Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 27
  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Anaheim, California, USA
    Posts
    488
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    What's the best way to back up on Windows 7?

    I have a laptop running Windows 7 that I share with my wife. I want to back up her User Files, My User Files and the Public User Files, pictures, videos, music, etc. I have a 250 GB WD Passport Portable Hard Drive that I use to back up to.

    The total space shown on the Portable hard drive is 233 GB with Free Space of 213 GB.

    Total file sizes to backup are as follows:
    Wife 2.32 GB
    Me 24.7 GB
    Public 76.1 GB

    I used to use Karen's Replicator to copy and, I thought, sync files but I found that because it kept the backed up files that I had deleted from the original directories. I tried using Windows backup but after letting it run all night, it told me that my total back up file size was 95 GB and that there wasn't enough room on the backup drive. I don't know, if I have 213 GB of Free Space, it seems like 95 ought to fit in there twice, with room left over.

    (I also used to use Sync Toy but we had an, almost, disaster, at work. We had made a bunch of file folder changes to a shared directory, so I deleted the directory from the backup drive, to "start over", and instead Sync Toy, seeing the files deleted from the backup, deleted them from the original.)

    I do like the idea of being able to backup files in their native format, not have some wadded up ball of data that has to be "restored". What is the best way to do this? Free? It doesn't seem like it should be this hard. Thanks for your help.

  2. Subscribe to our Windows Secrets Newsletter - It's Free!

    Get our unique weekly Newsletter with tips and techniques, how to's and critical updates on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google, etc. Join our 480,000 subscribers!

    Excel 2013: The Missing Manual

    + Get this BONUS — free!

    Get the most of Excel! Learn about new features, basics of creating a new spreadsheet and using the infamous Ribbon in the first chapter of Excel 2013: The Missing Manual - Subscribe and download Chapter 1 for free!

  3. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    California & Arizona
    Posts
    5,334
    Thanks
    126
    Thanked 466 Times in 428 Posts
    You could do a simple "hard copy" of the user folders to the external drive, and then compress them once they are on the external if you want.
    If an update to the copy is needed then simply repeat the above process (one way) and you'll overwrite everything.

    The windows explorer in Windows 7 will provide some simple options when it comes to overwriting existing content, so
    no need to worry about sync tools that you can inadvertently reverse copy data. As is often the case with sync tools, one
    needs to pay particular attention to the data direction.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-09-18 at 20:13.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  4. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Manning, South Carolina
    Posts
    5,938
    Thanks
    192
    Thanked 723 Times in 659 Posts
    Donebb,

    You might give RoboCopy a look. I use it to copy My Documents to a second internal drive with the proper command it will only copy the change items.
    Here's the command I use, it's imbedded in a batch file that I run via a Shortcut on a Taskbar attached toolbar takes 2 clicks.

    Code:
    Echo Off
    REM  Updated: 10/27/10
    Echo.  -------- Copying BEKDocs to V: drive -------
    Robocopy "G:\BEKDocs" "V:\BEKDocs" /MIR /XJD /R:5 /W:15 /MT:32 /V /NP /LOG:RoboCopy.log 
    Echo.  -------- Copy Completed              -------
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    VBA Rules!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs


  5. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    12,625
    Thanks
    161
    Thanked 928 Times in 851 Posts
    I manually back up my data, and my wife's data from our data partitions (each of our PC's have a separate partition for our data) to our Ext HD, and to each other's PC. Our data needs are not as extensive as others are so our backup needs are less involved. I Image our systems at least once per month after patch Tuesday, then backup the data partitions separately.

    When I upgrade our PC's to Win 8, our data will not be touched. It will take less than one day to upgrade both PC's to Win 8 Pro (I presently have Win 8 Ent. Eval. edition on both laptops) but in doing so, none of our data will be affected at all, including our email data (contacts, saved mails, folder setup, etc.)

    When I complete the installation of each PC, all I have to do is change the pointers from the default locations to the data partition locations and start using the present data, easy!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  6. #5
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Polk County, Florida
    Posts
    2,343
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 227 Times in 181 Posts
    I took what I consider a step up from brand name external hard drives, with their built-in software and backup algorithms. I had bought a couple of USB externals in the past, formatted them NTFS, and used them as targets for my drive images. I haven't used any kind of backup software in many years, having come to rely very comfortably and reliably on drive images.

    I now use NexStar Drive Docks. The model I use will accept either 3.5" or 2.5" SATA hard drives, and will connect either through USB or eSATA (I use eSATA). The concept is similar to a toaster; put the drive into the dock (it is self-aligning and automatically plugs into both power and data ports) and power up the dock. When finished imaging/transferring/copying or whatever, power down the dock, press the eject button, remove the hard drive and store it.

    The NexStar dock is inexpensive, and large capacity hard drives are frequently on sale. The combination can be a good deal less expensive than a dedicated USB External drive, and without the bloatware.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  7. #6
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Los Gatos CA
    Posts
    192
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    I have used Goodync for many years. A clear, simple user interface, and fast. In short, it works.

    David

  8. #7
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    46
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I use a simple batch file with the XCOPY command. Click on the batch file or schedule it to run every night. You can use XCOPY to copy only new or changed files, so it's very quick after it's run the first time. Then your files are as they should be on the destination drive -- no conversion necessary. For example here's BACKUP.BAT. It assumes your external drive is Drive E:

    @echo off
    if not exist e:\nul goto uhoh
    xcopy c:\users\*.* e:\users\*.* /e /d /c /h /y
    goto endit
    :uhoh
    echo Drive E is not connected!
    pause
    :endit
    exit

  9. #8
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I used to use Karen's Replicator to copy and, I thought, sync files but I found that because it kept the backed up files that I had deleted from the original directories.

    Just edit the job settings and check the box "Replicate File and Folder Deletions?"

    Karen's Power Tools live on!

  10. #9
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    110
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts
    So many choices to chose from but in my case I use the free SyncToy from Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl....aspx?id=15155

  11. #10
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Anaheim, California, USA
    Posts
    488
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Hi Erik,

    I used your batch file and it worked great the first time through but then on subsequent attempts, I received the following messages:

    Access denied


    Unable to create directory

    It still shows as Drive E in Windows Explorer, so that didn't change. Is there something I should change after the initial xcopy run? Thanks.

    PS, When I ran it the first time, it created a new directory, called users, which just about filled up my drive. 232 GB drive with 10 GB free. So I deleted the other copy that I had on there from a previous backup. Now I have 114 GB free. I tried running it again but got the same result.

  12. #11
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    Posts
    129
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 19 Times in 18 Posts
    I have been using a program called Second Copy from Centered Systems. It is free to try for 30 days and the trial is fully functional.

    You create a "profile" to select exactly which files and folders you wish to copy and where to copy them. There is an option to compress the files.

    The beauty of this program is that it copies the files exactly as they stand. No proprietary format. If you need to restore a file, just use Windows to go to the backup drive, find the file(s) and copy them.

  13. #12
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    Posts
    46
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Do you know which line of the batch file caused the error messages? You can generally see how it's going if you don't set it to run minimized if you don't use "@echo off". Get rid of that line temporarily by putting the command REM or a colon in front of it like this:

    REM @echo off
    (or)
    :echo off

    REM makes the line into a "remark" which the operating system will ignore; the colon will make it into a label which in this case will also be ignored. Please let me know what you see.

  14. #13
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Fort Myers, FL
    Posts
    17
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

    My Backup Schedule

    I use a fourfold backup schedule on my rather-new Win7 laptop:

    MONTHLY drive image backup, using the Backup and Restore program native to Win7, AND direct copy of my data files (on a separate logical partition) on a portable HDD kept OFFSITE in my safe deposit box. (I have 2 of these HDD's, so making up a new backup doesn't delete the month-old copy, in case something goes wrong with the new backup. (I used Acronis backup programs on previous laptops, and they saved my bacon at least four times.)

    MORE-FREQUENT drive image backup on a 2TB HDD at home. Time between creating a new drive image will vary- may be biweekly when not adding new programs, or more frequent when adding new programs, prior to and after Patch Tuesdays, etc.

    DAILY incremental backups to my files using the Win7 utility, checking the option to create an image of my C drive with the OS and installed programs, and daily incremental copies of the data drive logical partition. When traveling for mare than 2 days, I alter the program to copy to my portable 500GB hard drive (the one at home), rather than the 2TB drive, so I can maintain daily backups while on the road. I also do a fresh full-system drive image backup on this portable HDD the day before travel, as well.

    Last, I do IMMEDIATE post-change or post-addition backups of all data, photo, Quicken, password protection, etc. data on a flash drive big enough to hold all my data.

    Parenthetically, whenever I take any really "old" data off my computer- such as work files after I retired- I capoy these to TWO DVD's- one kept at home, and one in the safe deposit box.

    I've never lost any important data with this redundant backup strategy, and I doubt that I ever will.

  15. #14
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    206
    Thanks
    10
    Thanked 19 Times in 16 Posts

    Arrow Goodsync +1

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhinoceros View Post
    I have used Goodync for many years. A clear, simple user interface, and fast. In short, it works.

    David
    I, too, have used Goodsync for years, and have been highly satisfied with the results. I like that what I have on the external HDD are exact copies of the files, not some special backup file, so that I can access my data from another computer just by moving the external HDD over to it.

    It's also a plus that Goodsync tracks versions of files, so that you can, if you want, recover an earlier version. This is probably less important than it used to be, if you're using Win7 and have system protection enabled on your data drive (which also enables Window's "previous versions" feature), but it's still nice to have.

    Personally, I don't see the point in using imaging software to back up data (a system image backup, yes, but not data)--that's just adding an unnecessary level of complexity, in my mind.

    As for the whole "I want a free utility" thing: One place that it makes sense to get the right tool, even if it's not free, is for data backup. There's nothing more important than ensuring that your data is around tomorrow (and we're probably talking about less than the cost of a single restaurant meal for you and your wife, after all).

    To bottom-line your question, though, the "best" backup software is the one you willingly and regularly use--no matter how "slick" any backup solution is, if it requires your attention in a way that you find easy to ignore (or procrastinate on), then it's a FAIL.
    Last edited by bethel95; 2012-10-14 at 19:14.

  16. #15
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    4,567
    Thanks
    64
    Thanked 518 Times in 467 Posts
    Personally, I don't see the point in using imaging software to back up data (a system image backup, yes, but not data)--that's just adding an unnecessary level of complexity, in my mind
    To each his own. Personally I find one single image backup of both data and system files is much easier to manage than separate backups. Individual data files and folders are easy to retrieve from the image.

    As long as your system doesn't fail very often, you really only need data backups. System and program files can be easily reconstructed. All you lose is the extra time it takes to manually reinstall and apply patches. But if it only happens once every three years, its no big deal. That said, imaging is so easy and relatively quick, I use it to back up everything weekly. In my case, a potential loss of a weeks data is no big deal. Different for a business which should be doing constant backups.

    Jerry

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •