I designate a set of folders. The program makes a copy of those folders to an external drive, say G:
Thereafter, when I choose to run the program, or on a schedule (either is fine) the program checks just those folders and copies over to G: the changed/new files.
That’s it. I don’t want the files to be compressed or encrypted or mashed into some huge propriety single file.
The point being to maintain copies of just my data. So suppose I have a file called C:\VacationPictures\2012May\KissingShamu.jpg and I accidentally delete it. I want to be able to use explorer to go to G:\VacationPictures\2012May\KissingShamu.jpg and just drag a copy back over to C:
It seems (to me) to be something a lot of people would want to have, but I haven’t been able to find a backup program that works this way.
Oh, this is on a hp computer running Windows 7.
FreeFileSync sounds like the sort of thing you’re looking for. For backup, use the “mirror” option (mirror the data directory to the backup directory, thus copying any files from the former that are nonexistent or older-versioned in the latter).
XCOPY or equivalent DOS command; put it in a batch file, and use the DOS “AT” command to make the file run regularly.
XCOPY and many others will fail if the file path gets so long it exceeds 256 characters - so copying C:\Documents to G:\BACKUP-COPY-2013\Documents runs the risk of the destination filename being too long and crashing the copy.
Create a batch file MAKEMYBACKUP.BAT and put the XCOPY commands in there.
Add options like /Y so no prompt, /H hidden files, etc.
One option is dates, so you could after the first “copy” put in the batch the option /D:01-01-2013 and you’ll copy very few files, just the newer ones. Change this in the batch file every few months or every year.
Add the pipe output, like XCOPY [parameters] >> LOG.TXT to keep a record of what was copied.
To be sure of the date, add a line like DATE >> LOG.TXT or ECHO %DATE% >> LOG.TXT
You can do selective XCOPY of important folders, like Documents, Email, etc.
So the tech was there to do this 20 years ago, if you are feeling techno-geeky and happy with DOS commands.
Of course, this does not delete files that are missing/deleted on the source; but odds are you don’t want to.
I’ve mentioned it recently in response to another question: Rsync using the gui Grsync. Even available for Windows.
You set a session with the desired options, such as preserve permissions etc., and in this case Ignore Existing; copying a folder to another place, and hit Run whenever you need to update. It is entirely mouse-driven. Grsync
Since the basic answers have been given, I’ll add in $0.02.
You’ll want to think about the sorts of failures you are trying to protect against. Mirrors are good against catastrophic system failure but not very good against some types of, shall we say, user error.
If you accidentally save a picture of your cat under the name KissingShamu.jpg, thereby clobbering your cetaceous heirloom, or if you accidentally delete or corrupt the file some other way, a literal mirror will just pick up the mistake. If you refresh the mirror nightly and you don’t catch the mistake until the next morning, you’re out of luck.
I usually roll my own solutions so I don’t know if any of the products mentioned upthread do this, but I like to keep a backlog of older mirrors with a quasi-logarithmic time spacing. So, for a folder like the one you describe, I might have the following mirrors sitting around:
one day old
two days old
three days old
one week old
one month old
six months old
one year old
three years old
It’s not space efficient so I only use this scheme where applicable (although space is cheap), but it means I protect myself from issues that I might not discover right away and that might get propagated to my “current” mirror.
I’m sorry. It’s still a sensitive subject with my husband – I explained he was on my list! – so I’d better not.
I see your point. Right now I’m most sensitive about losing the whole shebang, since I DID just last year when my computer died. (Apparently a design error had a ‘hot’ component too close to something sensitive, resulting in a dead mother board AND a damaged hard drive.) But I have to admit I have committed operator errors on many occasions.
OTOH, I absolutely know I’m not disciplined enough to do your multi-multi level of backups.
Maybe I can get by with just saving off a dated ‘master backup’ copy of the working backup once month. I could zip those up to save space, though as you say, space is pretty cheap these days.
Some software have features to guard against it. The one I recommended above (Goodsync), for example, has a “save deleted/replaced files” feature. I.e. whenever it replaces or deletes a file because it’s changed at the source, it saves the original file in a different hidden directory.
By the way - in response to the OP, the reason you couldn’t find one is because this type of software is not considered a “backup software” - it’s a “file synchronization” software.
I use synctoy all the time. It is not trying to be over elegant or clever and I like that. I feel fully in control of all my backups.
Microsoft has stopped developing it – other file synchronisation methods are used in Windows. So the latest version of synctoy (5.1) is several years old. It aint broke. I like it.