Backup and restore Evolution

Jack Wallen
May 31, 2010
Updated • Dec 27, 2012
Backup, Linux

How many times have you migrated from one Linux box to another, only to say goodbye to your email and knowing you were going to have to set your email client up all over again. Oh sure you could tar up that ~/.evolution directory and hope that it worked. Most likely you would wind up with a train wreck of a folder system and you would still wind up having to re-configure all of those email accounts and calendars all over again.

It doesn't have to be that way. The Evolution groupware suite has a built in backup/restore system that will amaze you how how well (and quickly) it works. We're not talking about the time consuming back up and restore of Outlook PST files. It doesn't matter how large your Evolution folders have grown, this backup/restore is fast and painless. And in this article, I am going to show you just how easy this task is.


It should be fairly safe to assume that you will backing up and restoring from and to the same release of Evolution. I have not tested this, but you might be safe to do so only if the releases are not far apart. To be safe, however, you should make sure both source and target are of the same release. You will also have to have the means with which to copy files back and forth. If you are restoring to a new machine it would be safe to say that you have either placed these files on a backup drive. This article will also assume you have not already set up Evolution. You can restore over a currently configured Evolution, but we don't want to do that. With that said, let's begin the backup/restore.


If you open up Evolution click on File > Backup Settings. When you do this a new window will open asking you where to save the file and what name to give the file. The default filename is evolution-backup.tar.gz. If you do change the name, make sure you do not change the extension .tar.gz as that is the extension the Evolution restore system will need to see.

Believe it or not, that is all you need to do for the restore. The size of your Evolution folders will determine how long the backup process will take. I'm fairly confident you will be surprised how quickly this backs up.


Figure 1

Now for the fun. The restore process is just as simple. When you fire up Evolution for the first time you will see the Welcome window.  After the first Welcome screen (just click Forward to get past that) you will see the only screen you need for the restore (see Figure 1).

The first step is to check the box for Restore Evolution from backup file. Once you have done that click the Folder button and then navigate to where you have your evolution-backup.tar.gz file saved. Once you have located that file click Apply and the restoration will commence.

When the restore is complete the only thing you will need to do is to enter your email password(s) in order to download the mail you've missed during the process.

If, like me, you use scripts for your signature, you will have to make sure those scripts are on the new machine (as well as in the same place).

Final thoughts

The backup/restore of the Evolution groupware suite is one of the most painless I have come across. It's fast, reliable, and requires very little work.


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  1. Claude LaFrenière said on September 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Hi Martin Brinkmann :)

    In my Windows 7 this is already done in the Task Scheduler by the default installation… The command line is:

    %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe /d srrstr.dll,ExecuteScheduledSPPCreation


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Thanks for posting that, easier than my way. Have not tried it yet though but will. Wonder why I do not have it.

    2. ilev said on September 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      I have it as well but it was configured to run only when the PC is idle.

      Task Scheduler > Task Scheduler Library > Microsoft > Windows > System Restore.
      There are 2 triggers : at 00:00 every day, at startup.

      1. Rich said on September 15, 2012 at 4:07 am

        Much easier and simpler method is at Registry Backup. It runs at startup and invokes VSS to copy registry and keeps last 30 days for restores. Can be invoked within MSFT Recovery Console so better suited to non-boot situations. No authority issues either.

  2. Michael said on September 16, 2012 at 4:57 am

    My task scheduler is also configured this way. But it doesn’t work. My system does NOT make a restore point every time it boots. Its typically not running at midnight.

  3. Achilles Khalil said on September 16, 2012 at 6:57 am

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  4. Frantic said on September 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    How is this done in Windows XP, I wonder?

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