Wildcards for Windows File System

You can also use wildcards to define the subclient content. The following table describes how to use wildcards while defining the subclient content:

If the subclient content consists of wildcard characters and no eligible files are found for backup, then the backup operation will complete successfully even though no files were backed up.




* Any number of characters

This wildcard is used in following scenarios:

  • Back up all files of a specific extension
  • Backup all files under a specific directory
  • Backup all files of a specific extension where the file name starts with a specific pattern.
*.doc will backup all files with the extension .doc (e.g., status.doc, mission.doc) on all drives on the client computer.

C:\Test\*.doc will backup all .doc files only in the C:\Test\directory

a*.dll will backup all files with the extension .dll (e.g., alsvc.dll, advdcc.dll) on the client computer which has the name beginning with the letter "a".

C:\Finance\Test\* will backup only the files in the "Test" folder under the "Finance" folder on the C drive. Any sub-folder under the "Test" folder will not be backed up.

** Any directory level. C:\**\move.cpp - the file named move.cpp located at any directory level under the c: drive. (e.g., c:\info\com\move.cpp)

C:\sys*\** - all folders and files under C drive that start with "sys" will be included. All the sub-folders and files under these folders will also be included.

? Any one character

This wildcard can be used to backup following files or folders:

All files (or folders) for which any one character in the file name or the folder name is variable.

access? will backup any folder/file on the C drive for which the name begins with- "access" followed by any one character such as access1 or access5. However, access12 or access15, for example will not backup because the last two characters in the name are variable. To backup access12 or access15, you must specify access?? in the subclient content.

Class?report will backup any folder/file for which the character in the place of ? is variable. For example: Class1report and Class2report will backup. However, Class15report will not get backed up.

[ ] Set or range of characters. C:\[a-m]*.doc backs up any file with .doc extension on the C drive for which the name begins with the letters "a" through "m”.

C:\[AEIOU]*.doc backs up any file name that ends with .doc and begins with the letters A, E, I, O, or U.

Numbers within square brackets are treated as single digits, and a dash between two digits indicates the complete range of numbers between those two digits.

For example,

test[1-5].txt backs up all files test1.txt, test2.txt, test3.txt, test4.txt, and test5.txt.

test1[0-9][0-9][0-9].txt backs up all files starting from test1000.txt to test1999.txt.

To back up files test 10 to test 39, enter test[1-3][0-9]. If you enter [10-39], it would back up test1, test0, test3, and test9.

If you want to treat [] as literal characters and not as wildcards, you must use a special syntax. This will be useful when you want to add a file which has [] in the file name. The special syntax allows you to define an escape character. Each character immediately following the escape character will then be treated literally and not as a wildcard.

For example: You want to backup a file with the name report[finance].doc on the C drive. In order for the square brackets to not be treated as wildcards, you must define an escape character. In the following example, the escape character is defined as the apostrophe (‘). The "e=" syntax is used to define the escape character. Since the square brackets are to be treated as literals, they both must be preceded by apostrophes. The content entry in the subclient should look like this:


Any character can be used as the escape character, as long as it is defined after the “e=” in the syntax and it precedes any character that is to be treated as a literal.

In addition, the escape character can itself be used as a literal. This can be achieved by prefixing it with another escape character. To backup a file with the name Test[Report]’2011’Financials.doc on the C drive, the following syntax should be used:


[ ! ] The negation of a set or range of characters. You can use the wildcard in following scenario:

Back up all files in a directory except the files for which the name starts with any character from the specified set or range of characters.

C:\Windows\[!AEIOU]*.doc would backup all .doc files in the C:\Windows directory that start with a letter other than A, E, I, O, or U.