Log in

No account? Create an account

Sturdy and Serviceable

lo entenderás cuando llegue tu Healing Buttsex

Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
Backing up your LJ: a guide for Windows users
Someone said: "If you don't have two back-ups, one off-site, then you don't have a back-up."

Both of these methods work only for Windows computers which have the .NET framework, which you may not have. It can be found here if you need it.

Method One:
  1. Download LJ-Archive, install, launch.
  2. On the menu bar, go to "file" and select "new archive." Fill in your LJ account information.
  3. Make sure you check "Download comments" if you want to save a copy of your comments.
  4. Wait. If you've had your lj a while, this could take some time, especially if you have a slow connection.
This copy cannot be used to restore your lj, but if worse comes to worse, you have a human-readable copy which can be exported.

Method Two

  1. Download LJ-Sec. Install.
  2. Go to greatest journal, Insane Journal, Journalfen, or any site which uses LJ's architecture. Create an account. Don't forget your username or password. This will be referred to as your backup journal
  3. Open LJ sec. Log in with your livejournal account. Wait. This will take a while, depending on your connection speed, and the size of your lj.
Two ways to from here: scaredy-pants, what-if-I-make-a-mistake way, or dude-I-know-what-I'm-doing way


  1. If you make a mistake, correcting it can be tedious. If you want to dive in, skip directly to the next section. Otherwise, in the window showing posts, click a selection of posts you'll remember (a month's worth works well.)
  2. On the menu bar, go to "journal" and "repost selected items to another journal." Fill in your backup journal username and password.
  3. Under "server URL" enter "http://www.[backupjournal.ext]/interface/flat" (Don't actually write [backupjournal.ext]. Instead, write the root domain of the journal you're backing up to, for example, "livejournal.com," "journalfen.net", etc. Don't include the square brackets, or any quotes.)
  4. Check all boxes.
  5. Post
  6. Go to your backup journal, and check to see that everything looks right. (If it's loaded, but you've made a mistake, the mistake should be fairly evident and easy to correct the second time.)
  7. If it does, go to the menu bar, go to "Selections," "Select all" and then deselect the month you've already posted. Go to step 2, and repeat. Most of the data should already be entered. The second time posting will take a lot longer.
  1. On the menu bar, go to "selections" --> "select all"
  2. On the menu bar, go to "journal" and "repost selected items to another journal." Fill in your backup journal username and password. Under "server URL" enter "http://www.[backupjournal.ext]/interface/flat"
  3. Check all boxes.
  4. Begin reposting. Wait. This will take a while, depending on your connection speed, and the size of your lj. (If you're feeling charitable toward GJ, it might be thoughtful to do this on a weekend, when internet traffic is typically lower.)

If you made a mistake the best solution appears to be deleting the affected posts and trying again, which is why it's nice to make your mistake on a smaller selection. Semagic (see below) can make it a little easier to delete large volumes of posts by using its "history" function.

Be prepared: For it to inform you, occasionally, that you have not selected the option to backdate, even if you have. If you acknowledge the message, it will continue. I think I had to hit spacebar twenty times. liz_marcs  says in her exhaustive review of the process that she was informed she had the wrong password, but worked anyway.

This copy will not have: any tags, mood, location, polls, embedded media, or comments originally made to the entries. If you upload your lj icons to your backup journal with the same keyword, they may (or may not, I haven't tried) be assigned to the correct entry.
This copy may not have: the correct security settings, if you have filtered your entries. My filtered entries were randomly assigned to different filters. Entries that ought to have been "Betty complains" were filtered to "Girl-Wonder," etc. Since those groups are empty on Greatest Journal, this wasn't exactly a security breach, but you may have to do some re-naming.

Now you have two journals!

Does this program work for Macs?
No, but this system here might work for Mac users.

Can I use LJ-sec to transfer entries posted to communities, or transfer communities?
No, but advanced users may want to check out the tool here, by antennapedia , which can at least partially transfer communities. (Familiarity with Python would be a bonus.)

It says: "SYNCHRONICATION FAILED! Error message: Client error: Invalid text encoding: Cannot display this post. Please see livejournal.com/support/encodings.bml for more details."
Your lj was probably started a long time ago, before unicode was standardized across the site. If you go here, and select "Western European," and then try again, it should work

It says "Error connecting to the web server! / Error message: The operation has timed-out. / CONNECTION TO LIVEJOURNAL FAILED! / Network timeout or no connection!"
Probably your firewall is not permitting it to connect to livejournal. Either configure your firewall to give lj-sec/lj-archive access to the internet, or temporarily disable your firewall.

Is there some way to keep both my livejournal and my backup journal synchronized?
If you use Semagic, you can update multiple journals simultaneously. This guide by snapetoy  describes how you can do so.

What is the .NET framework? Should I install it?
The .NET framework is a body of code by Microsoft that both of these programs need to run. It is available here.

What's an .msi file?  What do I do with it?
This page explains how to deal with .msi files.


I would like to thank impactbomb , tekanji , and liz_marcs  for feedback and input which helped me to refine this guide, as well as everyone who commented.

I appreciate everyone's comments! If you'd like me to try to help you with something not in the FAQ, I might notice your comment more quickly if you put "help" or something in the subject line. ETA Jan 07, 2009: I'm sorry, but I don't have a machine this program runs on anymore, so although I will try to help you if I can, my ability to help you out is going to be limited.

The more up-to-date version of ljArchive is at their SourceForce. You can export html & xml version to your hard-drive by going to file > export and even filter it by public posts only.

Actually, the page I link to redirects to sourceforge when you go looking for the download, but thanks for pointing out the export function. I suppose you could make a static web-page out of your lj, that way, if you had to.

This copy will not have: any images within the entry, moods, music, location, or tags. It will have the icon associated with the entry.

Um, I actually have mood, music, location and tags showing.

The LJ-Sec thing sounds great, thanks for the link. *g*

Um, I actually have mood, music, location and tags showing.

Ooops! *edits that out* Thanks for the correction.

Thanks, lovely. Now I have a record!

*is pleased*

There's also Semagic for updating multiple journals at the same time.

Good point, I'll mention that too. I already use it for posting, but it'd be useful to keep multiple synchronized copies.

Sigh. Why aren't these things ever crossplatform tools? :( :(

Well, sourceforge has a zip which it claims is "platform independent" but I sort of suspect that's more meaningful if you're a developer.

Thanks for the links - they look very useful! *downloads*

Hey, thanks for this! *saves to memories*

does this by any chance work with insanejournal???

Yes. I just tried it with my backup insanejournal, and although there were some problems, it worked.

The problems:
My LJ is paid, my IJ is free - some of the paid-user features I'd used posting to LJ didn't transfer to IJ.
Tags didn't transfer at all.

Thank you so much for this. Worked like a charm

Do you know if there is a way to do this on a Macintosh?


I'm sorry, I'm afraid Macs are a mystery to me and I haven't the faintest idea.

Thanks! Just-- how do you set up semagic to update multiple journals simultaneously?

It's not exactly convenient, but it's easier than copy/paste:

1. (You probably have already done this, but for completeness,) log into your account using semagic, checking the "remember password" box. Logout again.
2. Go to File --> Server settings. Fill in the settings for your backup journal. Log in.

Henceforth, and everytime you post, instead of posting with the post button, go to Journel --> Post to Multiple Journals.

I feel there should be a better way, but I haven't figured one out yet. :(

Thank you for this! :-)

This is extremely helpful and save me oodles of time.

You are a total star - I am bookmarking for a time when I have a spare several minutes to get my head around this. Gah - I hate this time of year!!!

Thank you so much for posting this information! I ran into a glitch in the process, and I wondered if you might be able to offer some advice?

I did the LJ Archive portion without incident (far as I know, anyway!), but when I downloaded LJSec and tried to use it to back up my entire LJ to Greatest journal, instead it backed it up to LIVE Journal and duplicated all my entries. I went from 700 to 1400 in the blink of an eye, and my poor friend ann_tara got 700 e-mail notifications of updates to my LJ in her mailbox! *facepalm*

I have NO idea what to do now, and I'm hoping you might have some bright ideas! Like, if there's an easy way to delete all those duplicate entries? As far as the backup to GJ plan goes, now I'm terrified of trying it again, in case I end up with triplicate entries! ACK!

Oh dear! I think you might not have filled in the correct server URL when you went to "repost to another journal." You might want to try again with only one entry selected, and then see where it went, then do the rest of them.

As to deleting entries… Oh dear. You're sort of in a bad way. The easiest way I know to delete entries is to use Semagic's "View History" button, but that's still not a nice way to delete multiple entries at once. I know because I accidentally uploaded six months worth of entries twice.

You don't know me, but I think you're my hero tonight. Stumbled upon this post quite by accident, and it's a lifesaver.