Backing up attachments with their original filenames

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Backing up attachments with their original filenames

Post by canonknipser » 26 Aug 2016, 09:10

Published also in the phpBB-Knowledge Base - Backing up attachments with their original filenames

Both the filename used by phpBB and the original filename are stored in the "attachments" table, so to recover the original filename you can use the data from that table.

Here is a script which copies all files (except thumbnails) uploaded as attachments to a different folder and renames them to the original filename, prefixed by the attachment_id to prevent duplicate file names. The original data in phpBB is left untouched.

The steps

Step 1

First, create a directory called filebackup in the root folder of your board and set its CHMOD permission to 777.

Step 2

Paste the following script into a plain text editor, save it as rename.php and place it in the root folder of your board (where config.php is).

Code: Select all

* This script will copy all attachments from the attachment folder (default
* "files") to a separate directory, replacing the cryptic phpBB filename with the
* original filename, prepended by numeric attach_id to prevent duplicate filenames.

* @ignore
define('IN_PHPBB', true);
$phpbb_root_path = (defined('PHPBB_ROOT_PATH')) ? PHPBB_ROOT_PATH : './';
$phpEx = substr(strrchr(__FILE__, '.'), 1);
include($phpbb_root_path . 'common.' . $phpEx);
include($phpbb_root_path . 'includes/functions_display.' . $phpEx);

// Name of script - change if you use a different name for the script
$scriptname = 'rename.php';
// Specify the number of attachments to copy in one run - reduce if you receive a timeout from server
$interval = 100;
// Specify the path for the copies - must have write access (CHMOD 777)
$copypath = 'filebackup';

// read id of last attachement copied
if (isset($config['last_attach_id']))
   $last_attach_id = $config['last_attach_id'];
   $last_attach_id = 0;
   set_config('last_attach_id', 0);

// count number of attachments to process
$sql = 'SELECT COUNT(attach_id) AS num_attach
WHERE attach_id > ' . (int) $last_attach_id . '
ORDER BY attach_id ASC';
$result = $db->sql_query($sql);
$attachs_count = (int) $db->sql_fetchfield('num_attach');

// Output Information
echo dheader();

// read required information from attachment table
$sql = 'SELECT attach_id, physical_filename, real_filename
WHERE attach_id > ' . (int) $last_attach_id . '
ORDER BY attach_id ASC';
$result = $db->sql_query_limit($sql, $interval);

// how many attachment do we copy in this run?
$actual_num = $db->sql_affectedrows($result);
if ($actual_num == 0)
    // nothing to do
    $complete = true;
    $complete = false;
    if ($attachs_count <= $interval)
        // this is the last run
        $complete = true;
    while ($row = $db->sql_fetchrow($result))
        // for each attachment
        //remember id
        $last_attach_id = $row['attach_id'];
        // build source filename including path (we fetch the path from config
        $source = $phpbb_root_path . $config['upload_path'] . '/' . $row['physical_filename'];
        // build destination filename including path
        $destination = $phpbb_root_path . $copypath . '/' . $last_attach_id . "_" . $row['real_filename'];
        // copy the file
        if (copy ($source, $destination))
            // write info to user
            echo sprintf("<tr><td class='succ'>copy succesful:</td><td>%s</td><td>%s</td><td>%s</td></tr>", $last_attach_id, $source, $destination);
            echo sprintf("<tr><td class='error'>copy failed:</span></td><td>%s</td><td>%s</td><td>%s</td></tr>", $last_attach_id, $source, $destination);
    // write last attachment id in config
    set_config('last_attach_id', $last_attach_id);
// finished
echo dfooter();

function dheader()
    global $attachs_count, $interval;
    if ($interval > $attachs_count)
        $interval = $attachs_count;
    $remain = $attachs_count - $interval;

    return '<html>
        <title>copy ' . $interval . ' attachments in this run, ' . $remain . ' remain to copy</title>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf8">
            a:visited {COLOR: #3A4273; TEXT-DECORATION: none}
            a:link {COLOR: #3A4273; TEXT-DECORATION: none}
            a:hover {COLOR: #3A4273; TEXT-DECORATION: underline}
            .error {COLOR: red; ; FONT-WEIGHT: bold}
            .succ {COLOR: green; ; FONT-WEIGHT: bold}
            body, table, td {COLOR: #3A4273; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma, Verdana, Arial; FONT-SIZE: 12px; LINE-HEIGHT: 20px; scrollbar-base-color: #E3E3EA; scrollbar-arrow-color: #5C5C8D}
            input {COLOR: #085878; FONT-FAMILY: Tahoma, Verdana, Arial; FONT-SIZE: 12px; background-color: #3A4273; color: #FFFFFF; scrollbar-base-color: #E3E3EA; scrollbar-arrow-color: #5C5C8D}
            .install {FONT-FAMILY: Arial, Verdana; FONT-SIZE: 20px; FONT-WEIGHT: bold; COLOR: #000000}
    <body bgcolor="#3A4273\" text="#000000">
        <table width="95%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" align="center">
                    <table width="98%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" align="center">
                        <tr><th colspan="4">copy ' . $interval . ' attachments in this run, ' . $remain . ' remain to copy</th></tr>
                            <th>Status</th><th>Attach_ID</th><th>phpBB internal file name</th><th>Copy with original file name</th>

function dfooter()
    global $scriptname, $complete;
    if (!$complete)
        $next_step_link = '<a href="' . $scriptname . '">Click to continue with next step</a>';
        $next_step_link = "<b>Completed</b>";

    return '<tr><td colspan="4" align="center">' . $next_step_link . '</td></tr>

Execute the script by browsing to "[board_root_fold ... rename.php".

The script copies and renames all files (except thumbnails) into the new folder "filebackup". For preventing duplicate filenames (maybe 2 users used abc.jpg) the attachment-id is added to the filename.

The script presents a verbose output of all files copied, and it can be invoked multiple times. Just press F5 to restart the script or follow the link at the bottom of the page after first run.

Step 3

When finished, you can download all files from filebackup-folder with "real" names.


  • If you get an error when running the script, you can reduce the number of files copied (just decrease the value of $interval at the beginning of the script).
  • Increase $interval if you have a big number of attachments - just test the appropriate value for your needs.
  • Keep in mind, when you have a huge number of attachments, you may run into a php-timeout. Try reducing the value of $interval as described above.
  • The script sets a value in the database when it is run, so if the script is run again, only attachments added to the board after it was last run will be copied. If you need to recopy all the attachments you can reset the value in the database by running this SQL query:

    Code: Select all

    UPDATE phpbb_config SET config_value = 0 WHERE config_name = 'last_attach_id';
    Where phpbb_ is your table prefix.
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