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File Restoration From Tape Backup

Generally, any file that stays on a file server (Apollo or Athena) at least a month will be available from backup tapes for two years after it is deleted.

We cannot restore files created and deleted on the same day. They will not have had time to be backed up by a nightly run - see our backup schedule for further details.

Processing Time for File Restoration Requests

Processing time depends on when the file was last modified, how accurate your information is, and when you ask.

Files deleted more than a year ago may or may not be on a tape we still have. It takes a long time to find these files.

The most recent set of backups is kept off-site to protect against simultaneous loss of both our machines and our backups. If your file is off-site the restoration will take longer (typically 24 hours longer) because we have to go off-site to retrieve the tape.

Restoration requests are serviced during regular business hours. If you email your request to us in the morning and the tape is on-site, it will be usually be restored that afternoon. In most cases requests that can be handled from on-site backups are serviced the same day they are requested.

Requesting File/Directory Restoration

To request a file or directory restoration, please email

Since our current tape archive contains hundreds and hundreds of tapes, we must have your help to narrow down to the right tape when you need a file restored. This is the information we need:

1. The path name of the file or directory you need restored. Expressed as /users/user-id/directory/...

2. The date that you corrupted or deleted the file or directory. It's ok for this to be approximate.

i. If it is within the last week we need the day and a rough indication of the time (especially if the time is between midnight and 6am).

ii. If it is within the last month we just need the day.

iii. If it is within the last year we need the month and an indication of whether it was early or late in the month if possible.

3. The time you last modified the file/directory prior to its corruption or deletion. This is the most critical piece of information. It determines which tape has your file. We only backup files (with the exception of the monthly backups) if they change. So, knowing that last time it changed is tantamount to knowing which tape the file is on.