How to manually back up Whatsapp from Android

So, I’m going through my photos and video on my Android and copying it to my computer for backup-purposes. Of course, WhatsApp is a large part of my life and there a lot of photos and videos “hidden” there as well.

Location of files

Not too hard to locate the files, they are in:


On either the internal of SD-card memory.

What to copy?

What do we keep and what do we remove? In my case, I’m only interested in photos and videos. So we keep the WhatsApp Images and WhatsApp Videos folders. In both folders you’ll notice a lot of files and a Sent folder.

And now the confusion starts!

Images folder

The files in the WhatsApp Images-folder appear to be a mix of photos you received and sent. If you used WhatsApp to take the photo, it will end up in both locations. If you made the photo outside of WhatsApp, it will only appear in the Sent folder.

The photo stored in the Sent folder appears to be exactly as they were sent: a downsized version of the original with the edits you made in WhatsApp (for example a sticker or text you put on the image).

Conclusion: you can safely throw away the Sent-folder without risk of losing any precious memories, unless you edit your photos in WhatsApp before sending them. In that case, you’ll want to save the Sent-folder also.

Videos folder

This is more tricky. WhatsApp appears to use the same trick here, but the videos in the Sent-folder are sometimes larger than the ones in the root WhatsApp Videos folder. Which is not what we expected from how the images folder was organized. So what’s going on?

It appears that WhatsApp tries to optimize some videos before sending them. This is not flawless, and sometimes results in a larger file.

Unlike photos, most videos made with WhatsApp are not reduced in file size before being sent. On the other hand, all videos taken outside of WhatsApp are resized.

Conclusion: we can also safely throw away the Sent-folder here. The same caveat exists here: if you edit your video in WhatsApp (trimming for instance), you might want to keep the Sent-folder after all.

Disk usage

When you send a photo or video from within WhatsApp, it gets stored twice. What’s worse, if you send the same file to multiple people or groups (but on different days) it also duplicates.

This makes for easy backing up as we don’t have to go through the Sent-folder, but I was hoping WhatsApp would use symlinks instead. Maybe it does and non-root users can’t see that?

I did my research on January 25th, 2017. WhatsApp may update the way this works. So before removing your Sent-folders, just doublecheck!

Installing Jekyll on Mac, Ubuntu and Bash on Windows

I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of having to install Jekyll on different platforms and thought I’d share the findings.


This is the easy one. Install HomeBrew and run:

brew install jekyll

Grab a cup of coffee, you’re done!

On Ubuntu and Bash on Windows

Sadly, this one takes a bit more work. Do not run sudo apt-get install jekyll, because it installs an ANCIENT Jekyll (0.11.2), so the first step is to remove that if you’ve got it installed (sudo apt-get remove jekyll).

There’s multiple ways to install, but the easiest I’ve found is adding a custom repository from Brightbox.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:brightbox/ruby-ng
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ruby2.2 ruby2.2-dev
sudo gem install iconv posix-spawn mini_magick jekyll

The last step installs necessary gems for Jekyll, although gem ‘mini_magick’ is not strictly necessary.

On Windows you may need to close your terminal and reopen it to update your PATH)

Running Jekyll on Bash on Windows

Filewatchers aren’t working on Bash on Windows yet (in august at least). So if you run in Bash on Windows, you may need to run instead:

jekyll serve --force_polling

This will make sure the HTML/CSS will update when changes are made.

SUDO not working?

Now, on Windows the sudo command may be borked. If you get the error “unable to resolve host NAME”, you’ll need to update your Linux hosts file (which is different from the Windows one). Here’s a guide. Basically, add the host name from /etc/hostname to the file /etc/hosts.

Over the years I’ve come up with a lot of different ideas. I try to do something with all of them (like publish them here), but sadly most ideas just end up in a big Google Keep list…

Well, not anymore!

I’ve started a new project where I document my ideas and on top of that, try to implement the idea where possible.

Go ahead and take a look

Schadenfreude beach

Are you stressed or feeling down? And do you feel better reading about other people’s (first world) problems?

Then I’ve got just the solution for you: schadenfreude beach!

Look at a peaceful scene while reading all the #FML tags from Twitter. Updates come in every 20 seconds, so you have a bit of time to take it all in.

Go on a 30 minute holiday at schadenfreude-beach and relax!

(since it’s raw twitter stuff, it may not be suited for work)

32juan - One picture per hour

So there’s another project for you. It’s part of a larger idea, which I’m still working on. For now this website basically just shows a new ‘funny’ picture every hour…

(all pictures are reasonably suited for work)