Breaking Your Backup: Seven Ways to a Useless Backup

A backup of your data is something you don’t need often, but when you need it, it is critical. Many people break their backup data without realizing it. Here are some of the ways you can accidentally break your backup:

  1. Don’t test it — Most backup programs are complicated, with lots of options that affect not only what is backed up, but how easy it is to restore. Add to that the possibility of the backup media being broken, and you have a disaster waiting to happen. Always test your backups by restoring at least parts of it regularly and checking that the restored files are identical to your live files.
  2. Keep it close — If the telephone pole outside your house is struck by lightning, your USB backup drive takes the same beating as your computer. If someone steals your laptop out of your car, they’ll take the nice shiny backup drive too. A backup is useless if it is subject to the same risks as the original data. Try to keep your backup away from your live data.
  3. Just a live copy — Not all data loss is immediately noticed. You might find that you made thumbnails of all your photos last week and deleted the originals by mistake. A virus might have been changing your files silently over the past month. If you have only one copy of your files, and that was updated yesterday, there’s no way to get the originals back. If you are evaluating a backup method, make sure that you choose one that allows you to restore previous versions of files.
  4. Only changed files — When you backup to CD, DVD or tapes, it usually takes too much time to do a full backup using multiple disks. It is much faster to just do a backup of the new and changed files. However, if you do not do a regular full backup, you run the risk of the original full backup becoming corrupt over time. Plus, a simple restore might mean restoring every single disk or tape you ever used to backup. That could turn a simple hour-long task into a multi-day ordeal.
  5. Password-protect it — Despite what you see in the movies, a well-chosen password and strong encryption is very, very hard to crack. If you AND your laptop are driven over by a bus, nobody will be able to get your files and photos back from your password-protected backups. Unless you have government secrets or incriminating evidence on your computer, it’s much better to just leave out the password-protection.
  6. Automate it — Automation is good, but you need to check up on it. An automated backup system that fails without you knowing it can give you a false sense of security. This also ties in with password-protection: If you have a password-protected, automated backup, the chances are good that you will not remember the password when you need to restore.
  7. Restore to original location — Many backup programs have an option to restore your data to the original location, overwriting the files that are already there. This is a bad idea. If you need to restore some files, always restore them to some safe location and then compare them to the original files. Otherwise, you might end up with month-old files in place of your newest work.

Exactly What to Look for In Picking Backup Software

Selecting Ideal Backup Software Does Matter

Selecting correct backup is as necessary as selecting the most appropriate house or the suitable vehicle – you will have to live with it daily. Choose a good backup software package and you will get regular and reliable backups, with the wrong one you will get unreliable backups or none at all.

Why Purchase Commercial Backup Software?

The simplest answer is that you only get what you pay money for. Freeware is available, many os’s have some type of backup software, and most backup hardware bundles some basic backup software program. It’s frequently a stripped-down edition of a commercial bundle luring you to update to the full version. They work, but they are much less full-featured than the commercial package. It’s possible to try free software to see if this suits you.

Backup Software Features to look for

Media Spanning: Found by many as the specification of ‘real’ backup software, media spanning is the capacity to backup substantial files onto numerous bits of media.

Backup Verification: Any decent backup package have to have a verification setting. To make sure that the backup is correct and viable, the software compares every file that it backs up to the primary file on your hard disk.

Scheduling and Automatic Operation: A helpful attribute available on most commercial software. The backup will run automatically at a preset time, so you don’t have to be around to do it.

Wide Device Support: How many hardware devices does it work with? As a rule, software support for new devices is less frequent than for established ones. See if they offer updates as new drives hit the market; some do not.

Operating System Support: Will the bundle support all the features and requirements of the operating system?

Backup Type Selection: Even basic software must provide full, selective and incremental back-up alternatives, high quality ones allow the use of search strings or patterns to select files and directories.

Disaster Recovery: A significant feature mostly restricted to more costly products, with names like one-step recovery, single-step restore, or similar. Using this, a disk is made with a unique recovery program that allows you to restore your system without once again installing the entire operating-system. This can save a considerable time and trouble.

Compression: Software data compression is very useful, conserving room in your backup media.

Media Append and Overwrite: You should have options to always add to the existing files on the back-up media, always overwrite, or prompt the user.

Tape Tools: If you backup to a tape device, will the backup software enable you to format, rewind, retention, or view the catalog on your tape? The tape drive manufacturer often supplies software that performs this, but it’s more convenient if the backup software supports this.

Security: Can you password-protect your back up set?

Backup Configuration Profiles: Probably you’ll want to do various kinds of backups for various circumstances, better software packages help you avoid changing the settings each time by saving various profiles.

Type of Backups in Windows XP

    While going for hiring someone for the data backup solutions one must know what type of backup techniques they are going to follow. Almost there are five main types of data backup techniques which are generally followed while going for data backup. Each is having its own advantages and disadvantages. Either these techniques mentioned below are applied individually or in groups so as to bring the most of the Data Recovery during crashes or during data loss. Here listed below are the most important backup techniques that are followed while data bachup.

Copy Backup – A copy backup copies all selected files but does not mark each file as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared). Copying is useful if you want to back up files between normal and incremental backups because copying does not affect these other backup operations.

Daily Backup -A daily backup copies all selected files that have been modified the day the daily backup is performed. The backed-up files are not marked as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared).

Differential Backup – A differential backup copies files created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. It does not mark files as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is not cleared). If you are performing a combination of normal and differential backups, restoring files and folders requires that you have the last normal as well as the last differential backup.

Incremental Backup -An incremental backup backs up only those files created or changed since the last normal or incremental backup. It marks files as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is cleared). If you use a combination of normal and incremental backups, you will need to have the last normal backup set as well as all incremental backup sets in order to restore your data.

Normal Backup -A normal backup copies all selected files and marks each file as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is cleared). With normal backups, you need only the most recent copy of the backup file or tape to restore all of the files. You usually perform a normal backup the first time you create a backup set.

For more information and solution visit The Laptop Support Community.

7 Critical Steps to a Bullet-Proof Backup System

Imagine this – you arrive one morning to find that a faulty read-write head has crashed your server’s hard disk overnight, rendering it useless. Or a small electrical fire has destroyed part of your office, including your server. This server was used to store customer lists, payroll details, accounting details, purchase orders, inventories and other data vital to the running of your business, built up after years of operation and growth.

You find that you were seriously ill-prepared to deal with such a disaster. Virtually all of your business’ data had resided in this one location. No copies were made. You are faced with the fact that many years’ worth of data has been lost forever.

Insurance will replace materials, equipment and office space, but will that be enough to get your business up and running again? Your vital business data can’t be claimed on insurance, it can’t be replaced with money alone. Would your business survive after significant data loss? Unless you have a good backup system already in place, the statistics are grim…

* 43% of companies that experience a severe data loss disaster, and that have no recovery plan in place, never re-open.

* 70% of companies that suffer serious data loss go out of business within 12 months.

* It takes 19 days and costs US$17,000 (AUD$22,000) to manually retype 20 megabytes of sales data. The same volume of accounting data takes 21 days and costs US$19,000 (AUD$25,000).

* Loss of data cost US businesses in excess of 22 billion dollars in 2004.

Just as the costs of fire damage can’t be covered by insurance bought after the event, the costs of data loss can’t be avoided by acting after the loss has occurred. It is vitally important that data is backed up before encountering hard disk failure, viruses, malicious software, mistakes by employees or other causes of lost data.

Listed below are the 7 steps that we consider essential for the protection of important data.

1. Central storage of data on the network

The first step in setting up a backup system is deciding what needs to be backed up. Ask yourself, what can I afford to lose? For example, the latest Windows Service pack can be downloaded again, so there is little need to protect it; your customer database cannot so easily be replaced. Once you have identified the information you need to back up, you need to know where it is stored. Although it might seem counter-intuitive at first, as much of your critical data as possible should reside in one place on the network. It is far simpler and easier to backup, restore and protect one machine than several. As a side benefit, physical and network access to that machine (and therefore to critical and perhaps sensitive data) can more easily be restricted, improving security.

2. Multiple backups

You don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket. There are many reasons why your company should have access to several full system backups.

* A single backup could fail. Tapes, CDs and hard drives all wear out eventually, so you shouldn’t rely 100% on a single backup to store your data. The more copies you have, the less likely you are to lose all of your data to wear, fire damage, water damage, etc.

* In the case of accidental deletion, data loss is often noticed days after it occurred, which means that if your only backup is from last night, you have no way of retrieving the data.

* Restoring files that were deliberately deleted months or even years ago, when you thought you would never need them again, can often be of great benefit.

3. Off-site backups

If your office burns down, you don’t want all your backups to burn with it, so it’s important to physically move some of your backups off-site. We recommend that any weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly backups are stored off-site at a secure location.

4. On-site backups

While it is important to have some backups off-site, you don’t want to have to travel back and forth whenever you need to retrieve a file. For this reason it’s useful to have recent daily backups available on-site to allow for quick recovery of files. These backups are still important, and for reasons of security and reliability it is best to store them in a secure place such as a fireproof safe, rather than next to the server or on the System Administrators desk.

5. Monitoring

If you need to restore a file or a whole system, you want to be sure that all backups completely successfully. It would be disastrous to learn that your backups had failed only when you attempt to perform a restoration. One way to ensure that each backup has been performed successfully is to check the backup logs each day. An easier method is to acquire backup software that notifies you daily of the backup status and can alert you to any problems.

6. Follow the plan

If you are using tapes, disks or removable hard drives for backing up, you will need to remember to change these regularly depending on the backup scheme you are using. Neglecting to do this could cause the backup to fail or could result in an important previous backup being overwritten. It is also important that you insert the right device, as having the 4th-of-June backup data on the 1st-of-January tape would make the right data very difficult to find.

7. Regular file list updating

As you install new programs, add hard drives and create new files, it is important to know that all new data is also protected. Of course, if you are backing up the whole C: drive, for example, any new files or programs on that drive will also be backed up automatically. However, if you are only backing up specific, important files, it is vital that you keep this list up to date, or you risk losing valuable data.

Keep in mind that the average failure rate of a hard disk is 100%, as every drive will fail eventually. Make sure you stay in business by following the seven points listed above. How do you do that? Well, that’s where a backup software package can help. Data protection need not require a full time IT professional; it can be done by almost anyone with a bare minimum of time to spare — all you need is the right tool. Backup software can automate much of the process, covering the seven steps above and providing comprehensive data protection for your business.

Data Backup – Local Backup Vs Online Backup

My interest and expertise in backup solutions started when my hard drive crushed and died. On that drive I had all my business files %2B all my family photos. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing all this, so I found a data restore company, they gave me a good service which cost me almost $2000. After my recovery I understood how underestimated is the data on our computers and I decided to help all my family, friends and clients to become “Data Loss Protected.”

When I decided to check out my backup options, I learnt that there are several options, and each option has some specific techniques that everyone should know about for creating a successful backup.

First Option — Local Backup

Local backup is every type of backup that will keep your backup data on physical media available close to you. This can be:

  1. Additional internal hard drive.
  2. External hard drive
  4. Magnetic Type media
  5. Local Network backup

Local Backup Advantages: These types of backup are:

  1. Very handy, and until lately it was the simplest to do.
  2. It psychologically feels safe to have your original as well as backup in your physical possession.

Today, I will suggest anyone who backs up his data using this option to think about it as a partial solution at best. I use this option, I am backing up my main PC data to my laptop every day and I also back up once a week to an external hard drive, but all this is only my SECONDARY backup solution.

Local Backup Disadvantages: On the other hand, the system suffers from certain flaws.

  1. All these types of backup will not protect your data completely. Some very dangerous threats still exist:
    • Theft
    • Fire
    • Natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and more
    • Manmade disasters like terrorists attacks, war
    1. It is mostly NOT a fully automatic backup. It depends on many human behavioral activities in order to be thorough and updated.

    Second (Better) Option — Online Backup also known as Remote Backup

    This is in my opinion the best solution; it covers all the disasters can happen

    Online Backup Advantages:

    1. Automatic — Most systems will require just a short setup, and from that moment on they will be fully automatic.
    2. Resides in a safe place — the same as keeping your money in the bank, away from home. It is better to keep your data in a safe place and not at home or at your office, where it is likely to suffer from the same physical calamity that may befall your main storage system.
    3. Unlimited storage — Some of the systems will enable you to backup unlimited data, and this gives you peace of mind.

    Online Backup Disadvantages: This short answer is: None.

    The longer answer might include the psychological issue that many people still feel that if their data is somewhere out there it is less safe than near them. The truth, believe me, is exactly the opposite. This streak of distrust in others would have to be overcome.

    Deciding If an Online Backup Service Is Right for You

    As the world continues to increase the number of items they store digitally, it becomes more and more obvious that digital is easier. In many cases, you can access your digital information from almost any device that is able to access the internet. You can send and share files between multiple computers, users, and devices. However, there are a few drawbacks to everything being digital.

    If you are like most people today, you rarely print out every document that is sent your way. This means that your only existing copy is on your computer. So, if your computer crashes, is destroyed, or stolen, unless you have taken the proper precautions, the files are gone forever.

    But let’s say that you did print off every file and document that was sent to you. Then you’re safe, right? Wrong. Fires, flood, mildew, and more can happen to even physical documents. There really is only one way to make sure that your important files and documents are kept safe: backing them up.

    Types of Backup

    Whether you realize it or not, you probably know of at least one way to backup files. Most of us remember the old floppy disk. A backup method, very similar to the floppy disk, still exists today. These types of backup come in CDs or flash drives. And, while they can be an effective means of storing your important information, you have to realize that you are still at risk for losing the files. The very same incidents that can happen to physical documents can happen to these storage devices.

    Online backup is different. Instead of using a physical item to store your important pictures, documents, and files, you store your information online. With an online backup service provider, your files and documents are stored at a remote location. The files are encrypted so that no one else can access them without your code, access to your files will be denied. Some providers even double encrypt your information, increasing the security.

    How Online Backup Works

    Essentially, you choose an online backup service provider that suits your needs. You choose whether or not you want your computer to perform a backup on scheduled days, which is the recommended method. However, you can send files and documents over individually, if you don’t receive or store information regularly.

    If your computer is damaged, stolen, or lost, there are no worries. Since your information is on a remote server, all you have to do is access your information from the server with your code. You can then download the files to your new computer, having the most up-to-date information that you sent.

    Why Online Backup is So Popular

    The biggest reason that online backup has become so popular is because you never have to worry about whether or not your information is safe. It can never be stolen. It cannot be damaged or lost. Even if the remote site experiences a disaster, most backup service providers have a secondary site, just in case.

    However, there are other reasons that many have turned to online backup. It is both affordable and convenient. Unlike a disk storage system, you never have to remember to perform a backup. You simply set a schedule up and your computer performs the backup automatically. You can do this as often as daily or as little as you want, depending on your special needs.

    Finding the Right Online Backup Service Provider

    Since online backup has become so popular amongst computer users, more and more online backup service providers have surfaced over the years. Now, there are just too many to count. This can make choosing one seem like an impossible task. And, while you could try to compile a list of different providers and the specifics of their services, you may not even know what you are looking for or where to begin.

    Your best bet may be to consult one of several online backup review sites. These sites summarize and compare the various backup providers all in one place. They have taken the time to do the work of comparing backup services for you. They have selected the top online backup service providers and compared them, side-by-side.

    Learning How to Decide Which Online Backup Service Provider is Right for You

    Even with all of the information standing side-by-side, you still may not know exactly what you are looking for, especially if you have never heard of online backup services. Everything may sound the same or you may not understand the benefits of each service provided by the individual companies. The experts at do more than just review the different online backup service providers and list their information. They take the time to explain the decision process. They help you recognize which factors are important when choosing an online backup service provider.

    Factors like cost, ease of recovery, program specifications, ease of recovery, ease of use, and security should all be considered. You’ll also need to consider your own needs and how to determine your backup schedule.

    Online Backup Solutions

    Online backup has become a very important business practice. As there has been growing interest for the service, there is a wide range of utilities to select from. Online free backup software offers a whole new sense of data security for personal and business use. It normally sends the data via the internet, telephone lines or different types of network connections to an online server that is offsite. The backup can be done mainly at night or on-demand. Automatic backing up is also available offering computer users a reliable backup solution.

    Most online backups are normally done reliably on a schedule. The software ensures all the correct files are backed up. The software is normally installed together with files lists that require backing up. It is important for organizations to go for software that is capable of backing up new files that are added up later after installing the software. It is of essence to constantly reevaluate the system and add any necessary files to the backup. Most online backup software stores file copies by use of an advanced control system.

    Proper online solutions call for redundancy. Many copies of one file should be kept at various points in their development. The version control system in use should be easy to use so as to keep various file versions easily. For security reasons, most online free backup software is encrypted. However, tape backs are not normally encrypted making it easy for anyone to read or access the client database, records, billing info, tax info and more information in the computer. It is best to go for this type of software with backup encrypts made using eight strong cryptographic strategies for complete data security. After having an online backup, it is still important to send the backup to the offsite immediately for safe storage.

    Online solutions offer a cost-effective, secured and prompt backup for data for both small and large businesses. Whatever documents, personal data or files that need backup, online specialists offer the technology and expertise for storage and protection of information. Online data backups are secure, convenient, cost-effective, easy to set up, automated and fast. You have the freedom to select from a wide array of companies offering online backup services. With online affiliate applications, businesses can even earn commissions for promoting backup services.

    Online storage devices are now becoming a very reliable way of backing up important files. Online backup facilities like Carbonite are very safe as they go through a very extensive and thorough procedure. In addition, they are encrypted securely to prevent loss and theft. Together with free backup software, it is possible to protect both old and new files. Online backups encrypt the files then stores and keep them safe. Before selecting an online backup company, put the needs of your customers in mind. Important features to consider include data protection levels, the archiving system and storage space among others. Then consider the actual free backup software you will require to install in your machine. Ensure it is easy to use and convenient. Bear in mind that online backups are available to make data backups easy. Always ensure the online backup service you go for offers absolute security.

    Top Concerns For Implementing Secure Backup and Recovery

    When backing up any system, there are a number of concerns to bear in mind for a successful recovery and backup process. Firstly, you have to identify the type of backup software to use for your system. Ensure it is easy to use and offers a complete package of features that will come in handy. Backups are critical for any proactive system management and should not by any case be overlooked. Some of the common mistakes that one can make in a backup system are discussed herein. There is a wide range of backup software available in the market, grasp some of the top concerns to have in mind before using the software to backup your data.

    Never go for untested backup software as this can be very detrimental. In most instances, tapes normally fail when the overwrite functions is no longer functioning. Sometimes, a user might find that the backup tapes have not been formatted or have not undergone overwriting in months especially if the free backup software was set by default not to be overwritten for 3 months. Another danger to avoid is relying on systems for backup that were set up many years ago with no verification of whether they are actually in a good working condition. Testing backup taps is of essence to avoid huge loss of important data.

    Incomplete backups can also a top consideration to have in mind. Do not simply back up files and documents only. Any additional directories added to the server should also be backed up. Shared folders and files also require consistent backing up. Never assume all is well, frequent checking and testing of your free backup software and the entire backup system is important. Make use of virtualized backups when testing any upgrades to the system or the service packs. Many times, vendors make alterations to applications; these changes should be tested before use. An excellent backup strategy should enable the user to restore any selected systems, test everything thoroughly then deploy it to users.

    Another important concern is maintaining of remote backups. Before selecting a remote backup, consider the amount of data that requires backing up, the time it will take for a complete remote backup and the overall speed of the internet connection in use. Start off the off site backup system only when you are confident that the backup at the office is great. Making use of online backing up services like Carbonite and Mozy will come in handy. Always remember that if it takes 7 days for a complete backup, restoring the data will equally take 1-7 days and this might be a costly proposition. Setting up off site backup nearby enables fast recovery. Another sensible option is setting secondary backup in various parts of the continent. Picking backup software and systems that are actually in is likely to increase productivity.

    The next time you are backing up your system, consider replacing the tape backups with the disk-based backup software. It is believed that the hard-drive backup solutions are considerably cheaper. Test all your backup software by use of virtualization products that will restore the backup into virtual images and with this one can verify if the backup worked. Full-system imaging backup is important as it enables restoration of configurations, licensed software and the entire operating system. Some common sense rules to follow when using free backup software include keeping it simple, storing all data in one strategic place, keeping reminders and records and making use of corresponding backup strategies. Remember, backup solutions are necessary for any computer user; being knowledgeable on the same is of essence.

    How to Backup Your Hard Disk Data

    Implement your own Backup System:

    Backing up computer data has become an imperative job for Windows users. This occurs because data safety is very critical and every user must be aware that unpredictable events can happen and that could destroy important data on their PC’s or Mac’s. Learning how to perform backups is a really ‘an absolute must’. Any user, no matter how confident he or she is about their computer, need undertake actions to prevent losing data (images, music, documents, work, email, etc). Hard disks crash, power blackouts occur, accidental deleting of files DOES occur. Viruses or other unplanned events can destroy your work in a split second, but, don’t blame these events; blame yourself for not learning backing-up! Now read on – to learn how.

    A basic Introduction: Performing a Basic Backup – for those just getting started!

    What and How to Backup?

    If you were a System Administrator responsible for maintaining critical Network Servers, the answer would be EVERYTHING! However, this would make for some extra hard work and a deep understanding of how computers work. What I outline here is a simple basic backup method. Attempting to backup everything is a very hard challenge for modern Windows. Why? Since Windows 2000 release, Windows (2000, XP, and Vista) has become a true multi-tasking operating system. This means there are some System Files that CANNOT be ‘easily’ backed-up – or restored. It is like trying to lift yourself out of bed – by your own feet!

    Complete software backups are possible with multiple operating systems and more than one hard drive!

    To dual boot means that you have more than one operating system installed on the hard drive and that you can decide between the two when you start your computer.

    Instead of backing up everything, I will advise you on my own simple back-up method. This involves only those things that are irreplaceable, and that means critical data and personal files. All other things (Operating System and Programs) can be replaced by a clean install. Let us look at each software component in order:

    • Operating System – If your hard drive fails, you may need to buy a new unit and start with a clean install. Step one is installing the Operating System. You will need two things to do this, the installation media (CD-ROM), and its associated Product Key.
    • Program Software (Office, etc) – This will come with its own CD-ROM, and it’s associated registration codes. Make sure you know where they are when it comes time to reinstall.
    • Downloadable software (Skype, Firefox, etc) – Go to the respective Website, and print out the details for the products download page. If you need to reinstall, this will tell you where to go for the download.
    • Shareware – Print out the registration code, along with the Web home page (if applicable) and store it.

    Now, if you do some analysis of your own hard drive, you will find that at least 70%, and probably more, of what is on your hard drive falls in one of the above categories. With just a little preparation, you can reinstall all of this above software – if you really need to do so.

    • Documents: This folder is the main area for your personal data. Normally, all your saved work, pictures, and music are placed in a folder in this directory. This makes it a very easy to do a backup on this section.
    • Address book: Whatever e-mail client you use, you have an address book containing a list of those people you have contacted.
    • Bookmarks and Favorites: You will have saved the addresses of some great Web sites. Netscape saves them as a single file, Internet Explorer uses a single directory containing individual links to each site.
    • E-mail files: All those special messages you sent and received can be backed up.
    • Other: You may have MYOB or QuickBooks that has critical data that cannot be replaced easily.

    Create your own Backup with a Batch File: Step one is purchase an external USB hard drive kit. Once installed correctly, a new drive will be shown in “My Computer”. Make a note of the drive letter that is allocated to it -eg; E: or F: or G:, etc…

    The key to your own automated backup is the use of a batch file. This is a text file (or script file) that contains commands that are executed whenever the file is run. Creating a batch file is quite easy. In Windows, you can create one using Notepad. The thing to remember is that it must be a pure ASCII text file. Using a Word Processor, even WordPad, will not produce a pure text. I recommend using Notepad.

    It is often easier to copy your existing work directories to separate hard disk (or a network resource) rather than using other complicated backup software. Several directories can be backed up easily by simply creating a simple a batch file (termed .CMD file in Windows 2000, XP and Vista). This ‘backup’ file can be saved and you may either:

    • Run it manually from your Windows Desktop – or
    • Add a ‘short-cut’ to this file into the Windows [Startup] folder
    • It can be added to the Windows [Scheduled Tasks] folder

    Windows Batch files have many other uses – just like this working example. Copy the text box below, and paste it into Notepad. Save the file with a name like ‘MyBackup.cmd, and be sure to add the cmd extension, and not the default txt.

    This can be used as a working template of your own automatic backup script! Modify it to suit your own needs:

    Notes: substitute the ‘set drive=E:Backup‘ for the drive letter of your 2nd hard drive (or other network path).

    Copy and Paste this ‘Backup Script’ to Notepad: (then save as MyBackup.cmd)

    @Echo off

    :: variables

    Set drive=E:Backup

    Set BackUpCmd=xcopy /s /e /h /c /d /i /r /k /y

    Echo 1. Backing up My Documents…

    %BackUpCmd% “%USERPROFILE%My Documents” “%drive%My Documents”

    Echo 2. Backing up Favorites…

    %BackUpCmd% “%USERPROFILE%Favorites” “%drive%Favorites”

    Echo 3. Backing up email and address book (Outlook Express)…

    %BackUpCmd% “%USERPROFILE%Application DataMicrosoftAddress Book” “%drive%Address Book”

    %BackUpCmd% “%USERPROFILE%Local SettingsApplication DataIdentities” “%drive%Outlook Express”

    Echo 4. Backing up email and contacts (MS Outlook)…

    %BackUpCmd% “%USERPROFILE%Local SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOutlook” “%drive%Outlook”

    Echo 5. Backing up email and contacts (Incredimail)…

    %BackUpCmd% “%USERPROFILE%Local SettingsApplication DataIMIdentities” “%drive%Incredimail”

    Echo 6. Backing up email and contacts (Mozilla)…

    %BackUpCmd% “%USERPROFILE%Application DataMozillaProfiles” “%drive%Mozilla”

    Echo 7. Backing up the Windows Registry…

    If not exist “;%drive%Registry” mkdir “%drive%Registry”

    If exist “%drive%Registryregbackup.reg” del “%drive%Registryregbackup.reg”

    Regedit /e “%drive%Registryregbackup.reg”

    Echo Backup Complete! … Hit any key …


    The above Batch Script performs the following:

    • Backs up My Documents (all your documents, pictures, music, etc)
    • Backs up Favourites (the website addresses you have saved)
    • Backs up Outlook Express email and address book for the current user
    • Backs up Outlook email and contacts for the current user (if found.)
    • Backs up Incredimail email and address book for the current user (if found.)
    • Backs up Mozilla email and address book for the current user (if found)
    • Backs up the Windows Registry data for the current user

    This script copies the files to the directory defined in the %drive% variable (E:Backup in the above script). After the first run, the script will incrementally add (over-write) any files that are found to be new – or have been changed. This backup script will copy system and hidden files found.

    Understanding the Backup script:

    • Lines that begin with “::” are simply script comments
    • The “set drive=” is used to indicate your backup Drive and any file path
    • The “set BackUpCmd=” is used for the Xcopy command switches
    • Lines beginning with “echo ” are used to output text progress messages


    • You can cancel this running script by a CTRL%2BC or CTRL%2BBreak
    • The Registry backup in the above example saves the current ‘User Profile’ registry profile state. Saving the entire Windows System Hive Registry is not part of this simplistic and ‘essential files’ backup approach.

    Easily Backup And Search Your Email

    A great program that allows you to easily backup many popular Windows email programs, is MailStore Home. This is a free software tool will allow you to backup and archive email from the following email based programs:

    • Microsoft Outlook
    • Microsoft Outlook Express
    • Microsoft Windows Mail
    • Microsoft Exchange Server Mailboxes
    • Mozilla Thunderbird
    • Mozilla SeaMonkey
    • Webmailer
    • POP3 and IMAP
    • File Import

    MailStore Home allows you to backup your email’s messages from many common applications into one accessible archive store. MailStore will import your existing email from Outlook, Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Exchange. Once MailStore has archived your email, you can use this software to easily search through all your messages by keyword. Optionally, you can quickly create a backup CD or DVD within this program. CD and DVD burning is fully integrated within MailStore Home. Archived email messages are stored in a easy MIME-compatible format, and can be easily recovered at any time.

    A better tool than using xcopy = RoboCopy:

    Robocopy, or “Robust File Copy”, is a command-line folder replication tool. It has been freely available as part of the Windows Resource Kit (outside this site), and has now been introduced as a standard component of Windows Vista.

    Robocopy is noted for its capabilities above and beyond the built-in Windows COPY and XCOPY (outside this site) commands, including the following:

    • Ability to tolerate outages and resume copying where it previously left off
    • Ability to correctly copy attributes, owner information, alternate data streams, auditing information, and timestamp’s by default
    • Ability to correctly copy NTFS ACL’s, (when /COPYALL provided)
    • Persistence by default, with a programmable number of automatic retries if a file cannot be opened
    • A “mirror” mode, which keeps folder contents in sync by optionally deleting files out of the destination that are no longer present in the source
    • Ability to copy a very large numbers of files that would otherwise exceed the resources of the built-in utility
    • A progress indicator on the command line that updates continuously

    Robocopy will not copy open files that are found to be ‘in use’ by other users or applications. The Windows Volume Shadow Copy service is the only Windows sub-system that can open files while they are in use. Robocopy does not implement accessing the Volume Shadow Copy service.

    Traditionally Robocopy itself is a command-line tool, however Microsoft Technet has provided a GUI front-end.