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  • Question

  • I know the documentation says SyncToy isn't for backup and there are better tools for that.... but....

     

    My main PC at home holds all the families 'standard' files - Word, Excel, photos, music etc. About 10-15Gb that I care about. I back these up to DVD every couple of months - knowing that the stuff my family care about is the stuff they have just created, that isn't backed up :-(

     

    We have another networked PC and a networked laptop, that my family use as 'terminals' to access these files. It works well.

     

    I was would like to keep a 'hidden' backup copy of these files on the spare 60GB on the hard disk of the second PC. At any time, the main PC and the second PC may have any combination of being on/off. The main PC is a Media Centre PC and so spends the majority of the time in Standby.

     

    I wondered if SyncToy would handle this backup for me? Would people recommend I use it to do this - or is there a better tool that people would recommend?

     

    Cheers

     

    Eric

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1:47 PM

Answers

  • Well, many people use Synctoy to backup part of their hard-disks (i.e. well-defined sets of files that they care about) to external storage, using the ECHO option in SyncToy. It's just not meant for system-wide backup solutions.

     

    You could try it out and let us know. Also remember that when you use ECHO to backup a left folder to a right folder,  you're not supposed to make changes to the right folder otherwise the ECHO will sometimes get confused and not bring changes over from the left to the right.

     

     

     

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 2:29 AM
    Answerer

All replies

  • Well, many people use Synctoy to backup part of their hard-disks (i.e. well-defined sets of files that they care about) to external storage, using the ECHO option in SyncToy. It's just not meant for system-wide backup solutions.

     

    You could try it out and let us know. Also remember that when you use ECHO to backup a left folder to a right folder,  you're not supposed to make changes to the right folder otherwise the ECHO will sometimes get confused and not bring changes over from the left to the right.

     

     

     

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 2:29 AM
    Answerer
  •  

    Well, I've tried it, and so far it looks like by far the best backup tool I've seen.

     

    I'm really only interested in backing up the files in My Documents - which is about 12Gb of photos, music, the kids school documents and my wife's work documents. My name would be mud if that lot got lost - how did backup become my sole responsibility?

     

    I put a scheduled task on the secondary PC, to run SyncToyCmd.exe -R whenever a user logged on.It worked, but it was a bit tricky to detect whether it had - I really wanted a log of progress. So I changed it to read -

    "c:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.0\SyncToyCmd.exe" -R > "c:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.0\SyncToyCmd.log"

    This created a log for me to look at, which was excellent.

     

    I was a bit bothered by the CMD window that pops up - that is just going to confuse the heck out of my family, and I'm sure they will do all sorts of closing down and generally messing it up. So I downloaded a utility called bat_to_exe_convertor (http://www.computerhope.com/dutil.htm) which took the batch file and created an executable file. I put that as a scheduled job, and now, whenever someone logs onto the secondary PC, SyncToyCmd runs to do a backup but is completely invisible to the user - you can use Task Manager to see it running in the background.

     

    Sweet!

     

    I just need to check what happens when they log in and the primary PC is not switched on. If that is OK, I'm one happy badger!

     

    Thanks for your help, and to all those people who produced this fantastic tool.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 12:27 PM
  • Just to say, I modified the batch file, so that it produces a slightly better log file. It separates each run with a line of stars, and puts the date and time of running in it. It also orders it with the most recent run first, and produces a new log file for each month. It does make use of the fact that the UK date format is dd/mm/yyyy, so to use it where there is a different date format it would need slightly modifying. Once run through bat2exe, you get an executable, which just runs in the background. I schedule it to run every hour.

     

    The batch file contains this

    Echo on
    echo %date%
    set str=%date%
    set str=%str:/=%
    set str=%str:~2,6%
    set str="Backup_%str%.LOG"
    set tmp_log=temp_log.tmp
    Echo %str%
    Echo * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  >> %tmp_log%
    echo Date: %date% Time: %time%>> %tmp_log%
    "c:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.0\SyncToyCmd.exe" -R >> %tmp_log%
    If exist %str% goto append_file
    Echo * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  >> %tmp_log%

    goto end

    :append_file

    Type %str% >> %tmp_log%
    Del %str%

    :End
    Ren %tmp_log% %str%

     

    It produces a log file (this month) called Backup_112008.LOG which looks like this:-

     

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
    Date: 16/11/2008 Time: 15:50:20.67
    Preview of Baines_documents (\\Host-computer\baines_family's documents\, D:\synchtoy\2008\Baines_documents\) in time 00:02:14:46.
    SyncToy action was 'Echo'
    Found 102 actions to perform.
    Found 24,272 files that did not require action.
    Analyzed 181.1 files per second.
    Avoided copying 27,039,657,974 bytes in 24,272 files.
    Saved approximately 15:01:19:00 by not copying any files.

    SyncToy run of Baines_documents (\\Host-computer\baines_family's documents\, D:\synchtoy\2008\Baines_documents\) completed at 16/11/2008 15:53:51.
    SyncToy action was 'Echo'.
    SyncToy options were:
     Active for run all
     All files included
     No files excluded
     Do not check file contents
     Include read-only files
     Include hidden files
     Include system files
     Backup older files (send to Recycle Bin)
     All subfolders included
    SyncToy run took 00:01:11:484.
    Copied 106,889,664 bytes in 54 files in 00:01:11:484.
    Bytes per second 1,495,287.1, files per second 0.8.
    Avoided copying 27,039,657,974 bytes in 24,272 files that did not require action.
    Saved approximately 05:01:23:255 by not copying all files.
    Warning: 1 failures occured.
    You can retry by selecting "Run" again or select "Preview" to see
    the operations that remain to be performed.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
    Date: 16/11/2008 Time: 13:43:14.26
    Failed to execute folder pair Baines_documents. Could not locate folder \\Host-computer\baines_family's documents\.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
    Date: 16/11/2008 Time: 12:00:01.00
    Failed to execute folder pair Baines_documents. Could not locate folder \\Host-computer\baines_family's documents\.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
    Date: 15/11/2008 Time: 16:35:42.04
    Preview of Baines_documents (\\Host-computer\baines_family's documents\, D:\synchtoy\2008\Baines_documents\) in time 00:01:28:156.
    SyncToy action was 'Echo'
    Found 0 actions to perform.
    Found 24,276 files that did not require action.
    Analyzed 275.4 files per second.
    Avoided copying 27,047,054,104 bytes in 24,276 files.
    Saved approximately 15:01:34:00 by not copying any files.

    SyncToy run of Baines_documents (\\Host-computer\baines_family's documents\, D:\synchtoy\2008\Baines_documents\) completed at 15/11/2008 16:37:12.
    SyncToy action was 'Echo'.
    SyncToy options were:
     Active for run all
     All files included
     No files excluded
     Do not check file contents
     Include read-only files
     Include hidden files
     Include system files
     Backup older files (send to Recycle Bin)
     All subfolders included
    SyncToy run took 00:00:00:484.
    Copied 0 bytes in 0 files in 00:00:00:484.
    Bytes per second 0.0, files per second 0.0.
    Avoided copying 27,047,054,104 bytes in 24,276 files that did not require action.
    Saved approximately 15:01:34:00 by not copying all files.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

     

     

     

     

    Sunday, November 16, 2008 4:04 PM