Computer Backup Programs and Other Methods to Backup Data
You do not always need costly computer backup programs to back up your data. If your data backup needs are small, you may want to use manual backup. In case of most standalone computers and servers, people use manual backups. A manual backup is just a simple copying of the important data to a safer location other than your computer/server. It can be a DVD, an external HDD, or a small pen drive.
Using Batch Files automates the manual data backup to some extent. However, you need to schedule the batch file to run at regular intervals so that you do not miss recent data updates. Please note that even with the best computer backup programs, you are sure to miss the most recent updates to data or system information. A batch file would normally contain one or more Xcopy commands. It will back up only data files and not create a volume shadow. An example of such batch file could be as follows:
XCOPY D:\Clients G:\Backup /D /S /H /Y
XCOPY E:\Mail\Outlook.pst G:\Backup /D /S /H /Y
Echo Backup complete
You can use XCOPY for each folder where you store you data. In the example, I used two mail folders: D:\Clients, Outlook file from E drive and copied them to G:\Backup. Please remember that the destination (the G: drive) should be something external to the computer: an external HDD or a pen drive. I used some more switches here:
/D: Asks XCOPY to copy only those files whose modification date and time is more current than the one in destination folder.
/S: Asks XCOPY to copy all the sub-folders in the source folder that you specify.
/H: Copies hidden and system files as well
/Y: Suppresses prompt before overwriting the files that already exist in the destination. The switch is useful if you wish unattended backup. If you wish to monitor each file, you may not wish to use this switch.
Important: The batch file will work only on computers having Windows and DOS supported operating systems. You can add the batch file to run at a scheduled time using Windows Task Scheduler.
Manual methods and batch files fail if your computer has too much data to back up regularly. For example, if you are working on a client-server network model, you will have one or more databases that update constantly. In such scenarios, you cannot depend on these manual methods.