Author Archive

Backup to your OneDrive account with Arq!

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March 30th, 2015

Arq can now back up to your Microsoft OneDrive account!

OneDrive Arq Backup

OneDrive accounts come with 1TB of storage, and if you’re an Office 365 subscriber you can get unlimited storage.

So if you’ve got a OneDrive account, put that extra space to use by storing your encrypted Arq backups there! Arq backs up whatever files you want, encrypts the data to maintain your privacy, and stores it directly in your OneDrive account.

As always, all your data are encrypted before they leave your computer, using a password that only you know, so your files are safe and secure; and the backups are in an account that you control. All the other features of Arq apply as well, including versioned backups, full OS X metadata backups, email notifications, and the ability to restrict which wifi networks Arq uses.

OneDrive integration is a free update for Arq 4 customers. Just pick “Check for Updates” from Arq’s menu to install the update. Or download it from here.

Backup to Google Cloud Storage Nearline

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March 18th, 2015

Before you connect Arq to Google Cloud Storage, you’ll need to set up your Google Cloud Storage “project” and billing info. Arq’s help has a page explaining that.

If you’re setting up Arq for the first time, it asks you to choose a destination and enter credentials. Choose “Google Could Storage”:

Backup nearline 10

Click the “Log Into Google Cloud Storage” button and enter your Google credentials.

Next, enter your Google Cloud Storage project’s project number. If you haven’t set up a Google Cloud Storage project and billing for your Google Cloud Storage, click the question-mark icon and Arq’s help page will appear with step-by-step instructions on setting everything up at Google:

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The project number is shown on the project overview page in the Google Developers Console

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Choosing What to Back Up

If this is the first time you’re adding a destination to Arq, you’ll get a window like this:

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Click on “Set Up Backups”. Arq will configure itself to back up your home folder. You’ll be prompted to choose your encryption password. Once you’ve done that, you can quit Arq. Arq Agent does the backup work in the background.

Adding a Second Destination

If you’ve already got 1 destination and you’re adding Google Nearline as a second destination, you’ll be asked more questions. Instead of automatically creating a bucket for you, Arq will ask which bucket you would like to use. Choose to create a bucket, and check the “Use nearline storage” option and click Continue:

Backup nearline 100

Once you’ve added the destination, pick “Add Home Folder to Backups” from Arq’s menu (or, to add other folders, choose “Add Folder to Backups” and select a folder). Arq will ask which destination you’d like to add the home folder to. Choose your new Google Cloud Storage destination:

Backup nearline 130

You’ll be prompted to choose your encryption password. Once you’ve done that, you can quit Arq. Arq Agent does the backup work in the background.

As always, if you have questions, please send mail to support@haystacksoftware.com and we’ll help you out.

- Stefan

Arq Backs Up to Google Cloud Storage Nearline!

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March 14th, 2015

Arq 4.10 is now available, and it includes support for backing up to Google’s just-announced “nearline” storage!

Google Cloud Storage Nearline

Google’s new nearline storage is excellent for backups. Nearline pricing is super-cheap, like Amazon’s Glacier, but without Glacier’s hassles and confusing restore fee structure. Uploading is free. Downloading (if you need to restore) is $.12/GB for data transfer plus $.01/GB nearline-retrieval fee.

If you’re already paying for a Dropbox or Google Drive account with lots of storage, you can use Arq to back up to that storage. But if you want to only pay for what you use, Google Cloud Storage Nearline seems just about perfect. 

Download Arq from here (free trial), or pick “Check for Updates” from Arq’s menu to get the update (it’s a free update for all Arq 4 customers).

Where’s the Export My Stuff button in this app?

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March 4th, 2015

I’d love to use a note-taking app instead of the plain text files I’ve been using for years. I’d love the multimedia features, the searching. But every time I hear of a great one, I hesitate before jumping in. I wonder what’ll happen to the notes I create. I look for an Export button, but don’t find one.

Why does the stuff I create have to be trapped in the app? It’s my stuff, right?

Companies are, wittingly or unwittingly, offering to become stewards of my data. That’s a big responsibility. And companies don’t seem to take it very seriously.

Woven was a “free photo viewing app” with a home page that said, “Your photos may live in many places, but they only have one home.” That was last year. Now the home page is a big thank-you to their users and oh, by the way, “After April 6th, we will delete all of your personal data, photos, and videos.” If you missed this notification, or if you don’t follow the steps they outlined to request and then download your data, by the deadline, your stuff will be gone forever.

Last night at TechHub Boston the folks from HeyNow previewed their new chat app. It looked very nice. But they only store the past 30 days of chats; everything is deleted after 30 days. They said it was “impossible” (from a UI perspective I guess) to navigate conversations that were more than 30 days old. I don’t know what that means, but if the data were still available I imagine a UI could be created to make it more possible. I occasionally reference emails from years ago. As communication moves from email to chat, will I lose that ability?

I understand it’s much more convenient for the stuff I create to be stored in the cloud. It just isn’t a good permanent solution, especially if it’s someone else’s cloud. It’s not realistic for a company to promise to be responsible for my stuff forever. Companies come and go, and change. Just give me an Export button for my stuff and we’re good.

How to Archive To Glacier

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February 27th, 2015

Lots of people have emailed me asking for a way to put their stuff on Glacier and then delete it from their hard drives, because they’re running out of disk space. I used to think that disk space was becoming so plentiful that this would never be a problem, but the disk-space growth graph started over with the advent of SSDs, so I guess we’re not there yet!

Arq is our backup app that reliably backs up your files to your own Amazon Glacier account. It has always expected the files to remain on  your disk. But now we’ve changed that! You can pick a folder and mark it as an archive.

Add a folder to Arq, and choose “Glacier storage class” when prompted. (This is assuming you’re using AWS as your backup destination). When it’s been backed up, select it and click the “Detach” button:

Archive Folder to Glacier

The icon for the folder will change to a box, and the backups of that folder will stay in your AWS account, but Arq won’t try to back it up anymore. Now you can delete your files from your disk, but restore them from Glacier if you ever need them!

To “re-attach” the folder so that Arq starts backing up again, select it and click the “Attach” button (where the “Detach” button used to be):

Attach to Archived Folder

By the way, you can do this no matter what destination type you’re using, whether it’s Amazon Glacier, S3, Dropbox, Google Drive or SFTP.

As always, if you have any questions please email support@haystacksoftware.com and we’ll help you out.

- Stefan

Arq Backs Up to Your Dropbox Account

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February 23rd, 2015

Arq 4.8 is now available, and it includes support for backing up to your own Dropbox account!

If you already have a Dropbox with 1TB of space, now you can use that space for your Arq backups. The Arq backups go into the folder /Apps/Arq in your Dropbox account.

As always, all your data are encrypted before they leave your computer, using a password that only you know, so your files are safe and secure; and the backups are in an account that you control. All the other features of Arq apply as well, including versioned backups, full OS X metadata backups, email notifications, and the ability to restrict which wifi networks Arq uses.

You can even combine Dropbox with other destinations in Arq. For instance, you can back up all your files to both Dropbox and your SFTP server. Or back up some files to your Dropbox account, some files to your Google Drive account, some files to your Amazon account, and some files to your SFTP server. It’s entirely up to you. For example, I’m backing up a variety of folders to 4 different destinations:

Screen Shot 2015 02 23 at 11 02 39 AM

This update is free for all Arq 4 customers. Pick “Check for Updates” from Arq’s menu to get the update. Or download it here: Download

- Stefan

How to Recover Your Things Database with Arq

By

February 14th, 2015

The other day Wendy emailed me because Things crashed and she lost a lot of work, and she couldn’t figure out how to get back her data using Arq.

We traded a few emails over the next few hours, but it quickly became clear to me that she wasn’t wasn’t comfortable digging into her Library folder and move files around. So we jumped on Skype and did it together. She shared her screen with me so I could follow along with what she was doing.

The support person for the Things app had emailed her a web page with the location of the Things database, and we actually found some backups that the Things app had made by itself, but the newest one was a day old and the work she had lost had been added that morning.

So Wendy and I found a more recent Things database in her Arq backups and restored it.  Here’s how to do that:

  1. Quit the Things app.
  2. Click the Finder on the Dock.
  3. Click “Go to Folder” from the Finder’s “Go” menu, enter the path ~/Library/Containers/com.culturedcode.things/Data/Library/Application Support/Cultured Code/Things/ and click “Go”.
  4. Click the “ThingsLibrary.db” file once to highlight it.
     RecoverFromThings1
  5. Click it a second time to rename it. Change the name to “ThingsLibrary.db_old”.
    RecoverFromThings2
  6. Open Arq.
  7. Click the triangle next to your home folder.
  8. Select the most recent backup record (or whichever backup you want to use).
  9. Click the triangles to drill down to the same folder as mentioned in Step 3: Library/Containers/com.culturedcode.things/Data/Library/Application Support/Cultured Code/Things/
  10. Select the “ThingsLibrary.db” file and click the “Restore” button:
    Screen Shot 2015 02 14 at 10 30 40 AM
  11. Wait until Arq finishes restoring the file.
  12. Launch the Things app. You’ll see your Things data as of the backup date that you chose in step 8.
  13. To look at your Things database as of a different point in time, repeat the above steps, choosing a different backup record in step 8.

If you want to go back to the Things database you had before, quit Things, go back to the Finder, delete the “ThingsLibrary.db” file, and rename the “ThingsLibrary.db_old” file back to “ThingsLibrary.db”.

If you run into trouble with an app and you’re not sure how to restore the app’s data from a backup, send me email at support@haystacksoftware.com and we’ll figure it out!

Arq Backup to AWS Frankfurt Region

By

October 28th, 2014

Amazon Web Services just announced their new Frankfurt region 5 days ago, and now Arq supports it!

So if you’d like your data to stay in Germany, give Arq a try!

Starting with Arq in Germany

To get started, download Arq and launch it; choose Amazon, and choose the “EU (Frankfurt)” region:

Backup to AWS Frankfurt

Then enter your key pair, and that’s it! Arq will, by default, back up your home folder. (You can add other folders if you wish.)

Adding Germany to Arq

If you’re already using Arq, pick “Check for Updates” from Arq’s menu to get the update. Then go to Arq’s preferences and add a destination; choose Amazon and choose “EU (Frankfurt)” for the preferred AWS region:

AWS EU Frankfurt

Then choose a bucket name:

EU Frankfurt bucket

Back in the main window, pick “Add Home Folder to Backups” from the menu, or select “To Amazon Frankfurt” and click “Add a Folder to Backups” to add specific folders:

Add Folder to AWS Frankfurt

It’s not about the encryption. It’s about the encryption keys

By

October 16th, 2014

There’s a lot of talk on the interwebs about encryption. Encryption is a necessary but not sufficient condition for maintaining control of your data. Controlling access to the encryption key is just as important.

Lots of articles that reference encryption fail to mention this, and that’s confusing for people who are not crypto experts. For example, a recent TechCrunch article about Edward Snowden and Dropbox paraphrases Snowden recommending SpiderOak because Dropbox “doesn’t support encryption.” In the very next paragraph it quotes Dropbox saying all files “are encrypted while traveling and at rest on Dropbox’s servers.” Then it says the difference between SpiderOak and Dropbox is that SpiderOak “encrypts the data while it’s on your computer, as opposed to only encrypting it ‘in transit’ and on the company’s servers.” It circles around the key issue but never says it explicitly.

When you read things like, “All files sent and retrieved from Dropbox are encrypted while traveling between you and our servers”, that’s good and it guards against eavesdropping in transmit, but it misses the point. “Encrypted” is meaningless if it can be decrypted.

It’s about who controls the keys. It’s about giving keys/control to a third party who can then be compelled to give control to a government agency. If you give your unencrypted content to a third party, you’ve lost control of the content, and that’s irreversible. But if you give your content to a third party in encrypted form and also give the third party the keys (as in the case of Dropbox), you’ve still irreversibly lost control of the content.

Keep the Keys to Yourself

Encrypt your data with a key that only you know. Then send your encrypted bits to the third party. The third party only has unreadable random noise (the encrypted data) and no way to turn it into files (decrypt it).

Arq (our backup app) has been designed from day one to make sure you keep the encryption key. It asks you at setup time for an encryption key, stores it securely in your computer’s keychain, and never transmits it anywhere. To restore files to a new computer, you’ll need to use the Arq app to decrypt and you’ll need to supply it with that encryption key, or else it can’t decrypt the data.

When you read about products that include encryption, always ask yourself who has the keys.

Arq backs up to Google Drive storage

By

August 12th, 2014

The latest update to Arq includes support for backing up to your own Google Drive storage plan!

This is exciting for a few reasons:

  1. Google offers 15GB free storage, so if you don’t need to back up more than that, the storage is free.
  2. Google Drive for Work now includes unlimited storage for $10/month (if there are at least 5 users in your account — otherwise 1TB/user).
  3. With Google, there are no additional fees for requests, network transfer, or anything else.
  4. It’s super-easy to connect Arq to your Google Drive account using your email address and password; no key pairs to deal with.

As always, all your data are encrypted before they leave your computer, using a password that only you know, so your files are safe and secure; and the backups are in an account that you control. All the other features of Arq apply as well, including versioned backups, full OS X metadata backups, email notifications, and the ability to restrict which wifi networks Arq uses.

You can even combine Google Drive with other destinations in Arq. For instance, you can back up all your files to both Google Drive and your SFTP server. Or back up some files to your Google Drive storage, some files to your Amazon account, and some files to your SFTP server. It’s entirely up to you.

This update is free for all Arq 4 customers. Pick “Check for Updates” from Arq’s menu to get the update. Or download it here: Download

- Stefan