Zoolz: A Complete Tour

Thinking about signing up for Zoolz? Here's a complete tour

The Zoolz online backup service has this program that you install to your computer to run the backups. This Zoolz tour provides a way for you to see how the software works before you choose to sign up for your own account.

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Smart Selection Screen

Screenshot of the Zoolz Smart Selection screen
Zoolz Smart Selection Screen.

After installing Zoolz, this will be the first screen you'll be shown. It lets you quickly choose the types of files you want to back up.

As you can see, you can select things like Desktop, Financial Files, Videos, Pictures, and others.

You can hover your mouse over any of these categories for more information as to where on your computer these files will be backed up from. To see which specific file types the category will back up, you can click or tap the settings icon that shows up next to some of these, like with the Office and eBooks & PDFs category. The next slide shows how to edit these extensions.

If you'd rather have complete control over what's backed up, like choosing the exact hard drives, folders, and files that Zoolz will back up from, you can use the My Computer tab of this screen, which is shown in Slide 3.

The File Filters and Auto Exclude options are global settings that tell Zoolz what you don't want to back up. There's more on this later on in this tour.

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Edit Extensions Screen

Screenshot of the Zoolz Edit Extensions screen
Zoolz Edit Extensions Screen.

On the Smart Selection screen of Zoolz, you're able to edit the file extensions that the Office, Financial Files, and eBooks & PDFs category will look for when finding files to back up.

In this example,the Office category will back up all the files types that are listed here. You can remove any of the extensions as well as add other ones to it. The Reset link will return the list to the way it was before you made any changes to it.

Selecting the drop-down menu will let you choose the other two categories that you're able to edit the extensions for.

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My Computer Screen

Screenshot of the Zoolz My Computer screen
Zoolz My Computer Screen.

This is the My Computer screen in Zoolz, which is where you go to choose what to back up. This is different from the Smart Selection screen (Slide 1) in that you have complete control over the data that's backed up.

You can select specific hard drives, folders, and files that you want the program to back up to your account.

The File Filters and Auto Exclude options are two easy ways to tell Zoolz what you don't want to back up. There's more on this in the next two slides.

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File Filters Screen

Screenshot of the Add Filters screen in Zoolz
Zoolz Add Filters Screen.

The File Filters screen can be opened from its link at the top right of Zoolz, as you can see in this screenshot.

Multiple separate filters can be created, and one filter set can even have multiple filters associated with it.

Filters can be applied to everything you're backing up or just to a specific folder. For the latter option, choose Specific Path, and pick the hard drive or folder on your computer that the filter should apply to.

There are multiple ways you can exclude things from backing up with Zoolz: by file extension or expression, size, and/or date.

To explicitly include some file types, thereby excluding all others, check the box next to Filter by extension or expression and use the Include option. Whatever you enter here will be included in backups, and any other file type that's found in the backup path will be ignored and not backed up.

The opposite is true if you select the Exclude option. To exclude just a few file types, you can enter something like *.iso; *.zip; *.rar to skip backing up ISO, ZIP, and RAR files. This means everything else will be backed up except for those file types.

Next to the include/exclude text boxes is an option for turning on Regular Expression. Zoolz has a list of commonly used Regular Expressions you can look at for examples.

To avoid backing up files larger than a certain size, enable the Do not backup files larger than option. You can enter an integer by MB or GB. Choosing 5 GB, for example, will cause Zoolz to ignore backing up files that are over 5 GB in size.

Do not backup files older than can be selected in a filter to ensure only files newer than that date are backed up. Everything older than the date you specify are skipped.

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Auto Exclude Screen

Screenshot of the Auto Exclude screen in Zoolz
Zoolz Auto Exclude Screen.

By default, Zoolz does not back up certain folders. An entire list of these folders can be seen from the Auto Exclude link near the top right of the program.

As you can see in this screenshot, Zoolz doesn't back up hidden files, nor does it back up any of the folders you see listed.

You can edit this list to remove any of the default folders as well as to add any other folders you don't want Zoolz to back up.

As you can see, you're able to use wildcards with these rules so you can exclude a particular file type from a specific folder, like you see with the ShortCuts one in this screenshot.

To enable the backup of all of these folders, you can simply uncheck the Enable Auto Exclude option. The same goes for hidden files - just place a check next to Backup hidden files to start backing those up.

During a backup, Zoolz stores temporary files on your computer. The location of this cache folder can be changed from the General tab.

When troubleshooting an issue with Zoolz, support may ask for log files. You can get these from the logs folders, which is also accessible from the General tab.

Clicking or tapping Reset puts all of these settings back to their default values.

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Backup Settings Screen

Screenshot of the Zoolz Backup Settings screen
Zoolz Backup Settings Screen.

This is a temporary screen in Zoolz that you only see after you've installed the program but before you run your first backup. There are other slides in this tour that show the actual settings you'll have access to each time you use Zoolz.

Run on Schedule:

This option tells Zoolz how often it should check your files for updates, and therefore how often your files should be backed up.

See Slide 10 for more information on these options.

Security Options:

There are two settings here: Use Zoolz internal encryption password and Use my own password.

The first option will create an auto-generated key using Zoolz. With this route, the encryption key is stored online in your account.

If you choose to use your own password, you'll be the only person who can decrypt your data.

Enable Bandwidth Throttling:

You can tell Zoolz how fast it's allowed to upload your files using this bandwidth setting.

See Slide 11 for more on this.


Hybrid+ is an optional feature you can enable that will back up your files locally in addition to the regular online backups Zoolz performs. In short, it simply makes two copies of your backups - one online and one at the location you specify here.

Slide 13 has some additional information on this feature.

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Zoolz Dashboard

Screenshot of Zoolz Dashboard
Zoolz Dashboard.

Zoolz Dashboard is the first screen you'll see after setting up Zoolz for the first time. It's also the screen you'll be shown each time you open the program.

This is how you access everything in Zoolz, from the list of data you're backing up, to the settings and restore utility, all of which we'll look at in some of the other slides in this tour.

From here, you can also immediately pause all the backups and view/skip/cancel any pending uploads.

The Switch to Turbo Mode and Switch to Smart Mode are two options you have from the Zoolz Dashboard. They let you quickly allow Zoolz to use more or less system resources for uploading your files. 

Turbo Mode uses all your available bandwidth, and thus more processing power, so it's recommended to switch to this mode only if you won't be using your computer.

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Pending Files Screen

Screenshot of the Zoolz Pending Files screen
Zoolz Pending Files Screen.

Zoolz lets you view the first 1,000 files that are currently slated for upload to your account. This option is found next to the Pending section on the Zoolz Dashboard screen.

You can search for files from this screen, and click or tap Skip to temporarily prevent them from backing up. Doing so will stop the files from uploading until the next backup cycle.

Remove can be chosen if you want to completely stop the selected files from backing up. Doing so will also create an exclusion so they never back up again unless you lift the restriction.

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Data Selection Screen

Screenshot of the Data Selection screen in Zoolz
Zoolz Data Selection Screen.

The Data Selection screen is accessible from the Zoolz Dashboard screen. It lets you choose what hard drives, folders, and files you want to back up to your Zoolz account.

See Slide 1 for more information on the Smart Selection tab of this screen, and Slide 3 for details on the My Computer tab.

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Schedule Settings Tab

Zoolz Schedule Settings Tab
Zoolz Schedule Settings Tab.

This is the Schedule tab in the Zoolz program settings. This is where you decide how often to run backups.

The Backup every option lets you set your backups to run every 5, 15, or 30 minutes. There are also hourly intervals you can pick from that will run a backup every 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, or 24 hours.

The value for the Perform a full a scan on all selections every option should be set so Zoolz knows how often it should run a complete analysis of the backup folders to ensure all the new and modified files have actually been uploaded.

Alternatively, your backups can be set to run on a schedule, which can be any time throughout the day for any number of days during the week.

A schedule can also be set to stop at a certain time, which means backups will run from a start to a stop time only and won't be allowed to launch any time outside of that scope.

This would be particularly useful if you're editing your files a lot during the day, and would like the backups to run then instead of during the night.

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Resource Optimization Tab

Zoolz Resource Optimization Tab
Zoolz Resource Optimization Tab.

The Resource Optimization section of Zoolz's settings lets you manage everything that has to do with the connection between the program and the internet.

To enable Zoolz to upload more than one file at once, place a check next to the option called Use multithreaded upload (faster backup).

Bandwidth throttling can be enabled and set to anything from 128 Kbps all the way up to 16 Mbps. There's also a Maximum Speed option, which will let Zoolz use as much bandwidth as it can, uploading files as fast as your network will allow. Scheduled throttling is supported, too, so that the bandwidth change happens at certain times of the day only.

Another way to limit the speed of a backup is to turn on the Enable Presentation Mode option. This will pause the backup when you're watching movies, playing games, and doing other full-screen things.

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Connection Tab

Zoolz Connection Tab
Zoolz Connection Tab.

Under the Select Internet connection type section, you're able to limit Zoolz uploads to certain internet adapters only. For example, you can disable everything but Wired connection (LAN) to ensure that Zoolz will only back up files if your computer is plugged in to the network with a wire.

If you select Wireless connection (WiFi) and choose a network from Wifi Safelist, you can tell Zoolz exactly which wireless connections are allowed to be used for backing up files.

Zoolz uses your computer's proxy settings, so you can click or tap Open Proxy Settings... to make changes to the connection.

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Hybrid+ Settings Tab

Zoolz Hybrid+ Settings Tab
Zoolz Hybrid+ Settings Tab.

Hybrid+ is a feature you can enable in Zoolz that will make an additional copy of your data, but do so offline and in the location you choose.

Enabling this feature will allow file restores to be performed much quicker because the data can be copied from a local hard drive instead of downloaded over the internet. It also lets you restore your files even if you don't have an active connection to the internet.

Plus, because Zoolz Home plans store your data using Cold Storage, restoring takes 3-12 hours, whereas this feature enables instant restores. 

You're able to let Hybrid+ use any internal drive, external drive, or network location to store the backups.

If Zoolz doesn't find your data in the Hybrid+ folder when it's trying to run a restore, it will automatically start the restore process out of Cold Storage. There's nothing you need to switch on or off to make this work.

A limit can be imposed on the Hybrid+ folder so it doesn't use up too much disk space. When this maximum size has been reached, Zoolz will make room for new data by deleting the oldest files in the Hybrid+ folder. The minimum size Zoolz requires this folder to be is 100 GB. 

Filters can be set so Hybrid+ only makes local copies of the file types and folders that you specify. See Slide 4 for some examples of these filters.

The Run Now button will force Zoolz to re-analyze the Hybrid+ location and ensure that the files from your online account are also being saved to this folder.

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Advanced Settings Tab

Zoolz Advanced Settings Tab
Zoolz Advanced Settings Tab.

Several other options can be managed from this Advanced Settings tab in Zoolz.

Show Hidden files in My Computer Tab, if enabled, will show hidden files in the My Computer screen. Doing this lets you choose to back up hidden files, which normally wouldn't be shown.

If you've selected to start Zoolz automatically when your computer starts up, you can delay it a few minutes from starting so other programs that are starting up can fully load before Zoolz tries to open. This helps to prevent it from negatively impacting your computer's performance.

Zoolz can be configured to use Volume Shadow Copy to back up files that are open and being used. To do this, you must enable the VSS Extensions option and then enter the file types that it should apply to.

To save on time and bandwidth usage, Zoolz can split files larger than 5 MB into blocks, see which blocks have changed, and then back up only those blocks instead of the entire file. Enable Block Level Extensions to use this feature, and then enter the file types that it should apply to.

Zoolz can be setup to generate thumbnail previews for RAW (CR2RAF, etc.) and JPG images. Doing so will enable the web app to display these thumbnails instantly so you can clearly see what the files are before restoring them. Enabling these options may impact your computer's performance.

Zoolz can show you which files and folders are being backed up right from Windows Explorer. If you enable Show backup markers on backed up files, you'll see these small colored icons on the data that has already been backed up as well as on files that are queued for backup.

Enable Windows Right-click options provides shortcuts in the right-click context menu, which let you do various things with Zoolz without having to first open the program. You're able to start or stop backing up data, share your files, view deleted files, and show all the different versions that have been backed up for a file.

Sharing files is supported only with Instant Storage/Vaults.

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Zoolz Restore Screen

Screenshot of the Zoolz Restore screen
Zoolz Restore Screen.

The last option on the Zoolz Dashboard screen is the Zoolz Restore utility, which lets you restore data from your Zoolz account back to your computer.

From this screen, you can select the computer the files were backed up from, and then navigate through the folders to find what you need restored.

The (Show Versions) link next to files lets you view other versions of those files that were backed up to your account. The version number, date modified, and size of the files are shown to you. You can then select a specific version to restore instead of choosing what you see on this screen, which is the most recently backed up version.

If you need to restore files you've deleted, you must place a check in the box next to Show/Restore deleted files for them to show up here.

If the files or folders you need to restore weren't backed up from the Zoolz account you're currently logged in to, you can click or tap Restore from a different account, and then logon with alternate credentials.

Choosing Next will give you restore options, which we'll look at in the next slide.

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Zoolz Restore Options Screen

Screenshot of the Zoolz Restore Options screen
Zoolz Restore Options Screen.

After you've selected what you want to restore from your Zoolz account, you can define specific restore options from this screen.

The Restore location section asks you whether you want to restore the data to the original location it was backed up from or to a new one.

Enabling Use multithreaded downloaded will allow Zoolz to use all your network's bandwidth for the downloads, plus use more system resources than it otherwise would, which will speed up the download but also impact your computer's performance/speed.

If you've backed up the data using Hybrid+ (see Slide 13), you can use that location to restore the files instead of downloading them from your online Zoolz account.

Restoring a folder and all of its files may be what you're after. But if you'd rather restore files within a certain date range only, you can use the Restore date range option to do so.

The final option lets you define what should happen if a file you're restoring already exists in the restore location. One option is to have the file replace the existing one but only if it's newer, which should be what you choose on a normal basis. However, there may be other circumstances where choosing Do not replace the file or Always replace the file is more applicable.

Clicking or tapping Next will show you the progress of the restore.

If your files are being restored through the Hybrid+ feature, the restore process will begin immediately. However, if you're restoring the files from your Zoolz account, it usually takes 3-5 hours before they will start downloading to your computer, but the process will begin immediately.

Sign Up for Zoolz

I love Zoolz but I'm not a huge fan of their prices or overall features. Still, it's a good service and if you love something about what they offer then I have no trouble recommending them.

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Check out our Zoolz review for a complete look at what they offer, updated pricing for their plans, and my thoughts on the service after using it for a while.

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