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Déjà Vu Help



What is Déjà Vu?
Déjà Vu is a preference pane which allows you to:
  • Perform scheduled or manual backups of important folders
  • Produce a bootable clone of your system disk
  • Mirror the contents of folders
It is also the strange feeling of having seen or experienced something before.

How do I use Déjà Vu?
It's pretty simple:
  • Click the lock and enter an Administrator password.

  • Show Déjà Vu the folder(s) you wish to backup:

  • When:
    How often the folder should be backed up (Daily, Weekly, Monthly or Manually).

    The folder you wish to backup; the source folder.

    The folder where the files should be copied; the destination folder.

    TIP: Any items which are unchecked in the first column will be ignored.

  • Click 'Options' to set schedules, notification preferences and other backup options.

  • Once Déjà Vu has performed at least one backup, you will be able to view the most recent backup log by clicking the appropriate button near the top of the window. A small icon next to each button indicates whether or not any errors were detected during the backup. A green checkmark icon means the backup finished successfully. A yellow caution icon means that one or more errors were detected during the backup. You can view the backup log to see them.
Where can I backup my files?
Déjà Vu should be able to backup to just about any storage device which can be mounted by the Finder and appear on your desktop. Déjà Vu will verify that all required disks are available before proceeding.

Why is my 'Backup' button disabled?
The 'Backup' button is used to perform manual backups. Therefore, it is only enabled if you have at least one checked item in the list whose 'When' column is set to 'Manually'.

How do I schedule a backup?
Any checked items which are set to Daily, Weekly or Monthly will be automatically scheduled or updated as needed when you quit System Preferences.

How do I add more folders to be backed up?
Click the '+' button to add items to the list. Click the '-' button to remove items from the list. Both buttons are located beneath the list of items to be backed up.

How do I restore files from a backup?
There really isn't any concept of "backup" and "restore" in Déjà Vu. It simply copies files from one location to another. So, you would just reverse the direction of the backup. (Select the folder you wish to restore in the 'What' column, and choose your desired destination in the 'Where' column.)

How do I synchronize folders?
If you check 'Mirrored synchronization' in the Options-General tab, Déjà Vu will delete any files from the destination folder which are no longer present in the source folder. Naturally, you should be careful when using this option.

Mirroring is one-directional. In other words, it will make the destination folder look just like the source folder, but not the other way around.

How do I clone my system disk?
Here are the recommended steps:
  • Use Disk Utility or DiskWarrior (or something similar) to repair any potential problems with your startup disk.
  • Use Disk Utility to erase the destination drive, using a volume format of Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • You may need to change your Energy Saver prefs to prevent your hard drives from sleeping. (This depends on the drive type and manufacturer, and may not be necessary.)
  • Open Déjà Vu and select your entire startup disk in the 'What' column. Then select a destination disk in the 'Where' column.
  • Click 'Options' and enable 'Repair disk integrity' and 'Repair disk permissions' for your backup. The startup disk cannot actually be repaired while it is being used, so it will only be verified and any errors will be reported to you. Also note that when verifying the startup disk, your computer may become slow and unresponsive for a few minutes until the verification process finishes.
  • Click 'OK' to close the Options sheet.
  • If you are performing a manual backup, click the 'Backup' button to begin.
  • After the backup has finished, select the new clone in the Startup Disk preference pane.
  • Restart your computer.
You don't need to perform the first two steps each time, but it's a good idea to at least do them once before your initial cloning attempt.

How does Auto-Connect work?
Déjà Vu can automatically connect to a server and mount a remote volume before a backup begins. After the backup has finished, the volume will be unmounted if Déjà Vu mounted it.

Here's how to set things up:
  • Click 'Options' and select the 'Auto-Connect' tab. After checking 'Automatically connect to server', provide the requested information. Enter the name of the server. When connecting to a Windows or Linux computer, the server name should normally begin with 'smb://' to indicate that the SMB/CIFS protocol should be used. Next, enter the name and password that you use to connect to the server. (Both fields are case-sensitive.) Finally, enter the volume name (also referred to as the "share name") in the 'Volume' field.
  • Click 'Connect'. The remote volume should mount and become visible in the Finder. If nothing happens, refer back to the previous step and verify the information you entered.
After successfully perfoming the above steps, Déjà Vu should be able to handle things for you transparently. Note that you must be logged in for Auto-Connect to work.

IMPORTANT: If you are backing up to a Windows server, you must use the 'Connect' button in the 'Auto-Connect' tab to mount the volume before you select the source and destination folders (in the 'What' and 'Where' columns). If you select the source and destination folders when the volume has been mounted by the Finder, Déjà Vu will not be able to find the destination when it auto-connects to the volume at backup time.

What is Safety Net?
Safety Net (available in Déjà Vu 3.1 and later) adds support for versioned backups. (See the Safety Net tab in the Options sheet.)

When Safety Net is enabled, changed and deleted files will be archived in the Safety Net folder, which is in your Documents folder by default. You can keep as many of these archives as you like, which will allow you to go back and retrieve a document as it existed, say, three days or three weeks ago.

How do I view the backup log?
Click the appropriate 'Most Recent Backup' button near the top of the window. (The 'Most Recent Daily Backup' button will also display the most recent manual backup log.)

Do I need to be logged in for the backups to occur?
By default, removable volumes are only mounted when a user is logged in. Here are two possible workarounds:

  • Turn on Fast User Switching if necessary, and instead of logging out from the Apple menu, select 'Login Window...' from the Fast User Switching menu (the rightmost menu in your menu bar). If you don't like the idea of leaving your account logged in, you could create a new user (in System Preferences->Accounts) and leave that user logged in instead.
  • Alternatively, if you know what you are doing, enter the following command in a Terminal window:
  • sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount AutomountDisksWithoutUserLogin -bool true

    (A restart will be required before this change will take effect.)

What happens if my Mac is powered off or sleeping at the scheduled backup time?
If your Mac is powered off or sleeping at the scheduled backup time, that particular backup will be skipped. However, there are at least two ways of dealing with this problem:

  • Open System Preferences > Energy Saver and schedule your computer to start up a minute or two before your backup begins. (This will also wake your Mac if it is sleeping.)
  • Download and install Anacron, which will ensure that your backups are performed as closely as possible to the appropriate daily, weekly or monthly intervals, regardless of when your computer is actually on. It will periodically check for overdue backups and perform them as necessary. (This is very useful for laptop owners.)
Are you responsible for any loss of data from using Déjà Vu?
No. You should not lose any data if you use Déjà Vu wisely. Try it out on a few test folders first and see how it works for you. Be especially careful when using the 'Mirrored synchronization' option. Remember that in this case, any files in the backup destination folder which do not exist in the backup source folder will be deleted.

How do I uninstall Déjà Vu?
Run the uninstaller included in the Déjà Vu download archive inside the "Extras" folder.

If you take the time to let us know why you have chosen to uninstall Déjà Vu, it may be helpful as we continue to make improvements to it.

Déjà Vu isn't working at all for me! What can I do?
  • Check the backup log for any errors. (Click the appropriate 'Most Recent Backup' button to view it.)
  • Use Disk Utility or DiskWarrior (or something similar) to repair any potential problems with your startup disk.
  • Use Disk Utility to repair permissions on your startup disk.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Déjà Vu installed.
  • Restart your computer.
If you still experience problems, click 'Visit Support Page' in the Déjà Vu help sheet for additional help resources.

Why am I getting an error that says "One of the backup paths could not be found"?
Here are a few potential reasons:
  • Either the source or the destination drive is unavailable (unmounted or sleeping).
  • You're backing up to a server, and one or more of the following characters are present somewhere in the path(s) to your source folder(s): ' " ( ) ? * \. (If the name of your source folder does not contain any of these characters, then check the name of its parent folder.) You should normally be able to use most of these characters (with the exception of double quotes) when performing local backups, but they will cause problems when doing network backups and are best avoided.
  • After a backup was scheduled, a folder name that was part of the backup path was renamed or moved, which is preventing the backup script from finding the destination path. The solution is to open Déjà Vu, reselect any folders which aren't displaying a folder icon, and quit System Preferences. (Your scheduled backups will automatically be updated upon quitting.)
Why am I getting errors when backing up to a server?
The most important thing to be aware of when backing up to a server is that you will most likely only be able to successfully backup items which are owned by you. You can check this from the Finder by selecting a file and opening a 'Get Info' window (look under 'Ownership & Permissions'). This restriction means that you should be able to backup your entire Home folder to a server, but it will probably not be possible for you to backup much more than that (the entire startup disk, for example) when performing a network backup.

Obviously, a successful network backup will depend in part on the configuration of the server. Assuming the server is configured appropriately, it is important to realize that each file-sharing protocol has its own restrictions which may be causing you trouble.

If you are backing up to another Mac (via AFP), there may be a 31-character limit on file names. If you have any file names which are longer than this, you may be seeing errors because of it.

Another thing to be aware of is that different filesystems may consider certain characters in your file names invalid. When performing a network backup, you should realize that using forward or backward slashes, colons, and single or double quotes in your file or folder names may cause errors. It's generally safest if you can stick to using alphanumeric characters in your file names.

Why am I running out of disk space?
If you have run out of free space on your disk, check your Safety Net Archives folder (found in your Documents folder by default). If the archives there are taking up too much space, consider doing one of the following:

1. Disable Safety Net in Déjà Vu's Options.
2. Tell Safety Net to keep fewer archives.
3. Choose a new location for the Safety Net folder (i.e., on a different disk).

Why won't it accept my registration info?
Both the name and the code are case-sensitive. (Note that your "name" might actually be an email address.) Make sure there are no extra spaces or other characters in either field. It's best to copy and paste the information directly from your registration email.