Is there a network backup Service for tigger and mailserv?

This article details how to restore email inboxes and mail files.

The ACCC runs the Network Backup Service on all the files stored on an ACCC UNIX workstation every night, time permitting. You can restore copies of your files from these system backups by yourself, using the command dsmc (for text mode) or dsm (for X Windows). You must have proper permissions on the files. To recover a file when you don't have proper permissions, call the Client Services Office at 312-413-0003 or send electronic mail to

Restoration can be done by file name or by directory and files can be restored to the original directory or to a new place. Links to the entire IBM/Tivoli manual for UNIX are given in the documentation section below. Currently, 7 versions of backups are kept. Since backups are performed overnight, a file must have been stored overnight (at least) to have been included in an automatic backup.

Note: Do not use the archive function of the software. It treats all of tigger as one machine, and has no options that allow us to make backup copies of the archive tapes. If you have files on an ACCC UNIX workstation that you want to archive, transfer them to your personal computer and copy them.

dsmc (text mode) and dsm (X windows) let you restore backup copies of your files on the ADN UNIX workstations. You must have proper permissions on the files; otherwise you must ask send email to asking them to restore the file for you.

Restoring Email Inboxes and Mail Files

How do I restore my tigger inbox (or other mailbox)?

Use the following command to select the copy of your inbox that you want to restore, and to restore it to a SEPARATE mail folder. (If you don't restore it to a different folder, it will overwrite your current inbox, and you will lose all your newer email.):

dsmc restore -inactive -pick /var/spool/mail/NetID ~/mail/oldinbox

Make sure to replace NetID with your own NetID (for example, adabyron or jstude99). This will restore your inbox to a mail folder called oldinbox, which is viewable through pine or WebMail. While you're still logged in, you can use pine to open the restored inbox; enter the command:

pine -f oldinbox

Or you can use WebMail (the folder list is at the top right of the WebMail screen). Note that this will bring back a copy of your entire inbox; be sure to go through it and delete all the messages that you either already have or don't need to keep. If you would like to restore a specific mailbox, say sent-mail, use the following command.

dsmc restore -pick -inactive ~/mail/sent-mail ~/mail/oldbox

The version of the sent-mail mailbox that you select to be restored will be saved into the mailbox oldbox, which you can open in either pine or WebMail. If you would like to restore a specific mailbox, but you are unsure of its name, use the following command.

dsmc restore -pick -inactive "~/mail/*" ~/mail/restoredboxes/

The file(s) you pick to be restored will be saved into your restoredboxes/ directory, which doesn't have to exist before you enter the command; you can open the restored mailboxes in either pine or WebMail. 

How do I restore my mailserv inbox (or other mailbox)?

We run the Network Backup Service on mailserv exactly the same as we run it on tigger. However, because you can't log in to mailserv, you can't use dsmc yourself to recall missing mailboxes. Instead, send email to that says which mailbox is missing (or which mailbox held the messages that are missing), and the day and time when the missing messages were last in the mailbox. And do this quickly; we only keep backups for about a week.

I deleted an email message that I shouldn't have. Is there any way to get it back?

If the message was on the server, in your inbox or any other IMAP email mailbox that lives on the server at least overnight, there might be a copy of the missing message on the email server, in an archived copy of that mailbox. If your account is on tigger, follow the instructions above to recall an older copy of the mailbox in question, and retrieve the message from the restored copy of the mailbox. If your email account is on mailserv, then send an email message to explaining your problem. Be sure to include the name of the mailbox that the message was in and a good enough description of the message that we'll be able to tell whether we've found it or not. The first and last dates that you know the message was there are particularly useful.

Be sure to do this as soon as you realize the message is missing -- these are backup copies, not archives, and they're only kept for a short period of time.

How do I restore my Gmail email?

The ACCC does not run backups on email in GoogleApps@UIC accounts. However, Google does not actually delete any Gmail email; it all goes into your Trash mailbox.

General Questions on dsmc backup restoration

How do I restore files using dsmc?

Log in to your tigger account, use cd go to the directory that the file you want to restore was stored in, and enter:


at the prompt. Look for the most recently backed-up files with this command:

restore -pick *

If the files you are looking for don't show up, try using this command:

restore -pick -inactive "*"

Make sure you put the asterisk in quotes here -- all file names should show up. You should be able to pick the files you need to restore with the key guide at the bottom of the pick screen. (Don't restore a file that has 0 bytes; it's empty.)

Taking as an example the command given above to recover deleted email inboxes and using the NetID adabyron:

dsmc restore -inactive -pick /var/mail/adabyron ~/mail/oldinbox

Again, replace adabyron with your NetID. This command will restore your inbox to a mail folder called oldinbox. The following sample DSMC pick menu is displayed.

ADSM Scrollable PICK Window - Restore

     #    Backup Date/Time             File Size A/I  File
     1. | 05/02/01   03:21:27         85226  A   /var/spool/mail/adabyron
     2. | 05/01/01   06:28:05        677085  I   /var/spool/mail/adabyron
     4. | 04/29/01   05:33:45        784093  I   /var/spool/mail/adabyron
     5. | 04/25/01   04:09:13        568901  I   /var/spool/mail/adabyron
     6. | 04/24/01   03:55:01        337219  I   /var/spool/mail/adabyron
<U>=Up  <D>=Down  <T>=Top  <B>=Bottom  <R#>=Right  <L#>=Left
<G#>=Goto Line #  <#>=Toggle Entry  <+>=Select All  <->=Deselect All
<#:#+>=Select A Range <#:#->=Deselect A Range  <O>=Ok  <C>=Cancel

Type the one character commands listed in the three lines at the bottom of the page beside the pick> prompt to move up, move down, move to the bottom of the list, etc. After you decide which day's backup you want to restore, type the number of that line beside the pick> prompt, press Enter. An x will appear in the first column of that line. Then type o (the letter "O") and press Enter again. The software will begin to backup the file you selected.

I deleted mail/files and I could not get dsmc to work.

If dsmc was not successful, try entering this at the command line:

dsmc restore -pick -inactive /path/to/files

For example: /usr/mail/adabyron or /homes/home5/adabyron 

If you used dsmc correctly, but did not see any results, please remember that dsmc takes a long time to complete, generally your files will be restored anywhere between .5 and 1.5 hours. If you are restoring an entire directory or many files at once it could take up to 2 or 3 hours. Unfortunately, you cannot issue this command and then logout. You need to stay connected the entire time you are restoring files. Hence, use dsmc when you have plenty of time.

Keywords:email, webmail, gmail, dsmc, inbox   Doc ID:91304
Owner:Roger D.Group:University of Illinois at Chicago ACCC
Created:2019-04-24 16:31 CDTUpdated:2019-07-10 14:58 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois at Chicago ACCC
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