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Is there any way to do an automated or scripted incremental backup?

This is for an older person who works on very important documents. I am currently repairing and re-vamping his computers, so I thought I'd set up a good backup system where all of his PC's backup to a central server running on an old computer. However, this has to be dead simple because I don't want him to have to learn a program and all the errors that can occur, etc.

I was thinking about writing a script that he could run manually or possibly on shutdown that would clean up the system (CCleaner) and then run a backup. If we can keep the backup size small he likely wouldn't notice (or at least not care) about the slowdown. If the backup cannot succeed because he is not connected to the network, it would be nice to be able to susspend the backup until he is.

I don't really want to use xcopy and copy everything for this. I suppose that accomplishes the end goal but requires larger transers. I also looked at Bvckup. I like the sounds of the feature that allows continuous backups as the files are changed, but I'm not sure about that program since it hasn't had a release in 2 years and claims it is still in beta. Does anyone have experience with that – especially that continuous backup feature? I am also not sure how that would handle being offline.

One machine has Windows XP and the other has Vista.

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Try cobian backup – Diogo Jul 24 '12 at 15:29
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Before I bought my Windows Home Server I used SyncBack. It is freeware that is easy to setup and then forget about it.

Many options for full and/or incremental backups.

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How does WHS handle backups? I'm assuming it's something special and not just a simple fileshare. I am currently using SyncBack with a network fileshare at home. I wanted some way of improving that, not for this project, but for personal use. I can use Windows Server 2008 R2(I have an MSDN academic license), and yes, I primarily use it for testing things such as ASP.NET applications for educational purposes, and was also looking at WHS or if there is a solution for a linux server. – Kyle Jul 24 '12 at 16:43
I have an HP MediaSmart Home Server. Once you run the connector software from a device it will automatically set it up for backups. It is possible to configure the backups to not backup some files or directories but the default is to do an entire system backup. It also let's you set how many backups to keep. The best part was the four bays in the unit that allow you to add space but keep all the storage as one contiguous logical drive. This feature has be lost in the newer versions of Windows server. HP has stopped making home servers. Not sure if you can even get one anymore. – Zooks64 Jul 24 '12 at 20:26

Many external hard drives have software that does backups. This can be an attached device or a network attached device. You mention the centarl server is an "old" computer. This may not be the safest location for important backups. The external drive software seems to have little impact on my system. I use a USB directly attached but also have used a network drive. If this might work for you, check makers like Western Digital, Maxtor, Buffalo, etc. Restores are very easy as well. At least with the software I have used

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I would consider installing rsync on windows (originally a unix tool). The power of this tool is that it does incremental backup, only transferring the bytes of every file that is changed, not the entire file. You mentioned you wanted fast backups, so this might be your best bet.

I used to have a .bat file on my desktop which invoked a long rsync command to completely mirror a few chosen folders on my computer onto a backup drive. I also had some folder set to be omitted by rsync. Very flexible, and dor sure is scriptable too.

You will need some version of cygwin to get it installed, but there are a few packages out there that can do this automatically when installing rsync, here is one called Cwrsync. You will also need to have a working ssh system for rsync to work. This adds extra security by the way, which is what you want for important files. Hope that helps.

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