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Course backups are important to ensure you do not lose materials that you might need. There are two ways that course backups can be run, either automatically or manually. 

Automated course backup

Totara has an automated course backup system that you can run on a nightly basis to export all course content for the entire site.

The course backup tool in Totara actually runs the same functions as an individual course backup. It simply runs automatically on all of the courses on the site at a designated time. It’s a good idea to schedule backups for when your server isn’t usually busy. Running the backup tool over all the courses can be processor-intensive, so you shouldn’t run it when there are a lot of learners trying to access the server.

The backup page lets you set the types of content to be backed up. If you are running a nightly full-server backup (which is strongly recommended), we suggest you use the following settings:

  • Include modules and module user data: Click both of these check boxes to preserve all learner work for each course.
  • Users: Set this to All. If you need to restore your Totara server from a backup, you don’t want to lose any accounts, even if they aren’t associated with a current course.
  • User files: Check this as well. You want the restored server to look as much like the original as possible, so all user files should be restored.
  • Course files: Click this check box. You’ll need to deal with a lot of angry trainees if they have to restore all of their course files after you restore the server.
  • Keep: This setting determines how many old backups will be saved. Set this as high as you can without taking up too much space on your server. If you need to restore a course a few days after you run the backup, you’ll be glad you have a few weeks’ worth of data.

To set the backup schedule:

  1. Click the Active check box. This turns on the automated backup system.
  2. Click the days of the week to run the  backup. 

    Backing up every day is recommended.

  3. Set the execution time for the backup process. For most servers, early morning is the best time.
  4. Set the Save to... path. If you can, choose a backup path on another machine or on a different drive than the one Totara is on. You don’t want to lose your backups at the same time you lose your Totara site if the drive fails. If you leave the field blank, then backup ZIP files will be saved in the backup folder of each course files folder.
  5. Click Save changes.

Once you have set up your backup schedule, Totara automatically creates archives of all the courses on the server at the time you specified. Once the backup is complete, Totara sends you an email describing the status of the backup. Any courses which are unavailable to learners and have not been changed in the last month are automatically skipped in the backup process.

In addition to setting automated course backup, we strongly recommend that you perform regular site backups.

Manual course backup

A course can be saved with some or all of its parts by using the course backup. Typically the site administrator sets a schedule of automated course backups for the whole site. A trainer with editing privileges can create a backup or download an existing backup for safe keeping, or for use on another Totara site.

Automated course backup requires the Totara cron to be running in order to function. Cron is used to run tasks such as backups and sending emails periodically so it must be enabled.

To backup an individual course, click Backup in the Course administration block and follow the instructions.

Restore a course from a backup

Courses can be restored from a backup made by Totara. Course backups are usually stored in the backup data folder within the course files folder. There is a restore link next to every course backup.

The backup and restore process is a common way of moving or copying specific courses from one Totara to another.

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