How can I have my deleted files restored from tape backups?

The system and user disks are backed up daily at 10pm. In order for a file to be restored, the file must be present at 10pm to be copied to tape. We do not backup the temporary filesystems.

Requesting File Restoration

If you need to have files restored from backup tapes, you need to send mail to

asking for this to be done. You need to supply the following information:

  1. The absolute pathnames of each file/directory you want restored, e.g. /accounts/projects/foobar, or just ~joe/pathname if you are user joe and the pathname is in your home directory. If the file you want restored is your system mailbox, specify the pathname /var/mail/username.

  2. The date and time they were deleted

  3. The date and time the files were last modified (very important)

Usually the restorations can be done within 24 hours of the request. The files can usually be reconstructed to their state prior to the last backup which was done before they were destroyed. Since backups are done once every day, it is possible to lose whatever work was done during the previous 24 hours.

There is a $20 service fee (and if applicable, the cost of media) to recover files from any account that has been closed.

Backup Schedule
  • Daily back-ups are performed Monday through Saturday at 10:00 pm. Each tape is retained for 6 days before being rotated on a new cycle. A daily backup tape contains a snap-shot of the file systems and reflects the content of the files prior to the time of the creation of the previous weekly backup tape (or monthly tape if the daily tape was created before the first weekly is scheduled). Incremental changes to files can be recovered on a daily basis from subsequent daily backup tapes for up to six days.

  • Weekly back-ups are performed on Sunday night at 10:00 pm. Each tape is retained for 5 weeks before being rotated on a new cycle. A weekly backup reflects the content of the files prior to the time of the creation of the previous monthly backup tape. Incremental changes to files can be recovered on a weekly basis from subsequent weekly backup tapes for up to five weeks.

  • Monthly back-ups are performed on the first Sunday night of each month between the hours of 5:00pm and 12:00 midnight. All EML computers are unavailable while monthly back-ups are in progress. Monthly backup tapes are retained for 4 months before being rotated on a new cycle. A monthly backup tape reflects the content of the files prior to the time of the creation of the previous monthly backup tape. At the end of each spring and fall semesters a set of monthly backup tapes is archived and is retained for 5 years.

  • Policy

    In the event of a catastrophic disaster, for example, damage resulting from either an earthquake, fire, or bomb, access to the computing facilities and/or entry to Evans Hall may be prohibited on either a temporary or permanent basis. Users must be aware that the EML does not store information off-site. (outside of Evans Hall) If a user has a need for that level of protection, the user is responsible for maintaining their own backups.