Virtual clients: One is online, the other is offline (docs say both will always be the same)

Virtual clients not operating like documentation says. One is showing online, the other is showing offline.

Attached screenshot shows main client online, one of the virtual clients also online, but the second virtual clients is offline.

Server version 2.5.27, client (Linux) version 2.5.22


I think I figured out this one. The problems appear to have been caused by the way I created the virtual clients. The manual doesn’t cover how to do this very clearly. All the docs say is to separate virtual clients with a pipe symbol “|”. This works when you create all the virtual clients at one time. All of them show up as online.

The problem occurred when I created one virtual client. Went off and did something else, and then came back and created a second virtual client. The docs don’t specify exactly how to do this. So what I did (incorrectly guessing the way to do things) was initially specify “client1” in the “Additional virtual sub client names” field. When I came back later to add the second virtual client, I put “client2” in that field. This sequence appears to create the two virtual clients. You can see them in the drop down, you can fill in settings for each one, and they both appear on the status screen. But one of them shows up as offline in the status screen, while the other shows up as online. The offline one doesn’t work.

This happens because the above procedure is the wrong way to add multiple virtual clients. Don’t do what I described above.

The correct way - and this is not clearly stated in the documentation - is as follows. If you know all the virtual clients you will want initially, just enter “client1|client2|client3” in the “Additional virtual sub client names” field. Done. And it works.

But if you don’t know all the virtual clients you will need initially, and have to add them at different times, you have to also mention previously added virtual clients when you add a new one. So you do not say “client1” the first time, and then “client2” the second time. You say “client1” the first time and then “client1|client2” the second time. You have to re-specify all previously created clients each time you add a new one. The docs don’t tell you this, you have to guess the correct way to specify things when adding more clients at a later date. The problem here is that if you do it wrong, as I did initially, you see all these clients that were done incorrectly show up on the urbackup screens! They are in the drop downs. They are on the status screen. It sure looks like you created them correctly, but you didn’t. Your eyes see a false impression of success. The one giveaway of the problem is that some of your virtual clients will appear offline on the status screen.

I would suggest that the documentation be modified so that it has an additional paragraph describing how to add virtual clients at different times. It should specifically say that you need to mention previously created clients when creating additional ones. And give an example.

The reason why you still see them is the same reason like for all other offline clients: they were connected to the server once and will be shown there until you manually remove them. By removing the name of the virtual client you remove the client, the server still knows the client however. The same would happen if you forget your laptop in the train: the client is gone, the backups luckily don’t disappear at the same time.

Which makes perfect sense. However, I wasn’t trying to remove a virtual client, and didn’t realize that I had. I was attempting to add a second virtual client.

Now that I understand how it works for adding additional virtual clients at a later date, I’m fine with the method. But it took some trial and error experimentation to figure out the correct process since the documentation doesn’t cover this clearly IMHO. Now I know - future specifications of virtual clients when one already exists are not additive, they are replacements.

I understand. I did not want to imply that the documentation is crystal clear and I always found the way to define virtual clients a bit weird but figured it out somehow as well.

What I haven’t figured out (I think it is a bug) is how to delete a backup-folder for a virtual client that has been removed (the client, not the folder). I don’t think it is possible but it won’t hurt much except you see it when you call urbackupclientctl list-backupdirs.

Maybe you could re-add the deleted client, then delete its backup-dir(s), then delete the client again? Based on what I have observed of UrBackup’s behavior, this is something I might try. But I’m just guessing now, I haven’t tried this.

Unfortunately this does not work, I tried that already :sweat_smile:

Note to self: Do not add virtual clients ahead of time because you think you might need them. Only add them as you need them. Because you might not be able to delete all remnants of them completely if you created one that you don’t need.

I was just about to create a couple of virtual clients on the assumption of need when I read of your experiences. So now I won’t create them until I actually have a demonstrable need for them, not an imagined need.


As long as you don’t add any backup folders you should be fine though. Also there won’t be any unwanted backups. Nothing will happen when these folders are there. Still, I’d rather have them removed…