Backing up is an essential part of working on a computer, but is often neglected. Despite the best of efforts, in practice neither the hardware nor software in your computer is perfect, and crashes can result in lost work. Also, catastrophes like hardware failure, theft, fire and floods can result in lost work, making a bad situation even worse. This can and does happen! Often keeping backups is boring and gets ignored or forgotten, but you can use Construct 2's backup options to set up hands-free automatic backups. This can help ensure your work is safe so you never get caught out by crashes or disasters. It only takes a few minutes to set up then doesn't need any attention after that, so be sure to set it up! It could save you a lot of grief one day!
Construct 2 has two main backup features: auto-backup and scheduled backup. These are set in the Backup tab of the Preferences dialog.
Auto-backup keeps copies of your project in the same folder it's saved in. You can set any number of copies to be kept. For example, if you save myfile.capx with 3 auto-backups enabled, you will have myfile.capx.backup1, myfile.capx.backup2 and myfile.capx.backup3 in the same folder. Each backup represents a previous save, so backup1 is the last time you hit save, backup2 is two saves ago, and so on.
Auto-backup is mainly to prevent software or hardware errors corrupting your project. In the rare event that the main project somehow becomes unopenable, you can open the last auto-backup to restore your project. Auto-backups can also be useful to revert to earlier versions of your project. However, remember that auto-backups will also be lost if your hard disk or computer fails or is destroyed in some catastrophic event. To protect against this, you should also set up a scheduled backup (see below).
By default, Construct 2 will keep a single auto-backup file. If your main project somehow becomes unopenable, you can restore it by opening the .capx.backup1 file. If you don't want to keep auto-backups you can untick the checkbox in the Preferences dialog, but it is highly recommended to at least manually backup from time to time.
Scheduled backups run less often than auto-backups, but save to different folders. This is vital to ensure your work is safe, since as mentioned previously sometimes both your work and all its auto-backups can be lost at once (e.g. if your hard disk fails). In the Preferences dialog you can set up three backup folders and specify how often you want to update the backup copy. The filename in the backup folder will be something like myfile-wmnvqqwxegop.capx (some random text is added to ensure it doesn't overwrite the backup for another different "myfile.capx" you have somewhere else on your computer).
It's vital to keep off-site backups to ensure your work is safe. The best way to do this is to register for a free file hosting account like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive. You can get a couple of gigabytes of private storage for free. These services can then also create a folder on your computer, and any files copied there are automatically synced to the service's servers and any other devices using the same account. Therefore if you set this folder as a scheduled backup folder, you'll regularly be making off-site backups that are also automatically synced to any other devices you have. It is highly recommended to set up a daily backup to a synced folder to ensure you never lose a significant amount of work. Even in the event your entire computer is destroyed, you can still recover your work by logging in to your account and downloading the last backup, or from one of the other devices it synced to.
Alternatively, you may want to set up backup folders on network shares or other synchronised or backed-up folders. It's important to have backups on different computers to make sure your work is safe.
Scheduled backups are only made when you press 'Save'. For example if you have a daily backup set up and press 'Save', a new backup is only copied if the existing backup is over a day old. You can also set up auto-saves from Preferences to automatically 'Save' on a timer, or after every preview, ensuring these backups are made even if you forget to press it yourself.
Make sure you backup!
Don't be caught out! In just a few minutes you can set up autobackups, a private file-host backup like Dropbox, and two other backup folders if possible. This applies to all projects and will help keep your work safe. After that, you don't need to do anything else - so there's no excuse! :)