periodic backup gets disabled with multiple instances - why?



  • I turned on period backups maybe 1 month ago. I always have multiple instances of Notepad++ running because I like to switch between them with alt+tab and I don’t like tab view.

    I switched to Notepad++ specifically for the auto-save feature. I tend to set reminders and develop working drafts in a simple text editor but IT reboots my machine every now and then without warning so the auto-save feature is critical.

    I was recently working on a multi-page design specification knowing that I had enabled backups. IT rebooted my machine and the Notepad++ backups folder was empty. Needless to say I was extremely pissed off, I went into my settings and ‘periodic backup’ was unchecked despite having turned it on before.

    I thought at first that one of the automatic updates had overwritten my settings so I enabled it again … re-started writing my spec from scratch … boom IT reboots my computer and AGAIN the backup is not there and the setting is unchecked.

    After doing a bit of digging I found out that backups are only turned on for the FIRST INSTANCE of Notepad++, the 2nd and subsequent instance of the program does not backup documents.

    This is EXTREMELY bad design IMO…because people rely on backups and this behavior is totally bizarre and unexpected.

    Can someone explain why Notepad++ behaves like this? Is it a bug or a design decision? If it’s a design decision, what’s the reason for it? I would actually prefer to eliminate the backups feature than implement something that is partially working because it gives a false sense of security. Is there a setting or configuration that will work around this issue? If so…additional configuration shouldn’t be required for backups to work.

    If this has to do with conflicting backup file names, a much better solution is to append a GUID to the backup file name. Please tell me this isn’t the reason. If the issue is with multiple processes accessing the same directory … give each process a GUID and append to the file name - there will not be any conflicts.

    This is totally bizarre and I’m wondering if anyone has any comments on it.

    Thanks in advance.



  • @Mark-Wevers

    My comment won’t help you but I decided to stop (ever) using multiple instances because of this and other issues. An example of another issue is making other Preferences changes while multiple instances are running. Since not using multiple instances I found I missed it not at all. I thought I would, but I absolutely didn’t. I suppose I decided that the multiple instances feature was “half-baked”. There are a few other features that are also this way and are best avoided. People tend to think that Notepad++ is a full and complete product; I tend to think of it as someone’s useful hobby product.



  • Thanks for the insight. I may stop using multiple instances, but there is still a serious problem with this design. If backups are not supported I think there needs to be an indicator or warning that backups are turned off. Otherwise people like me can lose days or weeks of work and not understand why.



  • Sad (and strange) to say, but in some reading here on this site, it seems that having backup enabled may actually be a contributor to data loss, in the event of a system crash. Like multiple instances, I don’t use the backup feature of Notepad++. I do my own backing up of important data. But that’s just me. Let’s hear some other opinions of multi-instance and backup.



  • I’m using single instance and backups and haven’t had any issue at all and if I remember
    correctly there was a patch introduced which should have, hopefully, eliminated the NULLing
    of files.
    But my important files are treated differently, basically I’m using a versioning system, namely git,
    for doing backups and versioning.
    But from OPs point of view I would kick IT - because even when having a backup functionality
    it CANNOT be ensured that it works 100% of time - especially when something happens like
    shutdown down a machine unexpectedly.



  • @Eko-palypse said:

    if I remember
    correctly there was a patch introduced which should have, hopefully, eliminated the NULLing
    of files.

    And if I remember correctly, there was a report of the NUL problem happening using a version after that patch was released in a Notepad++ version. That’s what I was basing my comment on. We still don’t know if that issue was truly fixed or not.

    I’m using a versioning system, namely git,for doing backups

    But often the types of backups the users talk about here, are every time a Notepad++ save is done, which would be different.



  • @Alan-Kilborn said:

    And if I remember correctly, there was a report of the NUL problem happening using a version after that patch was released in a Notepad++ version. That’s what I was basing my comment on. We still don’t know if that issue was truly fixed or not.

    Oopps - haven’t this one, but it could be caused by something else as well.

    But often the types of backups the users talk about here, are every time a Notepad++ save is done, which would be different.

    Agreed - just wanted to offer a different view on this whole backup topic.



  • @Eko-palypse said:

    I’m using single instance and backups and haven’t had any issue at all and if I remember
    correctly there was a patch introduced which should have, hopefully, eliminated the NULLing
    of files.

    Good to know.

    But from OPs point of view I would kick IT - because even when having a backup functionality
    it CANNOT be ensured that it works 100% of time - especially when something happens like
    shutdown down a machine unexpectedly.

    Kicking IT does nothing unfortunately, I’ve gone that route already.
    Why do you say that automatic backups can’t work 100% of the time? There are plenty of text programs that have reliable backup capabilities (e.g. Word, OpenOffice).

    I hope improvements are made in this area - to support backups on multiple tabs, and reliably. I think this feature should be ON by default also, at least for files under 100kb.



  • @Mark-Wevers

    Let’s consider the following scenario.
    You create a file A.txt and save it.
    Your backup solution, whatsoever it is, needs to know that it needs
    to backup that file. Normally this is done by using either a command
    to back it up or by using some kind of scheduler which executes such
    a command in a cycle.

    What happens if the backup tries to save the file.
    It opens the original file, reads it, closes it (hopefully)
    opens the backup file and tries to write what has been read before.

    Now what if the pc gets shutdown in between the step of opening
    the backup file and trying to write it - file gets corrupted.


Log in to reply