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Backing up Moodle courses


Generally, creating a backup of a Moodle course is good practice once you (the course leader) are happy with the content. Each Moodle course has a recycle bin that contains deleted content for 3 months; however, for fear of accidental resource deletion, a backup ensures you can restore items over a longer period.

If you decide to implement a backup strategy for your course, please ensure you download and retain a copy offline, either storing these in your personal OneDrive or within a shared SharePoint site related to your programme or module.

How to make a backup

  1. From your Course page, click ‘More’ on the secondary menu.
  2. Select ‘Course reuse’.
The more menu with course reuse highlighted
Course reuse is located inside the ‘More’ menu
  1. Select ‘Backup’ from the dropdown menu on the left.
    The backup menu
  1. Select the items you would like to back up. If you have done this before and are happy with the default backup settings, you can press the ‘Jump to final step‘ button. If not, click ‘Next‘.
Backup options
Select activities or jump to the final step with defaults selected
  1. After clicking ‘Next’, you can select or de-select any individual activities. Click ‘Next’ again.
Activities to select
Making selections to back up
  1. The following page shows a list of items that will be included in the backup.
Items to copy across
An overview of selected items before proceeding to the next step
  1. When the backup is complete, you will see a message saying: ‘The backup file was successfully created’. Click ‘Continue‘.
Backup success message
What you’ll see when the backup completes successfully.

Items which you cannot backup

Your backup file will include Moodle resources such as web pages, files you have
uploaded, folders, books, labels, images and any hyperlinks to videos or other

You will also have the structure of Moodle activities you have created, but you will
not be able to backup any user data

So, for example, this means that your backup does not include user data such as:

  • Student responses in quizzes
  • Items posted in WIKIs or forums
  • Items posted is surveys or polls
  • Glossary entries need to done separately (see help guide on ‘Exporting & Importing glossary entries’)
  • Activity completion details and/or restricted access settings are lost
  • This list is not comprehensive, but these are key examples.
  1. Click the ‘Download’ button in the table to download your most recent backup.
The user private backup area
A list of backups available for download
  1. Choose which folder to save your backup into and click ‘Save‘.

You will need to manage your backup files so that the old ones you don’t need are
removed from the system. It is a good idea to keep one copy on the server as well –
older backups that are not required can be removed.

  1. On the secondary menu, select ‘More’
  2. Select ‘Course reuse’.
The more menu with course reuse highlighted
Course reuse
  1. Select ‘Restore’ from the dropdown menu
    The restore option

You have a User private backup area on the page with a list of your backup files
from all courses you have backed up.

user private backup area
A private backup area

Once you have downloaded your backup files to a local machine, you can remove
old ones.

  1. At the bottom of the screen click the Manage backup files button. Files you have backed up from all of your courses will be displayed as icons.
manage backup files button
The ‘Manage backup files’ button can been seen at the bottom left

Files you have backed up from all of your courses will be displayed as icons.

manage backup files
Previous backups displayed as tiles
  1. Click the middle icon at the top right to display them with file details so you can see the names:
manage backup files list view
Click the icon highlighted in red to switch your view from tile to list format
  1. To delete a backup file, click on the file and then click Delete.
delete files
The pop-up window that appears after clicking on a backup file
  1. It will ask if you want to delete it – click OK to confirm.
Updated on February 6, 2024
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