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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 which folders (or disks) you wish to back up:

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

    The folder you wish to back up; 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 check mark 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.
The Déjà Vu menu bar icon
Notice the Déjà Vu menu bar icon. When a backup is in progress, small clock hands will appear within the icon to inform you of this. Otherwise, the normal circle icon is displayed whenever Déjà Vu is idle.

Within the menu itself you will find several useful bits of information:
  • While a backup is in progress, the first menu item will let you know which specific action is currently being performed. When files are actually being copied, it will display the percentage of files that have been copied so far. If the backup includes more than one item (as defined in Déjà Vu's main list of backup items), then you will also see the number of the current item Déjà Vu is working on. For example, if three different items are part of the current backup, you might see '[2/3]', followed by a percentage of files copied so far for the second item of three.

  • After at least one backup has been performed, the first menu item will display a green check mark if it finished successfully, or a yellow caution sign if any problems were detected. Next to this, the completion date and time are displayed. Select Show Details just below this to view the backup log. (You can also view the details of a backup which is currently in progress.)

  • If any backups have been scheduled, then the following section of the menu will display the dates and times of the next ten backups. You will also see "Snoozed until (time)" or "Resting" followed by a countdown timer displayed here if either of those two modes are active. (Rest mode is described below, and details regarding snooze mode may be found under "How do I schedule a backup?").

  • Next, you will find the current backup success rate. This tells you the percentage of backups which have finished successfully with no problems detected. Choose Show History to see the actual history which contains additional information.

  • At times, it may be inconvenient or undesirable to have Déjà Vu begin a scheduled backup. For these situations, you can tell Déjà Vu to rest for a while. Simply select the Rest menu item, specify a duration between one and eight hours, and no scheduled backups will be performed during this time. When rest mode is enabled, a countdown timer will be displayed in the "Next Backup" section of the menu. If you want to disable rest mode before the timer has run out, just select Rest again to uncheck (disable) it. Rest mode only applies to scheduled backups. Manual backups may still be performed at any time you wish.

  • When a backup is in progress, Stop Backup will allow you to stop it immediately, following a confirmation. Note that stopping a backup counts as an "error", since the backup did not finish successfully.

  • Finally, Open Déjà Vu offers a quick way to open the main Déjà Vu window.
Where can I back up my files?
Déjà Vu should be able to back up 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 'Back Up' button disabled?
The 'Back Up' button is used exclusively 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?
In the main table of items to be backed up, any checked items which are set to Daily, Weekly or Monthly will be automatically scheduled or updated as needed when you quit System Preferences.

View the Options > Schedules tab to see the various scheduling options. Hopefully, most of what is found there will be self-explanatory, but a few things are worth mentioning.
  • Days of the week may be individually toggled on or off as needed using the segmented control, thereby allowing, for example, daily backups to only be performed on weekdays.
  • Snooze: If you have multiple daily backups (i.e., if the "Repeating" checkbox is checked), you can tell Déjà Vu to stop performing these backups at night when you are sleeping, or during whatever time period you specify here. Note that snooze mode only applies to repeating daily backups. If you have a weekly or monthly backup scheduled to occur during the snooze period, it will still be performed. You will be informed when Déjà Vu is in snooze mode in the "Next Backup" section of the menu.
  • Snooze mode differs from rest mode (described earlier) in a few ways:
    • Snooze mode applies only to repeating (more than once per day) daily backups, whereas rest mode applies to all scheduled backups.
    • Snooze mode is defined by a regular, recurring schedule, whereas rest mode is enabled manually on an ad hoc basis.
    • Neither mode prevents you from performing manual backups whenever you wish.
  • The option to Wait until the user is inactive will delay scheduled backups from beginning until at least ten minutes have passed with no keyboard, mouse, or trackpad activity.
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.
  • 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' 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 'Back Up' button to begin.
  • After the backup has finished, select the new clone in the Startup Disk preference pane.
  • Restart your computer.
You do not need to perform the first two steps each time, but it is a good idea to at least do them once before your initial cloning attempt.

How can I exclude certain items from being backed up?
Whether you would like to conserve space on the destination disk or decrease the amount of time your backups take, you can specify that certain items be excluded from your backups. Exclusions can be added in the Options > Exclusions tab.

When you click the '+' button to add an exclusion, take note of the two checkboxes which appear near the bottom of the 'Choose' dialog:

Show hidden items (shortcut Cmd-S): This will toggle the visibility of hidden files and folders, thereby making it easier to select, for example, items inside your Library folder, which is hidden by default starting with Mac OS X Lion.

Exclude all similar items (shortcut Cmd-X): When unchecked, the selected file or folder will be excluded as expected. This is the simplest way of adding an exclusion. When checked, the exclusion that will be added depends on the item that you have selected:
  • If a folder is selected, then all folders with the same name will be excluded. For example, selecting any '.Trash' folder (which is hidden) would cause all '.Trash' folders to be excluded.
  • If a file name with an extension is selected, then all files with the same extension will be excluded. For example, selecting any file with a '.txt' extension would cause all '.txt' files to be excluded.
  • If a file name with no extension is selected, then all files with the same name will be excluded. For example, selecting any '.DS_Store' file (which are also hidden) would cause all '.DS_Store' files to be excluded.
If you need to do something more complicated than these rules allow for, more advanced or adventurous users can add their own custom exclusions/filters by editing the file /Library/Application Support/Deja Vu/filters.txt. This file will be automatically created after at least one backup has been performed.

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 performing 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 allows for versioned backups. When it is enabled, Déjà Vu will create a folder named '#DV_SafetyNet' at the root of each destination volume. During each backup, any files which have been modified or deleted since the previous backup will be archived in this folder. You can keep as many of these archives as you like, which allow you to go back and retrieve a document as it existed, say, three days or three weeks ago.

Safety Net can be configured at the bottom of the 'General' tab in the options. Here, you specify the maximum amount of available disk space that each Safety Net folder is allowed to occupy (between 5% and 90%). If and when a given Safety Net folder has exceeded this limit, Déjà Vu will delete the oldest archive folder from it to free up space.

You may also specify a minimum number of archive folders that should be retained no matter what, even if the maximum Safety Net space allowance defined above has been exceeded.

In any case, Safety Net will be automatically disabled on any disk whose capacity currently exceeds 90%.

How do I view the backup log?
Select Show Details from the Déjà Vu menu icon or click the appropriate 'Last Backup' button near the top of the main Déjà Vu window. (The 'Last 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. To handle this, 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.)


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 'Last Backup' button to view it.)
  • Use Disk Utility or DiskWarrior (or something similar) to repair any potential problems with 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 back up 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 back up your entire Home folder to a server, but it will probably not be possible for you to back up 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 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.