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When I try to backup my Ubuntu 18.04 I get the following message: "Backup Failed - failed with an unknown error" and then the following is shown:

Traceback (innermost last):
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1555, in <module>
    with_tempdir(main)
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1541, in with_tempdir
    fn()
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1393, in main
    do_backup(action)
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 1516, in do_backup
    full_backup(col_stats)
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 572, in full_backup
    globals.backend)
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 454, in write_multivol
    (tdp, dest_filename, vol_num)))
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/asyncscheduler.py", line 146, in schedule_task
    return self.__run_synchronously(fn, params)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/asyncscheduler.py", line 172, in __run_synchronously
    ret = fn(*params)
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 453, in <lambda>
    vol_num: put(tdp, dest_filename, vol_num),
  File "/usr/bin/duplicity", line 342, in put
    backend.put(tdp, dest_filename)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/backend.py", line 395, in inner_retry
    % (n, e.__class__.__name__, util.uexc(e)))
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/duplicity/util.py", line 79, in uexc
    return ufn(unicode(e).encode('utf-8'))
 UnicodeDecodeError: 'ascii' codec can't decode byte 0xe2 in position 37: ordinal not in range(128)

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I am using the backup utility that comes with the Ubuntu 18.04 package, named "Backups". I am backing up to an ext hard drive - Toshiba 2Tb. It has worked in the past but recently (a week ago) this problem has arisen. I have done nothing unusual that I know of.

I should be most grateful for any help. Please remember I am 70 years old and a noob! Thanking you in anticipation. DB

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    Thanks for your response. I am using the backup utility that comes with the Ubuntu 18.04 package, named "Backups". I am backing up to an ext hard drive - Toshiba 2Tb. It has worked in the past but recently (a week ago) this problem has arisen. I have done nothing unusual that I know of. – Duncan Aug 8 '19 at 16:26
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    The ascii error message in the last line suggests you might have encountered this bug: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/duplicity/+bug/1770929 If I read it correctly, it happens when there are non-ASCII characters passed to the program. This could happen if you are specifically including or excluding directories or files that have nonASCII characters in their names - the example given in the bug report is ä – Organic Marble Aug 8 '19 at 16:40
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    I would look for nonASCII characters. – Organic Marble Aug 9 '19 at 10:04
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    Non-ASCII are generally foreign characters like Russian, Chinese, Japanese, ... anything positively weird to you. (My apologies to the Russian, Chinese, Japanese users on this site. ;-) YKWIM...) Find the file / directory that has them and rename it / them... – Fabby Aug 10 '19 at 19:53
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    Good - thanks - found them - the offending characters were: ":" and "?" - erroneously entered at some time. Once again, thank you! – Duncan Aug 11 '19 at 20:42
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Ultimately I ditched "Backup" app and now use "Grsync" (GUI) and Rsync for the terminal. Also, reported errors related to use of colon < : > and < ? > in file names - once corrected all fine. Sincere thanks to those who helped - greatly appreciated!

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