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Moodle (.mbz) Backup Files

Moodle Backup Files FAQ

What is a .mbz file?

  • A Moodle Backup FIle (.mbz) is a compressed archive of a Moodle course that can be used to restore a course within Moodle. The file preserves course contents, structure and settings, but does not include student work or grades.
  • The contents of the .mbz cannot be accessed from your computer (outside of Moodle). For example, you cannot extract PDFs from the backup file, but if the course is restored on a Moodle server, files that were uploaded into the original course (and links to files stored elsewhere) will appear in the restored course.
  • Instructors can create and download an .mbz file of any course they teach to archive course Resources, Activities, and Settings for safekeeping.

What is included in an .mbz file?

Moodle backup files include:

  • Resources (e.g., Files, Folders, Pages, etc.)
  • Activities (e.g., Assignments, Quizzes and Quiz questions, Questionnaires)
  • Settings (e.g., Course Format, Theme, Course Completion settings, and settings for Assignments and Quizzes)

Moodle backup files do NOT include:

  • Student enrollment
  • Groups
  • Guest Access settings
  •  Contributions to collaborative activities (Wiki, Forum, Glossary, Database, etc.) made by any course member, including the instructor.

Why download a Moodle backup file (.mbz)?

  • An .mbz file can be used to restore a course on a different Moodle server (e.g., at a different institution, or on open.umass.edu).
  • Because courses are removed from the UMass Amherst Moodle server 18 months after the end of the semester taught, it's a good idea to create a backup at the end of each semester you teach a course. If a course has been removed from Moodle, our Moodle administrators can restore the course contents from an .mbz file you provide.
    Note: When a course from a previous semester is still on Moodle, you can reuse its contents using the Import tool (see Reuse a Moodle Course using “Import”).

Why should I also back up course content and student work, in addition to downloading an .mbz?

Manually backing up your course content can help you reuse course materials in future semesters and keep a record of your students' work. Because .mbz files cannot be used outside of Moodle, and do not include student data, you should also manually back up course content, grades and student submissions in a form you can easily access on your own computer. See Back Up a Moodle Course.

Create a Moodle Backup File (.mbz)

You must have the Teacher role in a course to create and download a backup file:

  1. Log in to Moodle and open the course you would like to back up.
  2. Select Course Management (black gear icon Course management button (black background, white gear icon), top right), the Course Management panel will open.
  3. On the Course Management panel, under Course Settings, select Backup course. The first of several backup pages will open.
  4. On the Initial settings page, select which content to include and click Next. The Schema settings page will open.
  5. The Schema settings page lists content to be exported. Make any desired changes and click Next. The Confirmation and review page will open.
  6. In the File name field you can rename the backup file (optional), then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Perform backup. When the backup is complete you'll see a confirmation message: "The backup file was successfully created."        
  7. To download the backup file, click Download.
  8. For more options click Manage Backup files. Click the file icon for a file and choose to Download, Rename, Move or Delete the file.

Manage Backup Files Stored on Moodle

As described above, when you first create a backup, you can download the file or find more options on the Manage backups page.  To access backup files at a later date:

  1. Log in to Moodle and open the course you would like to backup, for which an .mbz has already being created.
  2. Select Course Management (black gear icon, top right), the Course Management panel will open.
  3. On the Course Management panel, under Course Settings, select Manage backups. The Manage backup files page will open.         
  4. To download the backup file, click Download.
  5. For more options click Manage Backup files. Click the file icon for a file and choose to Download, Rename, Move or Delete the file.

Request to Restore a Course from a Backup File

Note: If a course is present on Moodle at UMass Amherst, you can use the Import tool to copy it into an empty course for a new semester without creating an .mbz backup. See Reuse a Moodle Course using "Import".

Instructors cannot restore their own courses from an .mbz file on Moodle at UMass Amherst, but we will be happy to do it for you! If you have a .mbz file you would like to restore into a Moodle course, contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823 or instruct@umass.edu.

If you are moving the course to another institution, contact their Instructional Technology team.

If you are ask to restore an .mbz for a course created at another institution, please be aware that Moodle at UMass Amherst may not have all the same features enabled.