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Is the Evernote backup situation really this appalling?


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I have a somewhat large and complicated Evernote database that is growing everyday. My anxiety regarding backups is also growing everyday. In the following paragraphs I have listed what I think I understand about the backup situation in Evernote.  I know the Evernote servers are backed up and through the syncing process can restore a copy of the most recent data lost when a PC is stolen for example. However, call me a pessimist but I prefer to never, ever, rely only on a vendor's web server backup procedures to protect my data and sometimes there are good reasons to want to restore an entire  database back to a previous point in time.

Please correct any misunderstandings I may have:

1. For trivial databases Evernote has you covered. If your database is just one "notebook"  consisting of a continuous list of notes, no matter how many, you can simply export to the ENEX file format and should you ever need to restore your database from the ENEX file you'll get everything back just the way it was. Great.

2. If you are a premium subscriber and need to restore a specific note to a previous state you can probably do that using the version history feature. Great.

3. For complicated databases with many notebooks and stacked notebooks however, the restore situation is quite different. You'll get all of your text and images back, but you will lose all of the organization of your database . All of your notes, regardless of what notebook they were in originally and how those notebooks were stacked, will be restored in the same notebook called "Imported Notes"  and it will be up to you to manually recreate all of your separate  notebooks, manually move each note back to its original notebook, and to manually recreate how the notebooks were stacked. Yikes!

4. Whether you backup the Evernote database folders on your PC with backup software or manually export ENEX files, the situation during a restore is ultimately exactly the same. Either option  involves creating an ENEX file and losing the organizational structure of your original database during the restore. If you simply restore the Evernote database folders and files from a backup your PC backup software has created,  you will temporarily have a restored database, until the Evernote web server overwrites everything during the next sync putting you right back to where you were before the restore.

I am hoping I missed something and there really is a way to actually restore an Evernote database properly to it's original condition, including the original organization of individual notebooks and stacked notebooks, without spending an enormous amount of time manually restoring the original organization of the notes. Please correct any misunderstandings in what I wrote above  and offer any alternative methods that result in a true restoration of the Evernote database.

Thanks!

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  • 1 year later...
On 10/19/2019 at 11:33 AM, js2442 said:

I have a somewhat large and complicated Evernote database that is growing everyday. My anxiety regarding backups is also growing everyday. In the following paragraphs I have listed what I think I understand about the backup situation in Evernote.  I know the Evernote servers are backed up and through the syncing process can restore a copy of the most recent data lost when a PC is stolen for example. However, call me a pessimist but I prefer to never, ever, rely only on a vendor's web server backup procedures to protect my data and sometimes there are good reasons to want to restore an entire  database back to a previous point in time.

Please correct any misunderstandings I may have:

1. For trivial databases Evernote has you covered. If your database is just one "notebook"  consisting of a continuous list of notes, no matter how many, you can simply export to the ENEX file format and should you ever need to restore your database from the ENEX file you'll get everything back just the way it was. Great.

2. If you are a premium subscriber and need to restore a specific note to a previous state you can probably do that using the version history feature. Great.

3. For complicated databases with many notebooks and stacked notebooks however, the restore situation is quite different. You'll get all of your text and images back, but you will lose all of the organization of your database . All of your notes, regardless of what notebook they were in originally and how those notebooks were stacked, will be restored in the same notebook called "Imported Notes"  and it will be up to you to manually recreate all of your separate  notebooks, manually move each note back to its original notebook, and to manually recreate how the notebooks were stacked. Yikes!

4. Whether you backup the Evernote database folders on your PC with backup software or manually export ENEX files, the situation during a restore is ultimately exactly the same. Either option  involves creating an ENEX file and losing the organizational structure of your original database during the restore. If you simply restore the Evernote database folders and files from a backup your PC backup software has created,  you will temporarily have a restored database, until the Evernote web server overwrites everything during the next sync putting you right back to where you were before the restore.

I am hoping I missed something and there really is a way to actually restore an Evernote database properly to it's original condition, including the original organization of individual notebooks and stacked notebooks, without spending an enormous amount of time manually restoring the original organization of the notes. Please correct any misunderstandings in what I wrote above  and offer any alternative methods that result in a true restoration of the Evernote database.

Thanks!

What did you find out about this? 

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  • Level 5

To keep the note-notebook relation, you need to export each notebook into its own ENEX file. Nothing new there.

One possibility is not mentioned at all: Backup the whole local file as it is with a standard backup software. Works with legacy, ongoing discussion with v10.

In general the server data is safe: Running in Google data centers, distributed around the globe, several copies. That is as safe as it gets. Professionals use these cloud services today as a backup server for their IT, so what is wrong for me to use it via EN ?

It is more important to make the access to the account as strong as it can be: Strong, unique password plus 2FA.

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PinkElephant, please leave the responses to other forum users that know this stuff better. If you understood how the syncing process works you would know that restoring the whole database from a third party backup program is not simple and well beyond the abilities of many EN users. A tedious process even for very experienced users. Manually exporting all the individual notebooks of a large database makes no sense as a routine backup solution, nobody has that time to waste. As to the reliability of cloud data storage, I bring news: it's not uncommon for users to accidently delete something, especially during some reorganizing. Also, if you read the fine print of EN's user agreement you'll discover they don't take responsibility for anything at all, period. As to your last statement about 2FA and strong passwords, of course that has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand but you have parroted some useful general advice. 

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In Reply to RobinRobin, EN support confirmed the facts of my original post. That was a while ago, not sure if anything has changed substantially. My solution was to change how I use EN. Most of the notes I need on my mobile devices are trivial things like grocery lists, movie watch lists, etc. More serious/critical notes are being maintained in OneNote and NoteZilla on my desktop. So with the way I'm using EN now I might not even bother to restore it if something went terribly wrong, I might just start it over again because the material is not important compared to what is in the other apps.

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  • Level 5*
4 hours ago, js2442 said:

Manually exporting all the individual notebooks of a large database makes no sense as a routine backup solution, nobody has that time to waste.

There is a utility called Backupery which will perform backups by notebook at an appointed time, Windows desktop on old versions.  Do not know if Backupery is doing anything to address the issues created by the V10 release, as in no local database per se.  My 6.25.1 backups run at 1 AM every day, all 37 GB of them.  I will sorely miss this tool if V10 forces its demise.  

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  • Level 5*
4 hours ago, js2442 said:

Manually exporting all the individual notebooks of a large database makes no sense as a routine backup solution, nobody has that time to waste.

I have this scripted on my Mac.  My Legacy product backups run automatically overnight - about 45 minutes for 14GB data

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