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  1. #1
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    Backup of partition files to USB: why does it fail?

    Hi there

    Vista Ultimate 64 bit is giving me a headache.... I have a machine that I use as a home file server to keep a backup of my Win7 Pro laptop's files, photos and other data. I use a programme called Goodsync to automatically copy new files to the Vista machine on a regular basis, and the files are copied over properly to the network share.

    As a paranoid data hog, I also want to use the Vista computer to copy those files over to an external USB drive on a schedule. I have tried Goodsync, Mirrorfolder, file copy, Acronis True Image Home, and all have failed to copy the files over. I get some of the folder / directory structure created, but hardly any of the files are copied. I have formatted the USB drive using the same user and other particulars on the Vista machine, with the same result.

    Can someone shed some light on this problem, and a possible solution?

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  3. #2
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    How large are the files? How long is the path name going to be?
    You say "other particulars" in the formatting - does that mean it is NTFS?
    FAT has limitations (2 gig & 256 chars, I think).
    Can you copy the same files/folders to the USB drive directly from your Win 7 laptop?

    Jock

  4. #3
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    I use a program called Second Copy from Centered Systems to do file backups. It does standard copying to any device that your system can see. There is a 30-day evaluation period available. Price is very reasonable.

    I use it to back files up to DVD's and to both a USB stick and, for archival purposes, to a USB drive. Set up properly, it will replicate your folder structure on the target device. It can span multiple disks as well.

    Are all the files copied properly to the Vista machine? Can you copy them manually to the USB drive?

  5. #4
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    Hi there

    Thanks for the responses.... here is more details on the scenario:
    * All drives are formatted NTFS.
    * files copy fine from laptop to desktop
    * Files can be read by the Vista Desktop
    * Folder structure on laptop is from a separate partition (file structure not too long)
    * Folder structure on desktop is the same
    * Tried creating same structure on USB drive before copying - no luck with files.

    Several different methods used to copy files over - straight copy, separate programmes, even Acronis backup / drive clone failed!

    There must be something that is happening wrong, because I also sync the files to an external HDD from my laptop (Paranoid about redundant backups I guess!)

    Your help would be very much appreciated!

  6. #5
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    I have been thinking of an alternative solution - buying a NAS Drive to stash somewhere separate instead of the USB Drive. Problem is that is just another device that I need to keep track of, upgrade and update.... and power!
    I was also thinking of an old laptop that I could perhaps re-provision for that purpose which runs on a low power.....

    Any suggestions?

  7. #6
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    Try uninstalling/deactivating the USB drive, whatever you need to do so Windows will reinstall its driver. Or maybe you need to uninstall some USB controllers in Device Manager, and let Windows find them again on reboot.

    I'm only speculating with my suggestions, but something is weird and corrupted USB something-or-other seems worth probing.

  8. #7
    New Lounger
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    Hi,

    Something to check on that USB drive:
    Properties -Security tab. Do you have full Read/Write access - or better yet - ,full control on that drive?
    If not ,take ownership of that drive under your profile.
    Is VSS enabled ,auto and running?

  9. #8
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    Other Copy utilities: SyncToy, RichCopy, RoboCopy

    I usually use SyncToy (Microsoft power toy) to sync files between my desktop and backup USB flash drive and USB HDD. With its preview option I can see if there are any problems. The one observed "misbehavior" is when the time zone changes between standard time and daylight savings time SyncToy seems to think that the timestamps are different and wants to copy many files again. Supposedly this was fixed in version 2.0, but it still seems to have problems in V2.1. I'll see what happens this Sunday. SyncToy also has a command line invocation that can be used for scheduled tasks. With "-R" copies all normally copy all folder pairs,
    or -R "pair name" to copy a single folder pair. (According to SyncToy forums sometimes this does not work.) http://www.microsoft.com/download/en....aspx?id=15155

    I have also used Robocopy (command line) and RichCopy. (Windows GUI and command line) to copy files for backups or to move some files to another drive. The command line versions can be run as scheduled tasks with the appropriate parameters. These tools are available from Microsoft. RichCopy
    Robocopy: Included in Vista, Server2008 and later, Windows 7. Available from Windows 2003 (http://www.microsoft.com/download/en...ng=en&id=17657) and 2000 resource kits. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy)
    RichCopy: http://blogs.technet.com/b/ken/archi...ad-center.aspx.

    These tools normally do not copy files that already on the destination media unless the timestamps or file sizes don't match.

    Note that these tools are not supported directly by Microsoft and provided "as is".

  10. #9
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    Permissions problem?

    If you back up copies from your laptop to the shared Vista drive, the security credentials (SIDs) associated with them on the Vista system may be those of your laptop. Then when you attempt to use an application on the Vista system to back up these same files to an external drive on the Vista system, the security credentials under which that application is running may not allow access to most of the files (since their credentials may not be those on the Vista system even if usernames and passwords there are identical to those on your laptop).

    You do say that the files copied to the Vista share are readable by software on the Vista system, but is that in the same user context used by the backup application there?

    You might be able to see if this kind of issue is the problem by temporarily making your external drive also shared on Vista and then attempting to run the backup application on your laptop to back up the fileset from the internal Vista share to the external Vista share.

    Then again, I don't play with shares enough to really know what I'm talking about here, so these are just guesses. Good luck.

  11. #10
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    Arrow Trying too hard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photorer View Post
    I have a machine that I use as a home file server to keep a backup of my Win7 Pro laptop's files, photos and other data. I use a programme called Goodsync to automatically copy new files to the Vista machine on a regular basis, and the files are copied over properly to the network share.
    I'm also a GoodSync user (on Win7 Pro x64)--I use it to back up my user data to an external USB drive (actually, two different drives that I alternate to an offsite location).

    I can totally relate to your wanting the backup system to work just the way you envision it in your mind, but I'm also wondering if your system has stopped being your servant and has become your master (and a pretty sadistic one, at that).

    A few questions/observations:

    Quote Originally Posted by Photorer View Post
    As a paranoid data hog, I also want to use the Vista computer to copy those files over to an external USB drive on a schedule. I have tried Goodsync, Mirrorfolder, file copy, Acronis True Image Home, and all have failed to copy the files over. I get some of the folder / directory structure created, but hardly any of the files are copied. I have formatted the USB drive using the same user and other particulars on the Vista machine, with the same result.

    • All drives are formatted NTFS.
    • files copy fine from laptop to desktop
    • Files can be read by the Vista Desktop
    • Folder structure on laptop is from a separate partition (file structure not too long)
    • Folder structure on desktop is the same
    • Tried creating same structure on USB drive before copying - no luck with files.


    Several different methods used to copy files over - straight copy, separate programmes, even Acronis backup / drive clone failed!
    OK, so Vista really doesn't want to copy those laptop files to the USB drive for some arcane reason (and the security permissions theory is as good as any other, at this point), regardless of the method (whether direct copy or third-part program). Before spending any more time on this, I'd encourage you to ask yourself what it is really need (secure backups, I assume), as opposed to what you want (to make the backup system work exactly this way--am I right?).

    Quote Originally Posted by Photorer View Post
    There must be something that is happening wrong, because I also sync the files to an external HDD from my laptop (Paranoid about redundant backups I guess!)
    So you already have the same files on:

    1. The laptop
    2. The Vista box (your local backup)
    3. The external HDD connected to your laptop (for offsite backup? I hope so, if you're truly paranoid like me .)

    Assuming that you could get the Vista-to-external-HDD sync to work, in what scenario would that fourth set of file copies possibly be of sufficient value to justify all the time spent on getting it to work?

    Which leads to my next question: Is the Vista system purely a backup server, or is it also a workstation (i.e., do you create content directly on it that needs to be backed up)?

    If the former, then what's the point of backing the Vista system up at all? You'd be better off using the second external HDD to set up an alternating backup system on your laptop. If you did that, you'd always have a local backup on one external HDD, an offsite backup on the second, and you wouldn't need to have a third backup on the Vista server. In fact, you'd potentially just be creating unnecessary version control issues for yourself (but if it helped you sleep better at night, you could still do it).

    If the latter (i.e., the Vista box is also used for content creation), then why not sync just the locally-created files to the second external HDD, forget about syncing a fourth copy of the laptop files, and be satisfied that you've already got all possible bases covered for the data on your laptop (working files, local backup, offsite backup)?

    In either case, you'd have all the backup scenarios covered, and you can just declare victory, call it a day, and use all the spare time you now have not working on Windows to do something that's actually productive.

    Sometimes, it's just not worth trying to get Windows to do something that it just doesn't want to do, just for the sake of proving that you can.

  12. #11
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    I can advice @MAX SyncUp. This program correctly works with files and folders ACL. Good luck

  13. #12
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    Thanks for all the great insights and suggestions. I have given up hitting my head against a wall in the last couple of weeks, and have just taken the approach that I need to sleep!

    OK - the scenario is now as follows:
    * Files created on the various laptops of the household still sync back to the central Vista machine.
    * I have removed the external USB from the machine entirely (was not doing anything anyway!)
    * I have purchased a NexstarFX mini NAS or network HDD adapter.... it purports to do everything I want, and I thought it was perfect for my purposes ---- BUT!

    The little thing is perfect in form, and function apart from the fact that it has to format a USB drive that you attach to it in order to share it. It has only one way of doing it, and that is FAT32.... which means that the long file path / file names that I want to backup are not supported! [perhaps the same problem as the Vista Machine??]

    So I now just backup my laptop's files to the Vista machine (when I remember), and the external HDD (when I remember) and store the latter somewhere safe - but not off site!

    I inherited a reasonably powered little mini laptop which I have now put a 500Gb HDD into, with a partition that I can synchronise with my data on my workstation laptop. That way I can continue working if the laptop disappears or dies! Still looking for a small form factor, cheap unit that will allow me to keep a backup of the Vista Machine's files copied to (because there is more than just my laptop's data on it!) - and found the TonidoPlug... very nice, but since the plug is designed for the US will not work here in SA with 220V and a different type of plug! This is an expensive trial if it does not work...!

    There are a few other alternatives but again quite expensive....

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