Managed Mac Backups

March 18, 2018

Managed Mac OS backup software

Your friends in IT Services are slowly starting to roll out backup software for administrative staff Macs. See your friendly neighbourhood Mac admin if you'd like to be an early adopter!

The backup utility aims to provide the same data resiliency as our managed Windows counterparts, namely some preference data, Desktop and Documents folders. Up to five devices can be maintained per user.

How do I get started?

  1. For many departments at the University, the Commvault backup client is already available in Managed Software Center.
    1. Open /Applications/Managed Software and look for the Commvault installer.
  2. Once the install is complete, you're done. Your Mac will start backing up to a server in the Burnaby data centre.

How do I restore files?

  1. click the Edge icon on the menu bar (top-right near the clock). Logins at this time must be in format, "ADSFU\sfuid"
    1. The monitor is available in /Applications if you don't see it on the menu - this is normal.
    2. Simply launch "Edge"  
  2. To view your backed up computers and/or restore files, click the "options" icon (the vertical three dots)
    1. Select "Settings" or "Restore Files"
  3. To restore files, browse to the computer (you may have more than one) you need to restore from.
    1. Browse to the file(s) or folder(s) to restore.
    2. Click "Restore" in the top of the tree.
    3. You'll be presented with a dialog for where to save the restored file. It is possible to restore in-place, to another computer, or to a network path.
    4. Be careful with restores! When in doubt, restore files to your Downloads folder or some other location where you may verify the file's contents.


Why a backup client and not Vault?

SFU Vault is a sync service and not a backup. If you mess up or delete a file in Vault, that mistake will be synced. Further to this, the ultimate goal of the backup service is to have every Mac come pre-installed. This eliminates the need to install and configure anything else - your data is protected from day one.

Why a backup client and not a time machine hard drive?

As we mentioned, the ultimate goal of the backup service is to have every Mac come pre-installed. This eliminates the cost of extra hardware, frees up room on your desktop, and in the case of fire or theft, you're still covered.

How much may be backed up?

Each license entitles individuals up to 5 devices, and a maximum of 2TB of backed up data.

What data is being backed up?

To maintain parity with redirected desktop and documents on managed Windows, only ~/Desktop and ~/Documents are backed up on managed Macs. Media such as video and music are specifically exempt.



I'm traveling or want to stop backups for a while, how may I do that?

This service was intended to provide backups from off-campus, as many of our staff and faculty need to travel for work. However, we understand the need to conserve bandwidth. The backup utility can be quit at any time!

Please remember that the utility will launch at next startup, so if you need the utility stopped for an indefinite period of time, it may be best to remove it. As below, you'll need to make a ticket in order to re-install however!

Why can't I re-install?

Re-installs aren't a supported operation per se. For a good reason - it's possible to get a collision between the new backup set and the existing one. 

If you have re-installed the Mac OS because of hardware failure, you'll probably want to do a restore on the new machine. You may put that restore at risk by initiating new backups!

If you need to re-install a client, please email "" and ask to have your old host name archived. That's it!

Troubleshooting: Where are the logs?

See: /opt/commvault/Log_Files

Troubleshooting: How can I uninstall?

Using the Finder (ie. not a terminal) delete the file (this must be done by an admin, as you'll be prompted for admin credentials): "/Applications/Process" .
This begins an internal commvault process to clean up the software and notify the server.

Need to uninstall remotely?

Commvault provides a command-line tool, "cvpkgrm" that will walk you through the removal.

  1. SSH into the workstation in question
  2. $ sudo cvpkgrm
  3. Choose to remove all instances
  4. Send a ticket to indicating that the workstation needs to be de-commissioned from the Commvault server.


Please feel free to contact us about any of the above info!

About us.

The managed Mac service is an effort to build a better user experience for SFU Mac users. Our team continues to develop standardized tools and practices to better support the University's Mac community. Having a managed Mac does not preclude ownership nor administration.

The main goal is to allow you to perform your work, and leave the computer maintenance up to us.

In developing these strategies, we aim to deliver services that are flexible and intuitive, without sacrificing reliability.

Managed Mac provides easy solutions for:

  • Security
  • Shared Resources
  • Authoritative software installs
  • Documentation
  • Backup
  • Tech Help