A person I know who is not very good with computers wants to have an easy way of backing up important files on Windows, with the ideal process being:

  1. Plug in USB drive
  2. Click on Desktop shortcut
  3. Have important files transferred to USB

Is there a free Windows Vista program that lets me easily do this?

If not, I can write a Batch file. Is xcopy /e /y the recommended command for such a thing?

This is the batch file I ended up writing, using robocopy:

@echo off
if not exist L:\nul goto DriveDoesNotExist
echo msgbox "Daten werden gesichert..." > "%temp%\popup.vbs"
wscript.exe "%temp%\popup.vbs"

robocopy C:\Daten L:\ /s /xj /eta /r:10 /w:10
removedrive.exe L:\ -b

echo msgbox "Fertig! Sie können den Stick jetzt entfernen." > "%temp%\popup.vbs"
wscript.exe "%temp%\popup.vbs"

echo msgbox "Erst den Stick einstecken!" > "%temp%\popup.vbs"
wscript.exe "%temp%\popup.vbs"

Thanks for any responses.


In Vista and Windows 7 (plus their Server varients), I recommend the built-in tool ROBOCOPY. It supports more features then XCOPY, and feels faster too.

Basic syntax:

ROBOCOPY source destination [file1 | file2 | ... ] /s /xj /eta /r:0 /w:0 /tee /log:CopyLog.txt

/s - Copies sub folders as well

/xj - Do not follow junction points (not needed for only one folder usually)

/eta - Shows copy progress on the screen

/r:x - Replace x with an integer. How many times ROBOCOPY will retry to copy a file. Default is 30

/w:x - Replace x with an integer. How long ROBOCOPY waits before attempting to re-copy a file

/tee - Output to a log file as well as the standard console

/log:filename - Filename for the log file to be saved to

For more information, check out ROBOCOPY commands

  • If I don't find a viable program, I'll use this. Does it overwrite automatically? – LonelyWebCrawler Jul 24 '12 at 17:23
  • You can use /xo to exclude old files, or /xn to exclude newer files – Canadian Luke Jul 24 '12 at 17:24
  • These options seem like they prevent overwriting in certain situations. Am I right assuming that using neither will overwrite everything? – LonelyWebCrawler Jul 24 '12 at 17:31
  • 1
    @LonelyWebCrawler from the link describing the tool "By default Robocopy will only copy a file if the source and destination have different time stamps or different file sizes.", so yes, if it has a different timestamps or size it will copy. If they are the same, it skips the file, if you do not want that pass the /IS flag "/IS : Include Same, overwrite files even if they are already the same." – Scott Chamberlain Jul 24 '12 at 17:43
  • 1
    You can actually write a batch file for that too. – George Jul 24 '12 at 21:26

Start >> All Programs >> Maintenance >> Backup and Restore >> Backup Files

This way you can back up your entire C: drive. In Windows 7 you can choose which files you want to backup (e.g. just Pictures & Documents), but I'm not sure if this is possible in Vista. You can also choose whether to back it up to a cd or an external drive as well.

If this won't work, check out FileFort Backup Software. You can make it completely automatic as long as the location of the flash drive doesn't change.

  • I'm afraid that this is not possible: answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-system/… – LonelyWebCrawler Jul 24 '12 at 17:20
  • hmmmm. well what do they want to copy? their entire drive or just documents/pictures/music etc? – nathpilland Jul 24 '12 at 17:23
  • the latter... several scattered directories. – LonelyWebCrawler Jul 24 '12 at 17:24
  • drag and drop then. have them select the folders they want, right click, copy, then paste into flash drive folder. unless they want system folders and hidden folders, this should be relatively easy for someone who is not very computer savvy. – nathpilland Jul 24 '12 at 17:26
  • Well, manual copying was exactly what I was trying to avoid. This person is elderly and frankly cannot see very well, and would much rather have a one-click solution. – LonelyWebCrawler Jul 24 '12 at 17:29

You can create a batch file with commands like below for each of the folders. Then add a desktop shortcut to launch the batch file.

xcopy  source  destination  /M /E /G /H /Y    

It will overwrite the existing files in the destination.

source: http://www.windows-commandline.com/backup-files-using-xcopy-command/


Many external hard drives have software that does backups. This can be an attached device or a network attached device. If you have teh drive you may just require the odtware from the manufaturer's site. The external drive software seems to have little impact on my system. I use a USB 3.0 drive 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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