1. Why We Exclude Certain Files and Folders

TSM will by default back up the data on your local hard drive(s) and any locally-attached drives. However, for a variety of reasons, some files are excluded from backup as part of our Acceptable Use Policy. These files fall roughly into the following categories:
  • System files that would, in the event of loss, be best restored from the installation CD/DVD.
  • Files holding temporary or transient data which cannot be restored in a meaningful or useful state.
  • Files that are themselves backups of data.
  • Files holding copyrighted material.
  • Files held open by another application.
  • Files which cannot be restored due to operating system restrictions.
Generally, such files do not need to be backed up. After a complete system failure, an operating system is best reinstalled rather than restored from backup; programs, similarly, are best reinstalled from original media/re-downloaded. It is therefore a waste of resources to back up such files, and so both these types are excluded from backup on desktop/laptop machines. Certain other exclusion rules deal with files that are difficult or even impossible to back up (e.g. virtual machines). Individual user files - work, personal documents and so on - are not affected by these exclusions. The advantages of the exclusions are therefore as follows:
  • Backups are less likely to fail - a common cause of backup failure is locked system files, but if system files are not backed up then this problem will in many cases cease to be an issue.
  • Less data is sent during backup, using up fewer resources in terms of:
    • Backup duration - backups will run more quickly;
    • Quantity of data - with less data sent, users are less likely to hit the HFS daily backup limit; and the HFS will need to store less data.

2. List of Excluded Files and Folders

A summary of these excluded files is as follows; please note that this is a rough list and that it is not exhaustive. An up-to-date full list can be obtained in your client software by one of the two following methods:
  • Command line interface:
    dsmc q inclexcl
  • Graphical interface:

    Click Backup to open the backup window. Browse through your files/folders found under Local on the left-hand side. Items marked with a barred red circle (no-entry sign) will not be backed up.

2.1. Windows

The following are excluded from backup on all Windows systems:
  • Browser caches - temporary internet files from e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox.
  • Some other temporary folders, such as C:\temp.
  • Backups, such as NTBackup bkf and ARCserve ctf files.
  • MS SQL database files - please see our MS Exchange and SQL page if you wish to back these up.
  • BBC iPlayer downloads.
  • The Recycle Bin.
  • Virtual machines.
  • Suspected 'infected' files quarantined by Sophos.
  • Outlook cache files (*.ost).
Additionally, for desktop/laptop backups, Windows operating system files are excluded from backup. These include:
  • The system files in C:\WINDOWS.
  • The system files in C:\WINNT.
  • The system files in *:\Program Files
  • The system files in *:\Program Files (x86)
  • The Office install files in *:\MSOCache
  • Cache and generated files in
    • *:\...\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Search
    • *:\...\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft Help
    • *:\...\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\HelpLibrary
    • *:\...\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Defender
    • *:\...\All Users\Application Data\Apple Computer\Installer Cache
    • *:\...\All Users\Application Data\Apple\Installer Cache
    • *:\ProgramData\Application Data\Microsoft\Search
    • *:\ProgramData\Application Data\Microsoft Help
    • *:\ProgramData\Application Data\Microsoft\HelpLibrary
    • *:\ProgramData\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Defender
    • *:\ProgramData\Application Data\Apple Computer\Installer Cache
    • *:\ProgramData\Application Data\Apple\Installer Cache
    • *:\...\Application Data\...\Cache
  • The TSM installation files in C:\tsm_images, *:\...\tsm-*-win64.exe and *:\...\tsm-*-win32.exe
  • The following system files:
    • *:\io.sys
    • *:\config.sys
    • *:\msdos.sys
    • *:\pagefile.sys
    • *:\autoexec.bat
    • *:\boot.ini
    • *:\ntdetect.com
    • *:\hiberfil.sys
    • *:\bootmgr
    • *:\ntldr
  • System Object (Windows XP)
    • Certificate server database
    • Cluster Database (cluster node only)
    • COM+ database
    • Event logs (system, security and application)
    • Windows Registry
    • System and boot files
    • System Volume
    • Removable Storage Management Database (RSM)
    • Replicated file systems (FRS)
    • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
  • System Services (Windows 2003/Vista)
    • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS)
    • Event logs
    • Removable Storage Management Database (RSM)
    • Cluster Database (cluster node only)
    • Remote Storage Service
    • Terminal Server Licensing
    • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
    • Internet Information Services (IIS) metabase
    • Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
    • Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)
  • System State (Windows 2003/Vista/7/2008)
    • Active Directory (domain controller only)
    • System Volume
    • Certificate Server Database
    • COM+ database
    • Windows Registry
    • System and boot files
  • ASR - Automated System Recovery

These system files are excluded from backup because, in the event of system failure, they can only be restored to identical hardware (make, model, firmware, hardware and configuration). A restore to dissimilar hardware is not supported by Microsoft, as documented in their Knowledge Base.

After a system failure, we recommend that Windows operating system files are always restored using the original Windows media, or the Recovery/Restore CD/DVD that accompanies your machine.

2.2. Mac

The following are excluded from backup on all Mac systems:
  • Browser caches - temporary internet files from e.g. Safari or Firefox.
  • Some other temporary folders, such as /private/tmp.
  • Backups, such as Time Machine.
  • BBC iPlayer downloads.
  • The Trash folder.
  • Virtual machines.
Additionally, for desktop/laptop backups, Mac OS X operating system files are excluded from backup. These include:
  • /Desktop DB
  • /Desktop DF
  • /Applications
  • /System
  • /Network
  • /bin
  • /cores
  • /dev
  • /usr
  • /sbin
  • /net
  • /etc
  • /private (except various log files)
  • /tmp
  • /Users/.../Downloads/Tivoli Storage Manager*.mpkg
  • /.* (all folder starting . on the root of the boot drive)
  • All of /Library except the few folders known to contain configuration type information

2.3. Linux/Unix

The following are excluded from backup on all Linux and Unix systems:
  • Browser caches - temporary internet files from e.g. Firefox.
  • Some other temporary folders, such as /var/tmp/kdecache and the file system /tmp (the latter in Unix only).
  • BBC iPlayer downloads.
  • The Trash/Wastebasket folder.
  • Virtual machines.
  • a.out, /var/log/lastlog and core files.
Additionally, for desktop/laptop backups, Linux/Unix operating system files are excluded from backup. These include:
  • /boot
  • /cdrom
  • /dev
  • /devices
  • /dvdrom
  • /initrd
  • /kernel
  • /lib
  • /lib32
  • /lost+found
  • /opt
  • /platform
  • /proc
  • /sbin
  • /scripts
  • /selinux
  • /sys
  • /system
  • /tmp
  • /var/sadm
  • /var/tmp
  • /var/svc
  • /var/cache
  • /etc/svc/volatile
  • /bin
  • Any files at the root (/*)
  • All of /usr except /usr/local and /usr/src

2.4. NetWare

The following are excluded from backup on all NetWare systems:
  • The temporary files in SYS:SYSTEM/TSA/TEMP.
  • Various log files and other temporary files.

3. If You Need to Back Up Excluded Files...

If you need to back up any of the files listed above, this may still be possible. Some of these exclusions are negotiable, so if you feel you have good reason for having some of these files included in your backup, please contact hfs@ox.ac.uk with details.