Is "sync" what I want?

  • Thread starter J. P. Gilliver (John)
  • Start date

J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

After a recent disc crash, I've learnt by experience, and am now backing
up (somewhat irregularly).

I use a Macrium image for my system partition C: and the hidden
partition (both to one image). I have tested that I can restore from it
(IMO no backup system is worthy of the name unless you can boot
something on a non-bootable system - in my case the Macrium boot CD,
which fits on a mini-CD - and restore with it) - such a restore was how
I got my system back with the new blank disc I bought.

For my _data_ partition D:, I just use Windows Explorer to copy it all
to a folder named for the date - such as 20141120 if I did it now. (Oh,
on an external large disc bought for the purpose, on which I also put
the Macrium image.)

I _want_ my _data_ backups to be accessible with just Windows Explorer,
as they are with this method - i. e. I don't want to have to use
anything (such as Macrium etc.) to get at the backups. I I have a file
D:\abc\xyz.jpg say, I want the backup disc to contain a file
G:\20141120\abc.xyz.jpg .

However, it _does_ take rather a long time to copy the lot. So, now that
I have at least two such backup folders, I'm after a way of modifying a
previous one by just
adding files that have changed or been added
deleting files that have been removed
to/from an already-existing set. (Though inefficient, this would also
handle the case of files that have just been renamed or moved, though I
suppose it might not remove directories/folders that have been removed.)

1. Is this what people mean by "sync"ing?
2. Is such a function built into XP or 7?
3. If not (or 7 only), is there something that people like for this task
(that works on XP and 7)?
 
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G

GlowingBlueMist

After a recent disc crash, I've learnt by experience, and am now backing
up (somewhat irregularly).

I use a Macrium image for my system partition C: and the hidden
partition (both to one image). I have tested that I can restore from it
(IMO no backup system is worthy of the name unless you can boot
something on a non-bootable system - in my case the Macrium boot CD,
which fits on a mini-CD - and restore with it) - such a restore was how
I got my system back with the new blank disc I bought.

For my _data_ partition D:, I just use Windows Explorer to copy it all
to a folder named for the date - such as 20141120 if I did it now. (Oh,
on an external large disc bought for the purpose, on which I also put
the Macrium image.)

I _want_ my _data_ backups to be accessible with just Windows Explorer,
as they are with this method - i. e. I don't want to have to use
anything (such as Macrium etc.) to get at the backups. I I have a file
D:\abc\xyz.jpg say, I want the backup disc to contain a file
G:\20141120\abc.xyz.jpg .

However, it _does_ take rather a long time to copy the lot. So, now that
I have at least two such backup folders, I'm after a way of modifying a
previous one by just
adding files that have changed or been added
deleting files that have been removed
to/from an already-existing set. (Though inefficient, this would also
handle the case of files that have just been renamed or moved, though I
suppose it might not remove directories/folders that have been removed.)

1. Is this what people mean by "sync"ing?
2. Is such a function built into XP or 7?
3. If not (or 7 only), is there something that people like for this task
(that works on XP and 7)?
Yes it sounds like you have the right idea.

I use a program called SyncBack to "mirror" a folder or a group of
folders to an external drive and even over a VPN tunnel to a remote
external drive attached to a router in another city.

They have a free for home use version as well as paid versions of the
program which have a wider range of options.

What I like about SyncBack is after the files are finally backed up
using it the subsequent backups are quite fast as it only looks for
files that are new, modified, or needed deleting and does not actually
copy every file every time.

I have mine configured to automatically back up my data files nightly
but you can configure it to run virtually any time you choose.

http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html

The initial configuration can be a little daunting for the beginner but
once you have it setup you can synchronize one way, to the backup, or
even both ways if need be. Even the basic free version has more options
in it than most people would use but I like it.

Other programs area available that do the same thing if you look for
them or others here suggest them.

Here is a link comparing the three versions of SyncBack. Obviously the
two paid versions have more options available but I'd start with the
free version to see if it will do what you want and upgrade later if
need be.

http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/compare.html
 
P

Paul in Houston TX

J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
After a recent disc crash, I've learnt by experience, and am now backing
up (somewhat irregularly).

I use a Macrium image for my system partition C: and the hidden
partition (both to one image). I have tested that I can restore from it
(IMO no backup system is worthy of the name unless you can boot
something on a non-bootable system - in my case the Macrium boot CD,
which fits on a mini-CD - and restore with it) - such a restore was how
I got my system back with the new blank disc I bought.

For my _data_ partition D:, I just use Windows Explorer to copy it all
to a folder named for the date - such as 20141120 if I did it now. (Oh,
on an external large disc bought for the purpose, on which I also put
the Macrium image.)

I _want_ my _data_ backups to be accessible with just Windows Explorer,
as they are with this method - i. e. I don't want to have to use
anything (such as Macrium etc.) to get at the backups. I I have a file
D:\abc\xyz.jpg say, I want the backup disc to contain a file
G:\20141120\abc.xyz.jpg .

However, it _does_ take rather a long time to copy the lot. So, now that
I have at least two such backup folders, I'm after a way of modifying a
previous one by just
adding files that have changed or been added
deleting files that have been removed
to/from an already-existing set. (Though inefficient, this would also
handle the case of files that have just been renamed or moved, though I
suppose it might not remove directories/folders that have been removed.)

1. Is this what people mean by "sync"ing?
2. Is such a function built into XP or 7?
3. If not (or 7 only), is there something that people like for this task
(that works on XP and 7)?

Check out Microsoft SyncToy. It is a great little program.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15155
 
Z

Zaidy036

I believe Robocopy will do everything you're asking about, and it's built
into Win 7 and 8, for sure, and may be available in XP. If not, you can
probably download it from Microsoft.
Advantage of RoboCopy is can be set to only copy changed files. Also
then the data can be accessed from an iPhone or other device which
cannot read image files.
 
P

Paul

J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
After a recent disc crash, I've learnt by experience, and am now backing
up (somewhat irregularly).

I use a Macrium image for my system partition C: and the hidden
partition (both to one image). I have tested that I can restore from it
(IMO no backup system is worthy of the name unless you can boot
something on a non-bootable system - in my case the Macrium boot CD,
which fits on a mini-CD - and restore with it) - such a restore was how
I got my system back with the new blank disc I bought.

For my _data_ partition D:, I just use Windows Explorer to copy it all
to a folder named for the date - such as 20141120 if I did it now. (Oh,
on an external large disc bought for the purpose, on which I also put
the Macrium image.)

I _want_ my _data_ backups to be accessible with just Windows Explorer,
as they are with this method - i. e. I don't want to have to use
anything (such as Macrium etc.) to get at the backups. I I have a file
D:\abc\xyz.jpg say, I want the backup disc to contain a file
G:\20141120\abc.xyz.jpg .

However, it _does_ take rather a long time to copy the lot. So, now that
I have at least two such backup folders, I'm after a way of modifying a
previous one by just
adding files that have changed or been added
deleting files that have been removed
to/from an already-existing set. (Though inefficient, this would also
handle the case of files that have just been renamed or moved, though I
suppose it might not remove directories/folders that have been removed.)

1. Is this what people mean by "sync"ing?
2. Is such a function built into XP or 7?
3. If not (or 7 only), is there something that people like for this task
(that works on XP and 7)?

First of all, Macrium provides a facility to examine a .mrimg file.
You right-click on it, and an entry in the context menu provides a "mounting"
capability. So the backup you made on Tuesday, you click on it, and it
becomes your G: partition. Then, using Explorer, you can navigate to
G:\abc\xyz.jpg. You can then drag and drop copy that to D:\abc\xyz.jpg
if you want. I would expect the date on the file (as captured during
the backup), would be visible in the Explorer window.

The G: mount, can be unmounted again, by more clicking. So if I wanted
just the one file, or a folder of files, I can mount, copy, and unmount
in a couple minutes elapsed time. Just as long as the .mrimg file
is accessible from the external drive.

The only problem I've had with that, is if the G: happened to be
a Windows 8 backup. If I attempt to delete something unrelated from D:,
the Trash can gives a warning about an attempt to delete some
"Desktop" file from G:. It means if randomly browsing the Windows 8
..mrimg, I dismount it as soon as I'm done with it. There doesn't
seem to be any damage that I can see, but I didn't take any chances.

*******

If you look at the feature set of Macrium, differential and incremental
backups are in the paid version of Macrium.

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

You can see how they work, in Wikipedia. To restore from a
differential, takes just two image files. While the incremental
takes N files, to get back to N state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Differential_backup

Full_backup + last_differential_backup = point_in_time

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incremental_backup

Full_backup + tuesday_incremental + wednesday_incremental = wednesday_point_in_time

So for incremental, all the backups taken since the "full" have
to be used, to get to the current point in time. The
differential, only the full plus any one differential need to
work. But the incremental might take less storage space,
so if you wanted to stretch the backup drive time span,
that would be the more economical one.

I would hope the Macrium feature to mount the file system,
would still work with incremental/differential. So if you
want random access, it should still be there by clicking
on an incremental. And then the incremental calls on all
other incrementals and the full, to find the actual file.
Otherwise, the Explorer mounting feature would be pretty
useless, if it wasn't integrated that way.

*******

Sync, is "bringing the files on the external drive, up to
date with the contents of the internal drive, as economically
as possible". In a sense, it's the same process as incremental
or differential backup, in that only changed files need
be copied across, to get to the same state. And I think
Robocopy or Synctoy from Microsoft could be coaxed to do
that.

There are various NAS-like or "Cloud" techniques for syncing,
where changes you make on one computer, are uploaded to a
central storage device, and automatically reflected on some
other networked computer. Which is a bit of overkill for
simple backup needs.

*******

More modern Windows have a "Previous Versions" capability, but
I've been so uninterested, I've never investigated how it
works, and what infrastructure it needs. I guess I'm just
"hooked on images" as a concept, implying I want to
see my files in context, rather than trace down some
individual errant file. I can't make sense of files, unless
I see them in a group. And I'm guessing that's why the
off-putting "Previous Versions" name offers no attraction
to even learn about it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_copy

"In addition, a part of Windows Explorer called Previous Versions
allows restoring individual files or folders locally from restore
points as they existed at the time of the snapshot, thus retrieving
an earlier version of a file or recovering a file deleted by mistake.'

Maybe that would be available in Windows 7. But not likely to be
in WinXP. The description for that feature, seems to tie it to
System Restore.

Paul
 
D

dadiOH

J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
After a recent disc crash, I've learnt by experience, and am now backing
up (somewhat irregularly).

I use a Macrium image for my system partition C: and the hidden
partition (both to one image). I have tested that I can restore from it
(IMO no backup system is worthy of the name unless you can boot
something on a non-bootable system - in my case the Macrium boot CD,
which fits on a mini-CD - and restore with it) - such a restore was how
I got my system back with the new blank disc I bought.

For my _data_ partition D:, I just use Windows Explorer to copy it all
to a folder named for the date - such as 20141120 if I did it now. (Oh,
on an external large disc bought for the purpose, on which I also put
the Macrium image.)

I _want_ my _data_ backups to be accessible with just Windows Explorer,
as they are with this method - i. e. I don't want to have to use
anything (such as Macrium etc.) to get at the backups. I I have a file
D:\abc\xyz.jpg say, I want the backup disc to contain a file
G:\20141120\abc.xyz.jpg .

However, it _does_ take rather a long time to copy the lot. So, now that
I have at least two such backup folders, I'm after a way of modifying a
previous one by just
adding files that have changed or been added
deleting files that have been removed
to/from an already-existing set. (Though inefficient, this would also
handle the case of files that have just been renamed or moved, though I
suppose it might not remove directories/folders that have been removed.)

1. Is this what people mean by "sync"ing?
2. Is such a function built into XP or 7?
3. If not (or 7 only), is there something that people like for this task
(that works on XP and 7)?

Karen's Replicator. Easy to use, versatile. Very good.
http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp

--

dadiOH
____________________________

Winters getting colder? Tired of the rat race?
Taxes out of hand? Maybe just ready for a change?
Check it out... http://www.floridaloghouse.net
 
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J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

In message <[email protected]>, Paul <[email protected]>
writes:
[]
First of all, Macrium provides a facility to examine a .mrimg file.
[]
Thanks, but for once you haven't grasped what I want - which is to have
nothing to do with .mrimg (or any other proprietary) files, for my
_data_. I'm using Macrium to back up my system partition (and the hidden
one), to give me something that I can restore (to bare metal if
necessary, as it was necessary after my crash) my working system. (I
keep non-system software on the C: drive too, but not its data.)

But for my data (D: partition), I want plain copies that are real files,
that I can access with anything. (OK, anything that can handle NTFS; I
did initially try to set up my backup drive with FAT32, following
instructions here, but it didn't go right, so I let it use NTFS - not
_really_ a problem, as I'm not trying to back up anything pre XP. [And
no, I'm not going to redo my backup drive now.])

I was just after some means of speeding up the process (I'm at present
just copying the whole D: partition - apart from the System Volume
Information "directory", which gives problems if I try to copy it and
I'd ideally like to get rid of - to a new folder [called yyyymmdd] each
time on the backup drive), by only copying new files and the ones that
have changed, and deleting (from the backup) ones that had been deleted
from D:.

I think GlowingBlueMist (!), Paul in Houston, Char, and DadiOH have
grokked me, and I'll be looking at their suggestions next time I fire up
the browser. (I think the Microsoft SyncToy might appeal most; if it's
from the same stable as - or even one of - the PowerToys or
SysInternals, it'll be good.)
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

Paul in Houston TX said:
J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
After a recent disc crash, I've learnt by experience, and am now backing
up (somewhat irregularly). []
I have at least two such backup folders, I'm after a way of modifying a
previous one by just
adding files that have changed or been added
deleting files that have been removed
to/from an already-existing set. (Though inefficient, this would also
handle the case of files that have just been renamed or moved, though I
suppose it might not remove directories/folders that have been removed.)
[]
Check out Microsoft SyncToy. It is a great little program.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15155

Looked good, until I got to "SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to
files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the
synchronized folder."

That sounds like it's something that runs all the time: to keep track of
renames, it would have to, I think.

What I want is something that I can in effect tell: "here's an old copy
I made of all the folders on this disc. Update it to reflect how this
disc is now", just as if I was just copying the whole disc again, but
ideally not doing so, i. e. only copying new, changed, or renamed
(including moved) files/folders, and deleting ones that have been
deleted from the source disc.

_Can_ SyncToy do that, or _does_ it have to be installed and running all
the time as the above implies?

I see it _is_ one of the PowerToys, so I hope I can use it, as I've had
good experience with those in the past.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)[email protected]+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

Anybody who thinks there can be unlimited growth in a static, limited
environment, is either mad or an economist. - Sir David Attenborough, in
Radio Times 10-16 November 2012
 
P

Paul in Houston TX

J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
Paul in Houston TX said:
J. P. Gilliver (John) said:
After a recent disc crash, I've learnt by experience, and am now backing
up (somewhat irregularly). []
I have at least two such backup folders, I'm after a way of modifying a
previous one by just
adding files that have changed or been added
deleting files that have been removed
to/from an already-existing set. (Though inefficient, this would also
handle the case of files that have just been renamed or moved, though I
suppose it might not remove directories/folders that have been removed.)
[]
Check out Microsoft SyncToy. It is a great little program.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=15155

Looked good, until I got to "SyncToy actually keeps track of renames to
files and will make sure those changes get carried over to the
synchronized folder."

That sounds like it's something that runs all the time: to keep track of
renames, it would have to, I think.

What I want is something that I can in effect tell: "here's an old copy
I made of all the folders on this disc. Update it to reflect how this
disc is now", just as if I was just copying the whole disc again, but
ideally not doing so, i. e. only copying new, changed, or renamed
(including moved) files/folders, and deleting ones that have been
deleted from the source disc.

_Can_ SyncToy do that, or _does_ it have to be installed and running all
the time as the above implies?

ST only runs when you load it. Unload it when done like any other
program. When you tell it what you want it to do it will scan just
those locations to see if there are any changes then scan the second
location to see what needs to be done there.

Why not just try it and all the alternatives that others have suggested
to find the one that you like? When I am in need of a new program
I'll try 5 or 10 to find the one that works best for me.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Why not just make a quick and easy image backup of that partition AND yet
still have access to the files in the image via Windows Explorer (assuming
Macrium will allow that - I know ATI will)?

Macrium adds the capability, if there is a set of incremental backups,
to mount any of the incrementals as a (virtual) hard drive and see - and
recover - a file's earlier version that was created before that
incremental backup. I am pretty sure that I did the same with ATI back
when I used it.

So if you changed a file on June 1, did in incremental on June 15,
changed the file on June 22, and did another incremental on June 30,
mounting the June 15 BU gives you access to the June 1 file, and
mounting the June 30 BU give you access to the Jun 22 file, and so on.

There's no magic: an incremental backup has all the changes since the
previous backup and is organized so that from it and all the previous
backups in the series (back to the start, a full backup) the state of
the drive at the date of that BU can be created.

[snip]
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

Char Jackson said:
On Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:32:51 -0700, "Bill in Co"


Both Macrium and ATI indeed allow you to 'explore' the image as if it were a
standard disk-based filesystem, but they each do it by inserting a driver
between the binary image that they've created and the rest of the OS. John
has said that he doesn't want a solution that requires such a driver.
Thanks, Char - you grok me. I use Macrium _from its boot disc_ to back
up - well, make an image - of my C: and hidden partitions. For my D:, I
want just a plain something I can read on any computer should I need to,
including ones that have never heard of Macrium or ATI.
 
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C

choro

Thanks, Char - you grok me. I use Macrium _from its boot disc_ to back
up - well, make an image - of my C: and hidden partitions. For my D:, I
want just a plain something I can read on any computer should I need to,
including ones that have never heard of Macrium or ATI.

I do exactly what you want using the free for home users xxcopy. If
you've ever used xcopy you will find it a doodle to use xxcopy which is
basically a more advanced version of xcopy.

I copy my drives other than the System and C drives (which I image with
Macrium Reflect) onto an external HD. xxcopy's one disadvantage which
can be looked upon as an advantage is that this way you have 2 copies of
each and every file with 2 exact copies you can access with Windows
Explorer with the copy being the pre xxcopy version of that same file.
Of course this applies only to files as they stood at the time of your
last xxcopy. Once you apply xxcopy the copy file will be exactly the
same as the one on your internal HD. XXcopy can be configured the skip
files that have not been updated since your last xxcopy. This of course
makes it extremely fast.

It is an extremely flexible software for which you have to write your
own command line, as with xcopy, to do exactly what you want it to do.
And even the free version will read and copy files with names up to 256
characters including the path. This limitation doesn't apply to the
rather expensive paid version for business use. But not even the paid
version will either make your coffee OR warm you up in bed. ;-)
 

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