not supported to use the same backend files from multiple machines. Your backup will break if it even works at all.

Duplicacy has support for this use case, although I’ve never used it.

Pros/cons are relative depending on your needs, but the functionality varies in a number of ways.

For starters, it looks like Google Backup & Sync is direct file copying v/ syncing to your Google Drive - so no history or versioning like Duplicati can provide.

It’s unclear how the Google solution transfers file updates but Duplicati only backs up the changed parts of files which helps keep bandwidth needs low.

If you can live with more Internet traffic and less privacy compared to what Duplicati provides, letting Google Drive take care of sync between computers, then backing up one of the computers’ sync areas gets close to your wish. Omitting the flash drive means you might have to look to see if sync upload is done before leaving a computer, and similarly at the computer you arrive at, there would be some initial delays to get file changes downloaded. I’ve also seen some oddities where a file conflict is not “resolved” the way I would like, but that’s possibly a result of mixing computers – possibly your use which seems largely sequential would operate well.

This avoids keeping three independent backups which are largely the same except for latest file changes. At least with Google Drive, recent versions of files can be obtained through the web interface. Note that this is rather cumbersome if you have many (or all) files to restore. In that regard, Duplicati is nicer. Ordinarily I’d worry about ransomware, but the chances of it hitting all computers at the same time seem slim.
EDIT: However automatic sync can propagate file damage into the replicas, especially if they’re powered on.

If you like Duplicati’s security and privacy, and are willing to do scripting, Is it possible to set a date limit? may provide a way to backup recent changes, while letting the flash drive handle the less frequent computer sync. You would also backup a computer with Duplicati daily to supplement your new-file-only backups with old files.

There are many ways to put this together. If you look into other backup and sync programs, it gets worse. :wink:

Another thing to consider is how Google allocates space to applications. They may choose to not count GB&S (Google Backup & Sync) files against your space usage, so if storage space is a potential issue for you be sure to look into that.

On the flip side, if they DO count it against you, then you may find Duplicati’s deduplication feature ends up using less space than GB&S. Note that Duplicati “savings” can vary greatly based on the file types being backed up and retention policy settings.

Looking at it as a whole, @Pectojin’s suggestion is probably the best fit for what I’m hearing you want. :slight_smile:

Many thanks for the responses. I’ll give Duplicati a try. (I don’t know if this response goes to all of you or goes back individually – if it goes to all, my apologies for the duplication!)

Dave Auslander

Many thanks for the responses. I’ll give Duplicati a try. (I don’t know if this response goes to all of you or goes back individually – if it goes to all, my apologies for the duplication!)

Dave Auslander