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Backing up your Zimbra Desktop data

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This week my companies email account has changed from Exchange to Zimbra Collaboration Server due to my participation in an internal pilot program. This is great because I’m already using the Zimbra server and also the desktop client  privately for a while and I’m really happy with it. What I’ve never thought about before is the backup procedure of my local stored folders which are not synchronized with the cloud. In my private environment that was never an issue for me because my email account has no restricted size. With the companies account I got a limit of 2 GB which is a lot, but not enough when storing all PDF and PPT files as well as the archived mails. Because I’m a Mac user and usually using Time Machine for my backup I was wondering if there is another way to do a backup of the Zimbra Desktop data including my local stored folders. Some googleing gave me the final hint!


Can I backup the data in those 3 user data folders by simply copying them to another location?

While that is possible, it is not recommended. If you choose to do file based backup, you must first shutdown the Zimbra Desktop data engine before running any types of backup. However we recommend users do backup using the import/export features provided by Zimbra Desktop instead. You will find this feature under your Preferences tab in the Zimbra Desktop UI.

(Link to the Zimbra FAQ)

It would be possible to just backup my /home/user/Zimbra/zdesktop folder (as seen in the screenshot below) but the best way should be to use the Export function within the Zimbra Desktop client.

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To export data from your Zimbra accounts please go to the preferences dialog in the tab bar. After clicking on the Preferences tab please select Import/Export.

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The export dialog gives you the chance to export the whole account data including calendar and contacts of calendar and contacts separately. For a full backup I’ve chosen Account as option here. With the checkbox “Advanced settings” you can even filter the data to be exported when choosing Account. Just click on the button Export afterwards and the download as Tar-Gzipped file starts immediately. Now you can copy the file to a file server, to an Online storage or another safe location.

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Be careful if you’re using more that one account in the Zimbra Desktop client! The export function does always export the data from the selected mail account. In my case I’ve a private and my company account configured and needed to export twice. But it’s easy, just select the account in the left menu bar. (Screenshot below).

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I’m really looking forward to work with Zimbra CS and Desktop as my company applications in the next weeks. I definitely think that it will give me the same options then Outlook/Exchange did.

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Written by Christoph Harding

July 18th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Zimbra

Tagged with , , ,