Get Backup Pro

How to Restore a Get Backup Archive Manually

The technologies used in Get Backup allow you to restore files from the backup archive without using the Get Backup application. This may be necessary if the hard drive crashed and the user doesn't have access to the installed copy of Get Backup or to the license code.

Note that offered methods (except extraction from *.tar and *.tgz files) require using the shell applications. They don't have graphic user interface what may cause difficulties to inexperienced users. Incorrect user actions may cause unpredictable consequences including loss of data. If you are not familiar with shell applications, use Get Backup to restore your files.

General Approach

The format of the final backup file depends on the project settings. The file extension indicates the file format. During the backing up process, the original data may be converted in several steps through intermediate formats. Each conversion adds a new file extension so that you can track down all the steps. To get the data back, you should convert the backup file in the reverse order.

For example, you create a backup with compression and the Blowfish encryption. At first, the program creates a compressed archive (the ".tgz" extension indicates this). Then the archive is encrypted. The ".bfe" extension is added to the file name. The final file name looks as "incr20090406091746n.tgz.bfe". To extract the backed up files, you should analyze the file name from the end. In our example, run the Blowfish decryption and then expand the compressed archive.

To restore the files from the backup archive:

  1. Find the appropriate command line pattern by the backup file extension.
  2. Modify the command line (see the directions near each command line pattern).
  3. Run the command line in the Terminal.app window.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 if needed to get the file(s) in the original format.

You may have several backup archives related to the same backup project. Get Backup places them into the same folder. The content of these archives depends on the selected backup method. The backup may include all or only modified files.

Full Archive

The full archive contains the most recent versions of all files listed in the backup project. Extract them and place them into the proper folder. The backup archive file name begins with "full" (for example, "full20090330102206n.tgz").

Versioned Archive

Each versioned archive contains all files listed in the backup project. Extract files from the most recent versioned archive and place them into the proper folder. The backup archive file name begins with "vers" (for example, "vers20090330102206n.tgz").

Incremental Archive

You may have a series of incremental archives. Each contains only those files that were modified after the previous archive creation. The incremental archive may contain empty folders to retain the file structure when no files in the original folders require backing up. To restore all the files in the most recent versions, you should extract all the archives to separate folders. The first (oldest) archive contains all the files listed in the backup project. Use the files and folders extracted from this archive as the basis. Move or copy the newest versions of files there preserving the structure of included files and folders. The backup archive file name begins with "incr" (for example, "incr20090330102206n.tgz").

File Extensions

The file extension depends on whether or not the archive was compressed, encrypted or split onto parts. If multiple features were activated, multiple file extensions will be attached to the file name one after another.

Extension Description What to do
.tar Archive Double-click in Finder
or
run a shell command
.tgz Compressed archive Double-click in Finder
or
run a shell command
.bfe Blowfish encryption Run a shell command
.3des Triple DES encryption Run a shell command
.aes128 AES-128 encryption Run a shell command
.aes256 AES-256 encryption Run a shell command
.aaa
.aab
...
Backup was split into parts Run a shell command

Backup archives may be split into parts. The consecutive parts will have the additional extension added in the end. The extension consists of three letters that change in the alphabetical order depending on the part number:
.tar.aaa — part 1;
.tar.aab — part 2;
.tar.aac — part 3;
etc.

Examples of Command Lines

The openssl application is used for decryption. The cat application is used to concatenate parts of the archive. The tar application is used to extract files from archives. To run command line applications, use the Terminal.app application located in the Applications/Utilities folder.

In the examples below, the part of the command line that you may change is highlighted with the gray color. Don't modify the text written in black color.

To use a command:

  1. Copy the command to a text editor (for instance, TextEdit.app).
  2. Replace the sample path(s) with the actual file path(s). Replace the password if you have an encrypted backup. Retain the spaces that separate the parts of the command line. If a "space" symbol is present in the file or folder name, or in the password, replace it with "\ " (two symbols slash and space) in the command line. For example, use "document\ 1.txt" instead of "document 1.txt".
  3. Select the command line and copy it (Cmd-C).
  4. Open the Terminal.app application located in the Applications/Utilities folder.
  5. Paste the command (Cmd-V) and press the Return key.

If you need to stop the process in the Terminal.app application urgently, press Ctrl-C.

Note that command line tools are case sensitive.

Concatenate Parts (*.aaa, *.aab)

cat ~/path/vers20090701135457n.tar.aaa ~/path/vers20090701135457n.tar.aab > ~/path/backup.tar

Here:
~/path/vers20090701135457n.tar.aaa — the path to the first part.
~/path/vers20090701135457n.tar.aab — the path to the second part (if you have more parts, put the path to each separating them with the space symbol).
~/path/backup.tar — the output file path.

The input files (parts) must be present in the command line in the correct order: *.aaa then *.aab then *.aac and so on.

Decrypt a Blowfish Archive (*.bfe)

openssl enc -in ~/path/vers20090701143400n.tar.bfe -bf -d -k password > ~/path/backup.tar

Here:
~/path/vers20090701143400n.tar.bfe — the path to an archive encrypted using the Blowfish algorithm.
password — the password used to encrypt the archive.
~/path/backup.tar — the output file path.

Decrypt a Triple DES Archive (*.3des)

openssl enc -in ~/path/vers20090701151110n.tar.3des -des3 -d -k password > ~/path/backup.tar

Here:
~/path/vers20090701151110n.tar.3des — the path to an archive encrypted using the Triple DES algorithm.
password — the password used to encrypt the archive.
~/path/backup.tar — the output file path.

Decrypt a AES-128 Archive (*.aes128)

openssl enc -in ~/path/vers20090701151110n.tar.aes128 -aes-128-cbc -d -k password > ~/path/backup.tar

Here:
~/path/vers20090701151110n.tar.aes128 — the path to an archive encrypted using the AES-128 algorithm.
password — the password used to encrypt the archive.
~/path/backup.tar — the output file path.

Decrypt a AES-256 Archive (*.aes256)

openssl enc -in ~/path/vers20090701151110n.tar.aes256 -aes-256-cbc -d -k password > ~/path/backup.tar

Here:
~/path/vers20090701151110n.tar.aes256 — the path to an archive encrypted using the AES-256 algorithm.
password — the password used to encrypt the archive.
~/path/backup.tar — the output file path.

Extract an Archive (*.tar)

tar -xf ~/path/vers20090723131157n.tar -C ~/Desktop/backup/

Here:
~/path/vers20090723131157n.tar — the path to the compressed archive.
~/Desktop/backup/ — the path to a folder where to place extracted files.

An alternative way to extract files from a *.tar archive is to double-click on it in Finder.

Extract a Compressed Archive (*.tgz)

tar -zxf ~/path/incr20090330190323n.tgz -C ~/Desktop/backup/

Here:
~/path/incr20090330190323n.tgz — the path to the compressed archive.
~/Desktop/backup/ — the path to a folder where to place extracted files.

An alternative way to extract files from a *.tgz archive is to double-click on it in Finder.

Decrypt a AES-256 Archive and Extract Files

This example shows how decryption and extraction can be combined in one command line.

openssl enc -in ~/path/vers20090701153031n.tgz.aes256 -aes-256-cbc -d -k password | tar -zxv -C ~/Desktop/backup/

Here:
~/path/vers20090701153031n.tgz.aes256 — the path to a compressed archive encrypted using the AES-256 algorithm.
password — the password used to encrypt the archive.
~/Desktop/backup/ — the path to an existing folder where the extracted files will be written.



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Nick Shubin
Published: July 2009
Last reviewed: January 2016