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Blackboard Help

Backup and Recovery

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This section offers some tips on system-wide backups and describes the tools in Blackboard Learn for incrementally backing up courses and organizations.

System backup and recovery

Administrators should backup the database and file system according to the needs of the Institution. Blackboard Learn supports full backup and restores at the operating system and database levels. As a general rule, daily backups should be kept for two weeks, as errors may not appear for several days. Recovery plans should include how to restore the entire system. For assistance restoring the system, contact Blackboard Technical Support by logging in to Behind the Blackboard at

Incremental data protection

Blackboard Learn includes the following utilities for incrementally backing up individual courses and organizations:

  • Export/Import: Export takes course content and puts it in a package that can be used in another course at a later date. One or more course areas can be included in the package.
  • Archive/Restore: The Archive Course function creates a record of the course including user interactions. It is most useful for recalling student performance or interactions at a later time. The archive package is saved as a ZIP file that can be restored to the system at another time.

The command line tool that processes batch operations for Export/Import and Archive/Restore is a powerful tool for backing up course and organization data. To learn more about using these utilities, see How to Export, Archive, and Restore Courses in Batch.

The default size limit for content uploaded though the user interface is 250 MB. When attempting to upload files larger than 250 MB using the interface, users will receive an error. This limit does not apply to Web Folder or Shared Locations uploads. To upload larger files, administrators can upload the files using the command line or they can increase the Tomcat default size setting. To learn more about uploading files using the command line, see How to Export, Archive, and Restore Courses in Batch.

To alter the default upload file size edit the global property in Learn subsystems and most Building Blocks reference this setting for file upload size control. With a new setting of 2.5GB the property may look like this:

################### filesize upload size limit #####################
## maximum size (in bytes) of an uploaded file ##
## can be expressed as a number followed by a "K", "M", or "G", ##
##interpreted as kilobytes, megabytes, or gigabytes, respectively ##

Perform a PushConfigUpdates to save and put the change into effect.

Avoiding recovery of files during upgrade

During a Blackboard Learn upgrade, items such as custom folders and archived snapshots that are stored directly beneath the blackboard_home directory are moved to a time-stamped backup directory. Customized files and folders that are not Blackboard-owned will be considered unexpected and moved to the backup directory. To avoid your customized non-Blackboard-owned files from being moved during an upgrade, create client-dirs.txt and client-files.txt in your config directory. List each file and folder's relative path to your blackboard_home directory on its own line in the respective text file. The files do not accept wildcards, so the files and folders must be specified individually. This method must be used with caution to avoid a partially upgraded environment, and if the file is Blackboard-owned and customized it will still be overwritten with the new version.