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Metalogix Essentials for Office 365 2.4 - Creating a Backup

Scheduling Backup Operations

Besides the initial “New” backup, most users prefer to schedule their update operations to take place during a specific day or time.  Essentials for Office 365 uses an integration with Windows Task Scheduler to create and execute the scheduled operations, so let’s take a look at how to create these tasks.


NOTE: The update process is similar for each service, so the sake of brevity the following section will use a SharePoint Online backup project as the sole example.

The software offers an option to both “Generate Script” as well as “Schedule” on the bottom left of the Update Backup dialog.  In this example, we will be using this Schedule button.
Script and Schedule buttons

To schedule a backup update, please perform the following steps:

1.Select your existing backup project from the Backup Navigator, right click and choose Update or select the Update button in the Backup ribbon.

2.On the Update Backup dialog, select from the available options for either a Full, Incremental or Differential update.  For this example, we will choose the Incremental option.

3.Click the “Schedule” button on the bottom left to schedule your Incremental Update for this backup project.

4.A Schedule Task dialog will appear.  Please enter a Title that you wish to call this scheduled task and select the recurrence rate for which it should run.  Click Next to continue.
Scheduled Task Recurrence

5.On the next screen, select the day and time that you wish to have the Scheduled Task begin.  The following screenshot shows the configuration options for a “Weekly” recurrence, however the available options will differ depending on your selected recurrence.  Click Next to continue.
Configuration a weekly day and time scheduled start

6.The next page is a confirmation screen for the soon to be created scheduled update task.  If you are satisfied with the configuration, click Finish to continue.  If you would like to make a change, click the Back button now.

7.When you click Finish, a login prompt will appear.  On this page you will be given the chance to save a local Windows user account with the scheduled task or not to include this user.  We have found that the majority of users need to save an account with their task so that is the recommendation.

a.If you choose to store the Windows user account, enter the Windows username that was used to activate the Essentials for Office 365 solution in the typical domain\user format (i.e. contoso\admin).  Then enter this account’s Windows password into the second field and again in the third to confirm.  Click OK to continue.

b.If you choose to not store the Windows user account, then select the No option and click OK to continue.


NOTE: When storing the Windows account, please be absolutely sure that the username and password being entered is correct.  The software does not validate the user nor password, so if a mistake is made in this step the task may not appear in Windows Task Scheduler.  If that happens, you will need to begin this process again.

8.If you have not already, you may receive another prompt to login credentials.  The credentials being requested here are for SharePoint Online and need to be stored with the scheduled task.  Please enter a username and password for has at least Full Owner (Site Collection Administrator recommended) and click OK to validate.  If the login prompt disappears, then the credentials are validate.  If you receive an error message, please double check your credentials and try again.


NOTE: When storing an Office 365 or Windows User Account with the task please remember that if the password expires or changes, then the scheduled tasks will fail to execute successfully.  

Therefore it is recommended to use an account that has the password set to Never Expire.

10.You should now receive a message indicating that the task was created successfully and Windows Task Scheduler should automatically open.  If Windows Task Scheduler does not open, please use the Windows search function to locate and open it manually.

11.Essentials for Office 365 stores all of its scheduled tasks in the “Architect Tasks” folder located in the Windows Task Scheduler left navigator (Task Scheduler (Local) > Task Scheduler Library > Architect Tasks).  Click on this Architect Tasks folder and you should now see the scheduled task that we just created in the center view.  You may now select the task and make any additional changes you wish using the native controls of Windows Task Scheduler. METALO~1_img25
Essentials for Office 365 scheduled tasks location in Windows Task Scheduler

12.You may now close Windows Task Scheduler and Essentials for Office 365 or if you wish to create additional scheduled tasks, please repeat this process again.

Frequently Asked Questions and Scenarios

Here is a collection of questions and scenarios that users have sent us.

Q:  Windows Task Scheduler showed a status of “Running” and then quickly changed back to “Ready”.  Is my backup done and if not, how can I tell if the backup is still running?

A:  The task in Windows Task Scheduler is designed to run for just a few seconds as what is actually happening is that it is only starting the operation (which takes just a few seconds).  Once the operation has started then the task has been completed, but that does not mean the backup is complete or that it stopped.

Scheduled or scripted operations are designed to run in the background, so there are no UI or visual indicators as to its progress.  If you would prefer UI based updates, then you can run the backups manually using the Backup “Update” option.

To determine if a scheduled backup is still running, look in the following places:

Windows Task Manager – If you open Windows Task Manager and see one or MetaVis.exe processes running, then it is still in progress.

Check your email – If you configured the Send Notification option, then you will receive an email when the operation is complete.

Check your backup storage location – If new files or directories are being created, then the backup is still running.

Check the Essential’s log – Essential’s logs for scheduled tasks are stored in the below default location.  If you navigate there and see that the log is increasing in size or has been modified recently, then the operation is still in progress.

Q:  My backup has been running for a long time, how much longer will it take?

A:  This is a difficult question to answer because there are many variables involved with a backup operation and Office 365.  A couple of points to be conscious of are that the more content (SharePoint sites, OneDrive for Business users and Office 365 Mailboxes) that is included the longer the operation will take to process.  We are basically downloading a large amount of content from Office 365 through your network connection and then writing this data to a disk, this can be a somewhat time consuming operation.  You also have to consider the options that were configured (All OneDrive sites, all versions, include permissions) that can add to the total time as well as the very real possibility of throttling.  If you have not already, we would encourage you to review our Essentials for Office 365 Performance Optimization Guide for tips to maximize performance.

Q:  Why is my scheduled task failing to start?

A:  Your scheduled task may not start because you did not save Windows credentials with the task or maybe because you did save Windows credentials with the task.  I know this sounds confusing but there have been situations where some computer require the credentials to run while others require that they don’t have them to run.  So if your task is failing to start, try adding or removing credentials which can be done in Windows Task Scheduler by editing the ‘General’ Properties of the task and changing the run using this user account value or enabling/disabling the Do not store password option.

While you are editing the task, you may also want to enable the “Run with highest privileges” option as well.  This has proven to help in some environments as well.

Q:  I created a scheduled task but it did not appear in Windows Task Scheduler, why?

A:  The most likely cause is because when you created the scheduled task in Essentials for Office 365, you chose the option to store a Windows username and password in the task and the username or password you entered was either incorrect or not yours.  If it was incorrect, it will not appear and if it was not you, then you may not have the appropriate permissions to view it.  Either case, this task will not run and should be recreated either by not storing the credentials or using an appropriate Windows user account when prompted.

Q:  My backup completed, but there is content missing.  Where is it?

A:  The first place to look is the Essential’s log file.  You can access the log files through the software by going to the Backup tab and clicking the Logs button in the ribbon.  From the log viewer dialog, click History and then locate and double click this particular backup operation.  Scroll through or select Failed from the dropdown to locate any potential failures that may have occurred.

Failures may be related to network connectivity, running out of system resources (memory), throttling or a host of other issues.  If the errors are infrequent, you may consider waiting for the next scheduled backup (full or differential) to run or if they are severe, you may wish to manually run another update at this time.

Q:  Windows Task Scheduler indicates that the task completed, however I do not see anything being backed up.  What happened?

A:  If the task successfully starts, however the backup itself does not then the most common cause is an authentication issue and the first place to check is Office 365.  The task stores both a username and password, so if you recently changed your password or if it has expired, then you will need to update it appropriately in the task.

You can also check to make sure the task is configured to run as the user who activated the Essential’s software.  Since the license activation is associated to a specific user, if the task tries to run as someone else then it will fail to execute immediately.

Same goes for the storage location.  If you are storing in the cloud and the storage credentials change then the task will need to be updated.  If you are storing locally, perhaps to a network location, and your Windows credentials or permissions are changed, then the software can access the backup storage location and will therefore fail to run.

If you are unsure, be sure to check the Essential’s log files located in Backup > Logs > History or directly from the computer at C:\Users\[userProfile]\Metavis\.metadata\cmdLog.

Q:  In the Backup Navigator, there appears to be missing snapshots.  What should I do now?

A:  A missing backup or snapshot in your project can be an indication that the task did not execute at all.  First you will want to check the task in Windows Task Scheduler to confirm that it was indeed scheduled for this day and time.  While in Task Scheduler, select the task and click on the History tab and check the entries for any specific error message.  While this message can sometimes be difficult to understand, they will at least let you know if it attempted to run at that scheduled time.  If the task is configured to run only when the user is logged on, do you recall if it was logged off at the scheduled start time?

If nothing conclusive yet, you can check the Essential’s log files located in your user workspace which by default is C:\Users\[UserName]\Metavis\.metadata\cmdLog.  In this directory, look for the log file that corresponds to the scheduled start time of your task.  The file name will be in the format

TaskName.YYYYMMDDHHMMSS.xml.  If the file is not there, then the operation most likely never started.  

For this situation, select this task from within Windows Task Scheduler, right click and choose Run.


Next Steps

Now that you have read through the documentation and better understand the basic configuration and planning involved with the backup process, you should be ready to give it a try in your environment.

For more documentation please see this link:


This guide is designed to provide you with a basic understanding of how the backup process is configured and run through the Essentials for Office 365 solution.  We encourage you to use this as a quick start guide to configuring and creating your first backup project.  If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to support using the button available in the software’s Help ribbon.

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