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Backing up your files without hassle or financial loss

Started by FrankU, September 09, 2012, 05:54:12 AM

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Dear friends,

Too often I read a sad post by someone who found out that after a HD crash data are lost and that the progress of a beautiful BAT or a thriving MD are lost forever.
There are ways to decrease the chance of this happening. There are numerous backup programmes around. Many of them cost money, many of them are free. They all have good and bad sides. I don't know, I lost track and interest in them. Like we say in Dutch: I cannot see the forest because of all the trees. Meaning: there are so many, I don't know which to choose.

But there is really a very simple way. What do you need?
First: your data should best be on different HD's or at least different Partitions of your HD. For years a I had two separate HD's in my computer. The first one was divided in a C: and a D: partition. The C was for the programs, the D was for the data. The second HD was named partition E: and this one contained the backups and the archives.

You can also have all files on one physical HD, but on different partitons. Like I have at this moment. This will still give you a backup if you overwrite or delete files from your Plugins. It will not help against crashes, theft or fire.
Against crashes you need an external device like a USB-stick or an external HD. This of course takes some financial resources, although a good USB stick is cheap these days.
If you want to protect yourself against fire or theft you should have two HD's of which one of them is at your mother's house or at the office, or in a safe somewhere.

Now you need to be sure that you have all data on all two or three locations.

Because Win7 is still a MS-Dos program in certain ways most old MS-Dos commands are still useful.

What I did is write a small backup.bat file that runs copying routines and then, when it is finished, shuts down the computer. I gave it a shortcut to my desktop. When I am finished working on my computer and want to shutdown I just click the shortcut and the backup and shutdown are done automatically. I cannot forget to make a backup.

This is the content of my daily shutdown routine.

xcopy /e/d/Y/h C:\"Program files (x86)"\maxis\"simcity 4 deluxe"\plugins E:\Backup_Data\SC4_C_Plugins\
xcopy /e/d/Y/h D:\data E:\Backup_Data\
Shutdown -s -t 1 -c "Tot de volgende keer!"


xcopy: copy everything.
/e : Copies all subdirectories, even if they are empty.
/d[:mm-dd-yyyy] : Copies source files changed on or after the specified date only. If you do not include a mm-dd-yyyy value, xcopy copies all Source files that are newer than existing Destination files. This command-line option allows you to update files that have changed.
/y : Suppresses prompting to confirm that you want to overwrite an existing destination file.
/h : Copies files with hidden and system file attributes. By default, xcopy does not copy hidden or system files.

shutdown command:
-s means: shutdown the computer
-t 1 means timing: in this case after one second. You can change this value up to 99 seconds. I guess. But why should you?
-c "comment": you can add a comment that is displayed on the shutdown box. You can leave it out if you don't care.

How you  make this file?
Search for a good folder somewhere in your "My documents" folder. You can do it anywhere though. Open this folder. Rightclick with your mouse. Choose "Make new text file". Open this textfile. Copy the above text lines, edit them and save the file.
Then rename the file to "backup_and_shutdown.bat" or something like that. The extension "bat" is neccessary to let it work. If you want, I do recmmend it, make a shortcut to your desktop.

So of course you need to fill in the location of your own files.
You can see that I make a backup of the C:\ etc \ maxis\sc4\plugins as well.
In the D:\data\ directory I have put all my images, music files, documents, SC4-plugins, downloads... All data that I use.
If you want to specify the directories there is no limit. You can make the list of xcopy commands as long as you want.

Remember this: a directory name with a space in it needs to be put between quotation marks. So you can write down: C:\plugins\files\rubbish. These names have no spaces. Otherwise you have to write: C:\plugins\"my own files"\rubbish. Otherwise it won't work. Remember: "my documents" !

And a bit more.
I made several routines. The above is only for the daily backup from C: to E:. I have another one for let's say weekly backups, although I tend to forget (dangerous of course!) and that is one for use with the external disk. I have a HD that takes power and I do not want to keep it attached to my computer all the time (also becaue of firestorm risk). I attach the HD once in a while and then I have added some lines on order to copy the files also to the external HD.
If you use an USB you can make the backup onto this on a daily base, of course. Which is better. A HD crash will not crash the USB stick.

I hope all is clear. If not please ask.



Excellent! Now this is going to be useful!

I ask a K-point for this very great, useful tutorial with will prevent from future loss I think.
I'll take a quiet life... A handshake of carbon monoxide.

Props & Texture Catalog


I have 3 external HD's that I back info up to daily.  Its usually just pictures taken from my ipod, ipad, or digital camera(1 of which is usually with me at all times since with my kids, you never know when a good picture will come along).

I also burn everything to DVD or blueray disc as well.

But I do like Frank's little program as well.


By way of simplifying here's another suggestion. Today hds medios (500g) already has a well affordable price which enables the use of the mirroring feature (Raid) present on all boards with sata,

For those who still have old boards can use this same feature that is present in S.O. since old XP pro using dynamic mirrored volumes.

A major advantage is the immediate continuation of the same system in case of crash Hd!


Just ran this myself, and it worked beautifully.  One of those things that will be massively useful, even in the world beyond SC4.  I'll second art128 on that k-point!


Well, I'm always in favor of anything that will get people to back up their files more frequently.  So I'll give Frank a well-deserved karma point for helping this to happen.

As for me, I use the professional version of Macrium Reflect.  There's also a basic free version for those on a budget.  I recommend combining something like that with an offsite backup program for redundancy.  I use Mozy, which will give you 2 GB for free; I pay $6/month for 50 GB.

I also use Vice Versa Pro to make copies of files in my Documents folder every ten minutes.  And then I have a couple of other backup programs, just in case.

I never lose any data, though. $%Grinno$%


Thanks for the Karma point!

You all made my day...

But the best reaction will be, if ever, that someone writes: I had a HD crash, but thanks to FrankU's tutorial from september 2012 I just lost today's work, because all earlier work was backupped yesterday.