Using bplist to list files backed up with NetBackup

A common question often asked is "How can I find versions of a file backed up by NetBackup"?.

The answer is to simply use the bplist command to view a list of all versions of a file that has been backed. The command is located in /usr/openv/netbackup/bin on Solaris and other UNIX based systems, and under <install_path>\NetBackup\bin under Windows.

Whilst bplist is the backup admins most useful command if you want to display the information on the files and directories, it can be tricky to get the command-line argument correct. bplist assumes:

  • That if no path specified, then bplist uses the current directory,
  • If no start time is specified, then bplist defaults to the last 12 hours in it's search,
  • If no policy type specified, then the standard (type 0) is assumed. Click here for a detailed listing of NetBackup polity types.

As a general rule, always try and:

  • specify a path,
  • specify a -s <start time>
  • (optionally, specify an -e <end time>),
  • always specify the -R option,
  • specify a policy type (-t) unless you are listing a UNIX type backup.


The simplest syntax would be:

bplist -l -R <path-to-file>
      For example:


# bplist -l -R /test/file1

For a specific NetBackup client, the syntax would be:

bplist -C <client> -l -R <path-to-file>
      For example:


# bplist -C smurf -l -R /test/file1

If you want to specify the start date, use the syntax:

bplist -C <client> -s <mm/dd/yyyy [hh[:mm[:ss]]]> -l -R <path/to/file>
      For example:


# bplist -C smurf -s 06/23/2010 23:00:00 -l -R /test/file1

Alternatively, if you want to specify the start time as ctime, we can use:

bplist -C <client> -X -s <ctime> -l -R </path/to/file>
      For example:


# bplist -C smurf -X -s 1277330400 -l -R /test/file1

Policy Types

The following table lists the policy types currently available.

0 Standard  
1 Proxy NetBackup internal setting
2 Non-Standard NetBackup internal setting
3 Apollo-wbak NetBackup DataCenter only
4 Oracle  
5 Any policy type  
6 Informix-On-BAR  
7 Sybase  
8 MS-Sharepoint NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
9 MS-Windows Not active, use MS-Windows-NT (13) for Windows 2000/NT/XP/2003 clients.
10 NetWare  
11 DataTools-SQL-BackTrack  
12 Auspex-FastBackup  
13 MS-Windows-NT  
14 OS/2  
15 MS-SQL-Server  
16 MS-Exchange-Server  
17 SAP NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
18 DB2 NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
19 NDMP  
20 FlashBackup NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
21 Split-Mirror NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
22 AFS NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
23 DFS Not an active policy type.
24 DataStore  
25 Lotus-Notes  
26 NCR-Teradata No longer supported, contact NCR to see if they provide an extension.
27 OpenVMS  
28 MPE/iX  
29 FlashBackup-Windows NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
30 Vault  
31 BE-MS-SQL-Server  
32 BE-MS-Exchange-Server  
33 Macintosh Not active, use Standard (0) for Macintosh OSX clients.
34 Disk Staging NetBackup Server /Enterprise Server only
35 NBU-Catalog NetBackup 6.0 only
Table 1 — NetBackup policy types

Additional Resources