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Automating Windows Backup

Automating Windows Backup
Creativecow.net Windows OS Tutorial


Automating Windows Backup


John David Hutton
mYth productions
Kansas City, Kansas, USA

©2004 John David Hutton and Creativecow.net. All rights are reserved.

Article Focus:
John David Hutton works with video editing stations with many drives and many reasons to back up. In this tutorial, John David will demonstrate one way to back up which involves using Window’s built-in backup utility located under accessories > system tools.

Automating Windows Backup

I work with video editing stations with many drives and many reasons to back up. One way to back up involves using Window’s built-in backup utility located under accessories > system tools.



As you develop a routine in backing up, it becomes a bit tedious to keep track of your backup procedures. You have the option of scheduling a backup through the utility so that it runs automatically at a certain time, but I don’t like automation in the video editing realm – what if, while I’m printing to tape, the time comes to back up my project drive? Will it run okay in the background and not disturb my video? If you use removable drives or external drives to back up to, is the correct drive inserted in the tray or plugged in? Do you back up through the network but don’t want to start the process during peak network bandwidth hours? What if you’re going to be in a meeting and know it’s best to just back up before you leave?

Some of these issues can be solved by scheduling your backups. For those of us who prefer to back up manually though, there’s a way to automate just about anything you want to back up down to a shortcut key. It’s a simple process, let’s check it out.

First, get into your backup wizard and choose your desired option.



Choose your drives / folders you’d like to back up.



Browse to a destination drive or networked folder and click next.

Note: If you’re using a networked folder, you’ll want to be sure you’ve logged onto it first so the backup process will have access to the destination before it starts.

A screen will come up looking to be the end of the road with an “Advanced” option – click it.

You have about 5 options, most notably “normal” and “incremental”. Normal mode simply backs up everything, whether or not you’ve done it before. If you back up on a regular basis, you may choose incremental as this will search your drive for new material that hasn’t yet been backed up and only deal with that material. It’s a much more efficient and quicker method of backing up and it’s worth a look! After a few more self-explanatory options you’ll be left with the option to “Append” or “Replace” any existing files. If you chose incremental above, you will likely choose to append to this file so that any new material is simply tacked on to the end of files you’ve already backed up.



The backup label may or may not be important to you. This is what’s displayed if you need to restore it later. The default is the date but you may choose a more meaningful name for your back up. In my case I’m backing up my Project drive, so I’ll name mine Projects backup.



The next screen is important. You have the option of backing up now or later. You want to choose “Later” and I’ll explain why in a moment. A brief password dialogue will come up, I always choose to leave the passwords blank. If you do this, another short dialogue box appears asking if you’re sure. After you’ve disposed of this window, you should see something like the following:



Choose the set schedule button and leave everything at the default, except for the time. I usually choose an hour ahead of what it is currently.



Click on the settings tab and make sure “Delete the task if it is not scheduled to run again” is NOT checked. It isn’t by default.



Click OK.

Enter an arbitrary name in the “Job name” field as this isn’t important.

Click finish.

Choose the schedule jobs tab. You’ll see a simplified calendar containing your backup job on the present day. Click once on it and choose properties.



By scheduling a job and not deleting it, windows has created a file that you can run at any time to repeat the backup settings you’ve chosen (minus the scheduling settings so it won’t matter when you run it). You want to copy the contents of the “Run” line. Also you can uncheck the “Enabled (scheduled task runs at specified time)” option at bottom if you want but we’ll delete it in the next step.



Click OK.

Next to “Job Name” field there is a delete button. Press it.



Choose yes and your calendar will once again be clear.

Open notepad.

Paste the line you copied from the previous window, it should be a very long and cryptic line.

Above it, put C colon and C colon backslash like this:



This ensures you’re on the C drive when you run your script. After that you’re pretty much ready to name your batch file and place it where you want. Whatever you choose to name your file, use .cmd as the extension (ie. Project_backup.cmd). This tells windows it’s a batch file so if you type its name in a command prompt or double-click it in windows explorer, it will run with all of your settings.

You have some options now. You could right click on the file in windows explorer, choose properties and give it a shortcut key. If you have a programmable keyboard like Logitech’s elite keyboards, you can either assign a shortcut key or assign it to a menu like I’ve done:



At the click of a button, the batch file runs with the same settings you set up in the first place.

Like I said above, this is especially helpful if you run incremental where you’re backing up a specific drive or drives often and at inconsistent times.

Hope this was helpful. J

- John David Hutton
mYthprod




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