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I'm on a Windows server and I've got a huge folder (~11 TB) of images that I'd like to back up to a network drive.

What is the appropriate way to go about doing this? Is it even possible to zip up a folder that large? I'm not sure the zipping would do much since it's full of images and they're probably already in compressed formats already.

Is it as simple as a copy-paste command? Can my 64-bit machine's clipboard hold a copy-paste of a multi-TB folder?

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File clipboard doesn't really work like text clipboard, so don't worry about running out of RAM, and technically you won't run into any trouble by ctrl+c, v-ing the images to the network folder.

The thing is, though, that I won't really trust default windows file copy to handle multiterabytes of file transfer over network that could potentially take hours to complete (not that it actually has a problem; I just won't trust it). If I was asked to do something like that, I would probably use a dedicated file copier software or a backup software with job management and verification feature..

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I recommend Robocopy. It's tolerant of interruptions, meaning that it can pick up where it left off in case of a disruption (such as a dropped network connection). It also handles UNC paths well, and has a huge variety of command-line switches to customize the copy operation.

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Image formats are already compressed, unless there's something special about the situation you'll actually make things bigger by compressing them. (In the case of quite small files the overall result can be smaller due to less waste.) Furthermore, zip files have limits, you'll likely bump into them. Besides, it's a case of putting all your eggs in one basket.

As you will probably want to keep this backup up to date I would strongly recommend either a dedicated backup program or a file synchronizer program. My inclination lies strongly towards the latter as that produces a human-readable backup so it's much easier to verify things are right.

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