Feedback from a new user - mainly Windows use

#10

@JonMikelV I am also an ex-dev so know all about decent feedback. You guys are caught up in the complex mechanics of making this thing work. So I am taking plenty of notes on what I am seeing to polish the GUI to make it more idiot proof.

Didn’t get much time to look at this today, but did get confirmation as to what happened with the backups. The “Run as a service” option is why the paths had messed up and @ts678 was right in guessing these were being dropped into the Program Files folders.

I will experiment a bit more about how the Service logs on and see if I can get some combination to work.

What would help a lot for the average support guy like me who is too busy to read a manual is some more descriptive error messages.

As I said, I am taking notes so will drop this feedback in a larger complete mass instead of these babbled thoughts.

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#11

I am hitting a wall here on the LAN backup. I’m stuck in an all Windows environment. Need to run Duplicati “As a service” so it will backup locked files (mailstores). But this means no LAN access.

I tried doing the “map a network drive” method, but that destination can’t be seen by the Duplicati service either.

I was thinking of installing NFS on the destination machine - but am then at a bit of a loss as to how to address that from the Duplicati client.

I seem to have run out of options for “simple LAN backup”. Will try a few more options today and add findings to this thread. Been too long since I messed around with user accounts and rights on Windows.

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#12

Giving up on SMB for now. There has to be some simple option for a LAN, but I can’t find it yet.

Have swapped to FTP for now. Am experimenting with FileZilla Server on the destination PC. Changing of port numbers and a user account will help. Only using FTP internal to the LAN with no external access.

Not sure how this affects the backup speed. Initial tests are just plain FTP - the (S) bit will come later.

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#13

This needs writing in LARGE letters to stop other Windows users wasting time trying to get backups to work across the LAN.

“Running as a Service” is a natural thing for us Windozers - we need the backup to run when other users are logged in. Or we need to backup a locked file like a mailbox. So Duplicati has to be “run as a service” to allow this to happen, but then we don’t have LAN access…

I am now playing with different options for the server. I know and trust FileZilla Server and have that running happy across the LAN. So I have “Backup to FTP” working. The next question is - do I bother going deeper into SFTP if I am just on the LAN?

In one example I am in a building of six PCs and Sod’s Law says the one with the spare big hard disk in it is Win10 Home. So I need dumb simple software to run on something like that. Hence the FileZilla option.

Anyone know of an SFTP option that can run? (And don’t say “build a linux box” or “use a Pi” as I am trying to do minimal changes to the hardware currently in use. The Pi option is for a different day \ different experiment)

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#14

Error Message Feedback
One problem I am having is in understanding the error logs. They are way too verbose for me at times. Especially when sometimes the “error” is not really an error.

Example: Duplicati is “Running as a service” and I want to uninstall it.

I go to an Admin command prompt.
Swap to the Duplicati folder.
I stop and delete the service, and then uninstall

sc stop duplicati
sc delete duplicati
Duplicati.WindowsService.exe uninstall

This gives an error. The error is that the service has already been deleted. So it is not really an error…

I also saw a similar set of non-errors when I installed the service twice on top of itself. I think in that case it told me the error was “Service already running” but in that situation I could not work out if this was a problem or not.

Missing Visual Studio 2018 package
Other confused errors appeared when I was on a fresh Win10 x64 PC. I think my first attempt of running as a service spat out errors due to the missing VCDist package… but those messages were a bit too cryptic to make sense of as I was having all kind of other problems that day.

It especially needed the package on an Old WIN10 x86 PC. More errors were triggered on there when I ran the Duplicati Installer before I had run the VC update.

Currently I am learning a lot as I try and set this up in different locations. Some of my feedback is from my errors in understanding how things work. This thread has various mistakes of mine. As I learn more I’ll make the comments in here more focused.

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#15

Originally I was disappointed that Duplicati has SFTP but not FTPS listed. But it appears that FTPS is an advanced option for either of the two FTP options. Making it more directly visible as a protocol may help.

FTP over TLS and FTPS using Explicit TLS howto (Server) may help Filezilla users who want to try it out.

For SFTP, various ones are mentioned in the forum. Bitvise has a How-To, but I think some license limits.

While I find home Windows shares to be hard and unpredictable (I wonder if enterprises have it easier?), sometimes I can make them do what I want. For Duplicati, give UI a UNC path, Username, and Password. Duplicati for this test is running as a Windows Service as default SYSTEM user. This backup worked OK.

Microsoft says that Drive letters are not global to the system, and Network Neighborhood is fading away, therefore Duplicati is probably limited in what it can do. It looks like it adds shares, no NET USE needed.

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Choosing different drive letter
#16

I’m a Crashplan refugee as well and I would just to like to say that I’ve been using Windows shares as backup destinations for a long time without issue. I found it more reliable than SFTP when I started using Duplicati almost a year ago. Never had any reason to change it. I am backing up a small tax office 4 states away from me (mom’s business! :slight_smile: ), using Duplicati on all workstations backing up to the the main workstation through Windows shares. These are all running as a service so I can use VSS to capture Quickbooks and Outlook files, no problem. I set it up this way to facilitate fast local restores when needed, at the cost of using up some local side storage. Using a local destination also ensures the backup is never missed due to their internet going out. I then use a different open source product called Syncthing to synchronize the Duplicati folder over the internet to my server in the basement. I don’t really trust SFTP since I cannot predict the reliability of their internet 100%. Syncthing is persistent and will immediately continue synchronizing if there are any network problems and has worked wonderfully for my purposes. I’ve been keeping a daily backup since September, the first workstation I set up over there has 317 versions available taking up about 50 GB with their offsite backup many states away, synchronized within a few minutes of any files being written.

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#17

Thanks for the input. I use Syncything as well (so far without issues) but would suggest you do some small test restores from BOTH locations.

At 50G copying out all locally to do a small restore would take a while, so make sure you know what’s involved OR have a method (FTP?) for Duplicati to directly access the Syncthing destination. (If FTP isn’t an option, consider thr ZeroTier VPN.)

@BatterPudding, keep the comments coming! Many of them (like errors) I agree with but time just hasn’t shown up to allow updating it.

I may try and look at a #howto for LAN backups with Duplicati Windows service to help ease others following in your footsteps. :slight_smile:

Oh, and if you want to contribute then feel free to make your own #howto on what you did to get FileZilla FTP Server running on Windows 10 Home. :wink:

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#18

Oh I’ve done all kinds of testing to makes sure this works for me. I did a disaster recovery scenario where I lost complete access from the backup source 4 states away. On my server, I simply added a new backup with the Syncthing folder (which is already local and 100% synchronized) as the destination for the backup, repaired the DB and I was back in business, ready to restore any and all versions. Bonus: The backup source has “Send Only” enabled, so when I re-enabled the synchronization, the original backup source is safe from changes on my end. I have also done at least a few actually-needed restores for the users on their end with no problems.

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#19

I had the same issue but am now running Duplicati as a service using VSS on one of the Win 10 home systems here and backing up directly to a SMB share sitting on a ‘Open Media Vault’ NAS.
The path I use is \\ComputerName-or-IP.address\share-name/folder/folder

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#20

Thanks All :slight_smile:

@TPSMono and @Daine I wonder what it is that I am missing with my LAN setup then. Which user does your service login as? I just can’t get mine to behave.

I have noticed your funky path there. Maybe that is part of it for me.

I’ve been dealing with Windoze network shares for years, so I know that side is setup to work correctly. I can test from the PC fine. It is just that last little link across from Duplicati as a Service. Which user is it supposed to login as? I thought I had tried login as SYSTEM as noted by @ts678

@JonMikelV The FTP Server as destination method was comically simple to setup. Though I then proceeded to break it by trying FTPS and TLS login. @ts678 has saved me some testing time there by pointing out no FTPS in Duplicati. I did look at SFTP but the Bitvise is a “non-commercial use” application, so not an option for me.

I will be taking my test version of the FTP Server solution over to a client shortly. I’ll take some screenshots during setup for that one. As this is within the LAN then plain FTP should be fine. The FTP server will not have an external WAN port.

Both the “Backup to Windows LAN when running as a Service” and “Backup to FTP Server” are due to get mini HOWTOs written up by me. I want to feed back in what I have learnt.

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#21

I was claiming (possibly incorrectly) that the FTPS in Duplicati exists but isn’t listed specifically as FTPS name. Perhaps you can resume trying to get it to work, or possibly there’s more help on it in the forum or on GitHub.

FTPS (also known as FTPES, FTP-SSL, and FTP Secure) is an extension to the commonly used File Transfer Protocol (FTP) that adds support for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) and, formerly, the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL, which is now prohibited by RFC7568) cryptographic protocols. 

is from the link I cited, and Duplicati’s placement of encryption under FTP fits technically but is harder to spot.

Filezilla is, I think, quite good from a licensing view. Many of the fancy SFTP servers have license restrictions.

If you’re on a recent enough Windows 10, there is a beta version of OpenSSH-based client and server inside. This is a Windows port, but if you’re willing to run Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), more options open…

I’d note that the Windows port of openssh had some problems but fix might be known. No news from @DL38.

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#22

I am starting to wonder if much of my problems are down to the Visual Studio package not installing properly.

Just been on site with that client, in between other tasks I did another test. Working from a different PC, this time doing a big backup to FTP.

Win10 Pro (x86) PC, Installed Duplicati as a service, set “snapshot-policy = on”, left Thunderbird Mail open, kicked off a big backup…

And I found that Alpha.VSSx86.dll error popped up.

=> Could not load file or assembly ‘AlphaVSS.x86.dll’ or one of its dependencies. The specified module could not be found., Failed to process path: C:\Users\Martyn\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\0j8qpsn9.default\parent.lock => The process cannot access the file ‘C:\Users\Martyn\AppData\Roaming\Thunderbird\Profiles\0j8qpsn9.default\parent.lock’ because it is being used by another process.

And from reading elsewhere this says I need to install the VisualStudio update. Which is odd, as it is already on here as I remember running it. Should I now reinstall Duplicati on this PC? Would the lack of the VS pack mean the installer failed? Or the service install may have failed?

On a separate test… LAN backup seems to want to work this time. Am using the IP v4 Address instead of the computer name. Which makes some sense as the Win10 PCs in the network mean more IP v6 running around the LAN.

\\192.168.1.203\stuff/martyn and giving it the username\password seemed to work this time. Or at least it passed the test. Just failed to backup due to that AlphaVSS.x86.dll again. Puzzling…

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#23

@ts678 the vagueness in your comments about FTPS implies you haven’t used it yourself. So I’ll be skipping that experiment for now as I have enough testing puzzles I am working through. :smiley:

FileZilla is an OpenSource project. Brilliant FTP Client, and I have used the server a few times before.

Has been comically simple to setup a Server, add a user, tweak some security. Looks like a simple answer for LAN backups when other options fail. It is also handy as it is an “any OS” solution too.

I will be making a proper HOWTO Backup To FileZilla FTP Server in next few days. Find it so much easier to use than other FTP Servers I’ve previously configured. But then that is the beauty of open source collaborations - the best of the ideas get boiled into the file product without ID-10T users in Marketing getting in the way.

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#24

OKAY… here is Feedback from using Duplicati on a 32-bit Win10 PC

This PC is an older messier one. It auto-upgraded from Win7.

It is a 32-bit OS installation.

Last week I ran the Duplicati installer on here. Then ran the commands for converting to a service.

FEEDBACK NOTE ONE:

Please throttle back on some of the splurge of debugging info hitting the screen. So much went up on the screen as the service was starting up that I think I missed all the errors caused by not having the VisualStudio package installed.

With that debugging info it is too easy to miss real errors. The errors need to SCREAM OUT so attention is paid to them.

Subsequent tests this PC were failing the backup with the AlphaVSS.x86.dll error as noted in an above post.

I swapped back to a command prompt.

duplicati.windowsserver /uninstall

Note This caused a pop-up error message about not being able to stop duplicati service. So I manually stopped and removed the service

sc stop duplicati
sc delete duplicati
duplicati.windowsserver /uninstall

Still got the same pop-up error box. No other error text splurge to the command prompt though.

I then fully uninstalled Duplicati and rebooted.

Ran the VisualStudio update again. Rebooted. Ran the Duplicati installer. Installed as a service - no errors.

Ran my test backups again - and all is now happy!! No errors on the locked files.

Suggestion:

Maybe find a better test for the lack of the VisualStudio update? Maybe catch the AlphaVSS.x86 error and tell the user to go install the VS package and reinstall everything properly?

Or maybe during the initial run of duplicati.windowsserver slam a message box up in the user’s face when the AlphaVSS.x86 error kicks in.

I think this could well be the heart of my issues.

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#25

Swapping Destination Test

Right - I am now going to be a right awkward sod to my little x86 test PC… I’m going to swap that Full Backup from an FTP target to a SMB target in the same folder.

So, if I understand this right, Duplicati should just handle this without a hiccup. And as I had just run the backup via FTP, swapping to SMB should mean nothing changes. I am expecting a speedy backup as nothing needs to be updated.

Hehe… I am cruel. (I’ll update this post soon with test result)

Edit: Clever little Duplicati. The initial backup was 50GB using FTP across the LAN. I then edited just the destination and swapped to SMB across the same LAN to the exact same folder. And Duplicati sped through the file check and was more than happy.

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#26

Two Backups in same folder
While testing I accidentally put two different backups into the same folder. I think this has caused damage. It certainly threw up some temporary confusion.

Am I right in thinking that backups need to be in separate folders?

Suggestion: Tell user when two different backups are pointing in the same place.

Details
I had setup a “Full Backup” but had not run it.
I also setup a small “Test Backup” to the same folder, run it. 3 files were created.

I return later in the day and try and manually run “Full Backup” and get told about three files being in the folder and needing to run repair.

So I look at the test backup… oh yeah, three files from my earlier test. So I’ll delete that.

In attempting to clean up the test on this PC, I am removing my small test backup. And deleting the data. I get a CAPTCHA shown for that delete, but it is not centred on screen

This is Firefox x64 on Win10 Pro. Notice how I am having to guess if that is a 6. (Turned out to be wrong and I had to retry)

Maybe need to check the framing of that image?

So two points came up there:

1\ CAPTCHA not always visible.
2\ Two Duplicati backups should not share the same folder. Need a warning when setting up.

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#27

Yes unless the relatively obscure –prefix option is used so that Duplicati knows which files go with which jobs.

This has come up a few times, but seems to be stuck in the backlog. I wonder if anyone can edit the manual?

Quick changes that would make new user experience a lot better

Backup to the same bucket/folder should raise a warning

Regarding CAPTCHA, Captcha is unreadable #2965 found a font problem but also a that’s-how-it-was-made. Maybe someday a look at the generator could tell whether it’s framed badly by mistake, or if it’s intentional…

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#28

I did some testing and I have an idea for what might be giving you trouble. Not sure if you or others are aware, Windows will only allow access to a network resource using a single set of credentials, per user session. What I’m trying to say is when Duplicati is running as a service with it’s own user name, network access is “locked in” to the first successful network access of that resource. If you need to access a network resource with different credentials, you must restart the Duplicati service before any new credentials are attempted. Here is an example if you are interested:

Example

Lets say you have security set up on \\computer\Folder1 where USER1 has access to read only and BACKUPUSER has access to both read and write. If Duplicati uses credentials to log in as USER1 for any purpose, such as testing access in the Destination selection page, then Duplicati will only be able to access all shares on \\computer as USER1. The inputs to Username and Passoword in the Backup Destination area are effectively ignored completely; You can put the wrong password in there and it will still report success. This will affect ALL shares on \\computer, including \\computer\folder2 and \\computer\completelyUnrelatedFolder. To fix this situation, you would restart the Duplicati service. Then, you should now be able to successfully test using the credentials for BACKUPUSER and Duplicati will now use BACKUPUSER for all access to \\computer.

This is not completely Duplicati’s fault, it is a limitation of Windows and how it handles network access. This is mainly an issue when using the GUI and installed as a service. Because the service’s user session never closes, neither do it’s network shares. You will run into even more problems if you have the service running as your own user account, since Duplicati will then be locked into the last credentials you used yourself to access network resources. Duplicati should have it’s own user account that is not used by anything else and when accessing network shares, it cannot change the credential used for accessing each host. You can use different credentials if you are accessing different hosts, such as \\computer1 and \\computer2 but multiple shares on the same host such as \\computer1\folder1 and \\computer1\folder2 must use the same credentials to access, even if you are accessing each one in different jobs.

To properly test access when setting up a job, enter a known-good UNC path (copy/paste from explorer window so you know its perfect). If you get a message claiming the folder does not exist, your access credentials are incorrect or that user does not have READ access to the folder. If you get Connection worked! then you know you have at least read access. To test write access, simply add a non-existing folder to the end of the path you already have and test again. You should get the folder does not exist prompt and this time push Yes to test your write access. If that works fine then take your test subfolder off of the path and you should be all set.

You do not need to mix your slashes, \\computer\folder1\subfolder1 works just fine. There is an interesting anomaly with this field though…after you save the job and go back in to edit the configuration, you will find that the destination path will now have a forward slash (/) on the end of it. This extra slash does not seem to affect anything and you can remove it if you are adjusting the path. It will be added again after you save.

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#29

Would Canceling a Network Connection help? If so, it’s in the code I linked to earlier, seemingly controlled by:

--force-smb-authentication (Boolean): Force authentication against remote share If this option is set, any existing authentication against the remote share is dropped before attempting to authenticate

This reminds me of the discussion in How to close SMB connection to remote share? where it seemed difficult sometimes to get around Windows’ expectations, including features like 15 minute idle timeouts, and also this:

The assumption in Windows is that a user will not try to re-authenticate with different credentials.

I found it hard to control (or even see) what Windows was up to, and such things make it seem unpredictable. “net use” and PowerShell (e.g. Get-SmbSession and Get-SmbConnection) would sometimes not even agree, and I would also have to Close-SmbSession from the server side, due to lack of client-side close (link above).

I got tired of poking at it, and hoped someone more expert would stop by (thanks @TPSMono). Do you have any opinion on whether Duplicati is on the right track, with use of the The WNetCancelConnection2 function?

The WNetCancelConnection2 function cancels an existing network connection. You can also call the function to remove remembered network connections that are not currently connected.

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