Backup and Archive

Computer Backup and Archive Policy Statement

  • All staff are STRONGLY advised to have a regular (e.g. weekly) computer backup strategy and a regular (e.g. annual) computer archive strategy.
  • Research staff should develop their computer backup and archive strategies in parallel with their research archive strategy (e.g. notebooks, specimens etc.).
  • Supervisors are advised to implement a group-wide archive strategy, with a clear proceedure for when research staff and students leave the group.
  • Central Departmental facilities such as the Teaching Laboratory and Administration networks and the MML are backed-up by Department IT staff on a daily basis.

Computer Backup

OUCS provides a central computer backup facility with easy to use software which can be configured to work automatically. The facility is called the Hierarchical File Server (HFS) and runs Tivoli Storage Management (TSM) software to enable regular automatic
backup of personal computers, workstations and fileservers.

Please read the full instructions available on-line at The necessary actions can be summarised as follows:

  • Register your computer and set a nodename and password
  • Download the TSM client software appropriate for your computer operating system
  • Install the software
  • Take an initial backup of your computer

    - Start the backup software and connect to the server

    - Do a test backup on a single file or directory to check it works

    - Do the first full backup (which may take some time ~10Gb/hr)
  • Desktops should setup the TSM scheduler software for automatic weekly backup

Note: The Department of Materials’ weekly backup is scheduled to start after 18:00 on Wednesdays. Your computer will only backup automatically at this time if the TSM scheduler software is running and if the computer is turned on.

In addition to running TSM weekly backup of files and data, bitter experience says that staff and students should also implement a manual backup routine for important documents (especially theses!). A simple method of manual backup is to run the TSM backup
software manually at the end of each day. An alternative manual backup routine is at the end of each day to copy all files modified during the day onto removable media (CD/DVD/MemoryStick/networked disk) and keep the disk for at least one week before
overwriting. For particularly important documents (such as theses), mulitple daily backups and keeping one copy outside the department increases confidence.

Computer Archiving

There is a central computer archive facility but it is only available in special circumstances. Generally archiving is the responsibility of individual staff and students. Archiving can most easily be achived by making a CD of your files and data using
CD writer. This is a cheap and easy method of storing data. You are advised to make several copies of your CD archives and to check that they are OK
and that you can recover your data before you delete your files and data.

Archives are meant to be long-term records of you work, and therefore should be sorted and catalogued clearly. In addition archiving provides a means of recovering from distasters (such as a fire or theft) therefore at least one copy of the archive should
be stored off-site in a secure location (supervisor’s copy?). Finally, remember that digital medias like CD and DVD degrade over time and become defunct ("can anyone read my 5.5" floppy?"). Users wishing to maintain a long term archive should migrate
their data to new storage media every 5-10 years.


The Department IT staff can provide advice of developing backup and archive strategies and (time permitting) can help if you encounter problems installing and configuring the TSM software.
Also the OUCS helpdesk ( can provide support.