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How to create a backup plugin

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This article applies only to Backup4all. If you don't have it yet, you must download it first.

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Feb 18, 2019
Backup4all 7.x, 6.x, 5.x, 4.x
Windows 10, 8, 7
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To create a backup plugin for a specific program, you will need to install the Backup4all Plugin Creator and also another application that will monitor the 3rd party program installation. Using the information from the monitoring program, Backup4all Plugin Creator will generate an XML file (backup plugin) that can be loaded in Backup4all as a Predefined Backup. Please note that advanced computer skills are required to create a backup plugin.

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There are many products that can help you to monitor and record the system changes during the instalation process (ZSoft Uninstaller, Total Uninstall, InstallRite, ...).
For the purpose of this tutorial we used the ZSoft Uninstaller application, a free program.
The plugin must be configured so that it will add (when imported) in Backup4all as backup sources the files containing the program's settings, configurations, profiles, languages, themes and/or initialization files. The main ideea of the backup plugin is not to add as backup sources all installed files but only those that would be needed in case a restore is done (after the program is manually re-installed).

How to use ZSoft uninstaller when creating a plugin

Here are the steps to follow when monitoring an application:
  • Close all other running programs on your computer. You can use Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) to close the applications running in background.
  • Run ZSoft Uninstaller and perform a snapshot of your system before installing the program.
  • Install the program you want to monitor.
  • ZSoft Uninstaller will create another snapshot after the installation and compare it with the original one. After that ZSoft Uninstaller will generate a list with all changes made to your system.
Normally, installing a new program will:
  1. add and modify files
  2. create .ini files
  3. add and modify registry entries Out of the added/modified files or registry entries, you'll have to select only those that you want backed up.

How to use Backup4all Plugin Creator to create a plugin

First of all you need to download it using this link: Backup4all Plugin Creator.
In the zip file there is an executable (that is the actual program you have to run, no installation needed) and the help file for using Backup4all Plugin Creator. To create a plugin:
  1. Open Backup4all Plugin Creator.
  2. Select Create a new Custom Source XML. Click Next.
  3. Choose a path for the new plugin to be created or select the path of the existing plugin to be created.
  4. In the Name field, type a name and press the Generate GUID button.
  5. Specify the minimum and the maximum versions of the program for which the plugin works. Click Next.
  6. On the Add or remove sources page, you can Add sources or Add/Edit variables (see the help file for a description of the variables).
  7. To add a variable, click the Edit Variable button. Click Add and browse the registry keys.
  8. To add a source, click on Add button, type a tag name and select a path on hard disk or from registry entry. Here you can use the defined or the environmental variables.
  9. Click Finish. The XML file will be generated.

How to import and test a plugin using Backup4all

To import a plugin in Backup4all, go to Tools -> Options -> Install plugin.
Browse the computer to find the XML script file and click Ok. A confirmation message will be displayed if the plugin was successfully imported.
To test a plugin, you have to create a new backup job, select the new added backup plugin from the Predefined Backup list and see if the predefined backup job adds as sources all the necessary files.

Watch the video tutorial: how to create a backup plugin

How to restore a backup that was created using plugins

Before you restore a backup job that was created using a backup plugin, you need to re-install the corresponding program first. After the program that the plugin was created for is re-installed with its default configurations and settings, you can run the restore and overwrite those configuration files and other settings.

Sharing the plugin

If you want the plugin you created to be included in the online library of Backup Plugins email it to us using the Contact Us page. After we test and approve the plugin, we will upload it and give you credit for creating it.