Course backup

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A course can be saved with some or all of its parts by using the course backup. A teacher with editing privileges can create a backup or download an existing backup for safe keeping, or for use on another Moodle site. See the screencast Course backup: Save and reuse your course for information on how to back up your course as a teacher.

Backing up a course

To backup a course

  • Go into the course.
  • Click the Backup link either in the gear menu or the Administration block (depending upon the theme).
  • Initial settings - Select activities, blocks, filters and other items as required then click the Next button. Users with appropriate permissions, such as administrators and managers, can choose whether to include users, anonymize user information, or include user role assignments, groups, groupings, user files, comments, user completion details, course logs and grade history in the backup.
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It is against FERPA and College Policies for faculty to keep student records, and therefore faculty are not allowed to include Users in their Moodle backup files.

Backup settings
  • Schema settings - Select/deselect specific items to include in backup, then click the Next button.
  • If desired, select specific types of activity to be backed up by clicking the link 'Show type options'
Back up screen with option to select all or none
Back up screen with option to select activity types
  • Confirmation and review - Check that everything is as required, using the Previous button if necessary, otherwise click the 'Perform backup' button
  • Complete - Click the Continue button

A backup file (with distinctive .mbz extension to avoid confusion with .zip files) is then saved in the course backup area. Backup file names are of the form backup-moodle2-course-coursename-date-hour.mbz, ending in -nu.mbz when backed up with no users and -an.mbz with anonymized names.

Tip: If you are satisfied with the default settings and don't wish to go through all the backup screens, you can simply click 'Jump to final step' to perform the backup.

Quick backup

If you are satisfied with the default settings and don't wish to go through all the backup screens, you can simply click 'Jump to final step' to perform the backup.


When your backup us complete, you will see this Backup Success screen.


Downloading your backup file

Once you have a backup of your course, we recommend you download that backup file and save it to your favorite file storage location. After you complete the backup, you should be taken to the screen that shows you your backup files. Click the download link to save the file to your Downloads folder.

Download your backup file

If you do not visit immediately after backing up, you can always go to the Restore link in the course tools area.

Tips and tricks

  • Lose content after a restore in Moodle 2.0 ? Do you see topic headings that say "Orphaned activities"? Solution: Go to course settings and increase the number of topic sections and things will return to normal.

Creative uses

The backup and restore processes can offer the teacher and administrators many creative solutions.

  • Duplicating courses or specific activities in one course to another course (similar to Import)
  • Updating a production Moodle site course, with material from a localhost site course
  • Transferring a course to a new Moodle site.
  • In earlier versions of Moodle, a way of rolling a course forward without past student activity
  • Creating a blank activity, save just that activity and then restore it to the course or another course one or more times.

General backup defaults

Default settings for course backups can be set by a site administrator in Administration > Site administration > Courses > Backups > General backup defaults.

Selected settings may be locked, so that they cannot be changed when creating a course backup.

By selecting a time in the "Keep logs for.." dropdown, it is possible to specify how long backup logs information is kept before being deleted. As this information may be very large, it is recommended the length of time chosen be quite short.

See also