Backup your work

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Nanophotonics, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Nanophotonics

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Apr 2, 2009

    I always backup my work on an external drive. To make sure to backup all my work, the way I do it is to simply copy and paste the whole set of folders to the external drive and Windows would copy and replace the previous version accordingly.

    However, as you probably all know, sometimes you make changes only to some folders, but Windows would copy and replace the whole content when done this way. This method becomes significantly time consuming when you have many files but with only a few which have been updated.

    In order to avoid copying and replacing folders which have not been updated, a better way of doing it is to use the automatic backup wizard of Windows which allows updated files to be copied without having to copy and replace the whole set of folders.

    Here is my problem, the automatic backup wizard would backup the whole disk partition on which my folders are found. I would like not to backup the whole disk partition but only my work.

    Please kindly advise if you know how this can be done.

  2. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008

    There is always the possebility to use rsync.
    This will keep the backup synchron with the origenal directory content.

  3. davebee

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2008
    My daughter just started at college, and I bought her a commercial backup account since much of her schoolwork is stored on her computer.

    For about $50 a year, they run a nightly script which copies all changed files in the documents folder over the internet to a remote site.

    I used Carbonite, but there are a number of companies that offer similar services for a similar price.

    If you don't mind paying a little, this is another option you could use.
  4. masosi


    Dec 23, 2007
  5. Nanophotonics

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Apr 2, 2009

    Thanks for the reply. I'm looking into the solutions.
  6. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    When I was working in the late 1990's, I needed a tool to backup stuff as well as determine the differences between my home computer and my work computer. I'd do development work on each computer and couldn't simply copy all on one machine and back it up to another -- I had to identify the fine-grained differences. I wrote a python script to do the job and used it for a few years before I retired. If you are willing to install python and run it from the command line, it might be suitable. Here's a link to the code. I was able to use it e.g. when the work computer was Linux and the home computer was Windows.

    Now, I use the free edition of SyncBack. My version is 5 years old or so (, but I have no need to upgrade, as the tool works for me. Thus, I can't say anything about the current software. The version I use is easy to use (I don't think I've ever used the manual to figure out how it works) -- you just make backup tasks to run at a certain time and interval and each task is constructed to back up what you want backed up. I started using it on the recommendation of my son because the NT backup tool had some problem (I forget what now).

    I know this tool works, as in the last decade I've survived three or four disk crashes and two or three Windows-is-so-screwed-up-I'll-make-a-fresh-install-and-wipe-everything-else-out. I keep my data on one hard disk (the d drive) and all the programs get installed on the c drive (Windows). I also use it to back up important business data each night to three different flash drives.

    Oh, here's a tip that's saved my bacon over the years. Whenever I download a new program/tool to install, if it gets used after I check it out for a bit, the downloaded package goes into my /install directory (I use cygwin, so I make Windows look like a UNIX box). There's over 3 GB of stuff in that directory (over 2400 files), so you can see I've kept a lot of stuff (drivers, software tools, programming languages/compilers, programs, etc.). But this is an important strategy, as I can rebuild/recreate systems across the above disk/Windows crashes. It can take me weeks of part time work to remember each tool I need, but when the need pops up (as it invariably does), it's easy to find the install file and run the installation again. Everything is nicely organized and includes text files containing installation instructions, passwords, and activation key strings. I also back this password stuff up in my password program KeePass and lock it up with one master password. My wife and I use the same master password and I occasionally copy the encrypted KeePass database file to her computer. If I were to suddenly croak, she would still have access to the health insurance site, stock broker's, etc., etc.

    One hidden benefit of this backing up of the installation programs is you can go back and use an older version of a program. For example, before I starting using Foxit as my PDF client, I had to use Adobe's tools. The Adobe Acrobat reader wasn't too bad in the early versions, but it descended into a garbage pit as time went by because Adobe kept adding features trying to get you to buy their products (when it hit 15-20 MB to just look at a PDF file, I swore I'd never use it again). I have those older Acrobat programs available should I want to go back and use them, but I've only needed them once.
  7. Nanophotonics

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Apr 2, 2009

    Thanks again. I've looked at masosi's link, and it seems to do the job! :)