Automated backups using Roam’s backup feature

In March of 2021, the Roam Research team released a native backup feature. That means you no longer need the third-party GitHub solution if you only want to backup in Roam format (EDN).

Currently, automated backups in Roam are all in the EDN format. This is Roam’s file format to restore a complete graph—versus specific pages, like what’s possible with Markdown and JSON exports. The backup feature also only works in Chrome and Chrome-based browsers like Vivaldi. Due to security settings, it currently doesn’t work in the Chrome-based Brave Browser.

Follow the steps below to set up automated hourly or daily backups.

Step 1—Open the backup option.

From the top menu (...), select the option Export All:

Export all menu option


Step 2—Set backup frequency.

Click the dropdown menu that says Disabled:

Automated backup dropdown

Next, set the backup frequency to either Every day or Every hour. If you’re a heavy Roam user, I recommend you set it to Everyhour to minimize potential data loss:

Automated backup frequency

Step 3—Select backup location.

When selecting the backup frequency, a file window opens. Select the folder where you want to keep your backups:

Automated backup folder location screen

To further minimize the potential for data loss, I recommend you save the backups to a folder that’s in turn backed-up to a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Step 4—Give Chrome view and write permissions.

Once you’ve selected your backups folder, Chrome will first ask for read permissions of the folder. Click View files:

Automated backup Chrome view files permission

Next, another prompt will appear to ask for write permissions. Click Save changes:

Automated backup Chrome write files permission

Step 5—Check if backup was created.

Now that everything is set up, Roam will immediately create a backup.

Wait until you see the green success message at the top of the screen. Then, check if the backup was created. If this is not the case, repeat these steps and make sure you grant the permissions in step 4.

As long as you keep your browser open, Chrome will export your graph. If you close your browser, backing up will pause until you reopen Chrome.

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