Creating a Backup Plan

  1. Pick “New Backup Plan” from Arq’s File menu.
  2. Choose your storage location and click Continue.
    • If you want to start an Arq Premium trial, choose Arq Cloud Storage and choose a region.
    • Click “Add Storage Location…” to add a storage location to the list. Learn More
  3. If you want to encrypt the backups, choose a password. Arq will then encrypt backup data before sending it, and the password will never leave your computer.
    • Please note: If you’ve chosen a cloud storage location, we strongly recommend encrypting your backups to protect your privacy.
  4. Choose which files to back up.

File Selection Options

Choose “Back up all drives, with standard exclusions” and your new backup plan will back up your computer’s internal drive as well as any drives connected to it at backup time, skipping temporary files and other unneeded files.

Choose “Back up user data on (internal drive name), with standard exclusions” and your new backup plan will back up your computer’s user data, skipping temporary files and other unneeded files.

Choose “I will choose the folders to back up” and Arq will present the edit-backup-plan dialog so you can choose your folders.

Editing Your Backup Plan

Click on your backup plan on the left under “BACKUP”. Then click the Edit button on the right.

File Selections

Arq has 2 options for selecting which files to back up: “all drives” and specific folders.

If you choose “all drives”, Arq will back up all drives connected to the computer at backup time. If you choose specific folders, you can select exactly which folder(s) Arq should back up.

Exclude Rules

In both cases, you can configure rules for excluding files/folders

In the specific-folder case, you can also uncheck specific items within the folder to force Arq to exclude them from backup.

Network Volumes

To back up files on a network volume (e.g. a NAS), choose the “specific folders” option in the Files section of your backup plan’s settings; click Add Other…; then click Add Network Volume… to configure the connection to your network volume. After that, browse the network volume and select the folder you want Arq to back up.

Pick “Network Volumes…” from Arq’s File menu to add, remove, and change the authentication parameters for your network volume(s).

Limit Networks

You can configure Arq to limit network throughput during backup, either all the time or during a window on certain days of the week. This is useful for limiting network usage during the work day while allowing full upload outside of work hours.

You can also configure Arq to include or exclude certain network interfaces or WiFi network names.


By default Arq keeps every backup record. But you can configure Arq to reduce the number of backup records kept as they age, and to delete oldest backup records to limit the overall storage used.


If you check “Thin backup records as they age”, Arq will keep fewer backup records as they get older.

For example, if you check “Thin backup records as they age” and choose to keep hourly backups for 24 hours, daily backups for 30 days, weekly backups for 52 weeks and monthly backups for 60 months, each time Arq backs up it will:


If you check “Limit storage used” you can configure Arq to limit the total amount of storage used.

Each time Arq backs up it will delete oldest backup records until the total storage used is below the value you configured. It will however always keep the latest backup record, even if that exceeds the total storage value you configured.


Arq can send a report via email when a backup activity finishes.

If you’re an Arq Premium subscriber, Arq will handle sending the email for you. If not, you can configure Arq with your own SMTP server to send the email.


By default Arq creates an APFS snapshot (on macOS) or a VSS snapshot (on Windows) and uses that snapshot as the source for creating a backup record. The advantage is that Arq is backing up your files as of a point in time, instead of backing up files that are changing. This results in a consistent backup of your files. You can disable this in the Options section of the Edit Backup Plan dialog.

Other Options

In the Options section you can configure Arq to: