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4.1 Local “Native” Backups

Local backups are preformed on the (local) computer you are using and may be in a “native”  or proprietary format. They should be taken at a regular interval (M-T-W-Th-F) and kept for the duration of the interval.  If you have a 1GB drive in your computer you need to add a 2GB internal or external drive for local backups.

What are “native” backups? Any backup that is taken without doing ANYTHING to the files being backed up can be considered “native”. The reason having one of your backups in  “native” is so important is they can almost always be restored from. In the past 20 years I have had several experiences were the backup could not be recovered from from either corruption or a change in your backups program formatting. Up until the past five years using a “native” format was costly because of exspensive drive space however, now with hard drive cost so low they should always be used. They also reduce the CPU cycles and network time required.

We are going to cover 3 sample backup types that are all native below.


Type 1 Simple Windows File Copy

I am sure that all of you have used this simplest of methods to do a “native” backup without even knowing it. Above  we will open up the boot drive C: and find the folder to backup.

In this case we are copying C:\SSP and any contained folders to a backup location Z:\pubkp\thu. This is a “thu” or backup for Thursday. I always make a series of empty folders for every day in the week within the Z:\pubkp\ folder to allow me to to go back one working week in time. Each folder contains EVERYTHING  this way I can recover a file or the whole directory structure.

There are several issues with this method: You need to have complete permissions on both sending and recieving directories , you have to remember to do it everyday and you have no record (log) of what was done.

Above you can see the results which should be checked to make sure a file(s) is not missing. This is a OK method if you do not have a lot of files all over your drive that change a lot.


RoboCopy GUI

In 1997 I found a product called RoboCopy and started writing scripts in the Window’s command langauge to service my needs. At that time we had about 50 servers  supporting our file needs that were spread between 3 offices and 3 operating environments: Windows, SGI IRIX and Mac. It worked very well however, it required a lot of tweaking to keep everything working. In 2002 someone at Microsoft wrote a GUI (Grahpical User Interface) to make it a litte easier to setup. You can download a free copy below however, be aware it still requires a lot of understanding to use and script.http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2006.11.utilityspotlight.aspx 

Let’s take a quick look.

First we select a source path and target. You can only select one source at a time with out making a manual script this is a BIG problem since you do not want to have a lot scripts doing the work of one.

This is one of several pages full of options you can set. If you do not understand writing command scripts be careful this is a free application however, you need to know what you are doing to use.

These are help files on Robocopy GUI. Not exactly user friendly. (note the actual script line highlighted above)

Once you have made your selections select the “Save Script” option and save it to the desktop or somewhere you use for files.


When you double click the script on the desktop (or wherever you chose) a cmd window will pop-up giving you the status of the run.  This is written to a log if you so selected.

Above you can see the results which should be checked to make sure a file(s) is not missing. As I stated at the beginning  of the RoboCopy area I used this product for almost 9 years before switching to ViceVersa which is my next and last review. RoboCopy is good IF you know what you are doing. It is not for beginners.




ViceVersa Pro

This is currently my first choice . I use it daily, weekly and monthly. It is based on Robocopy technology however, it has been vastly reworked making it far more flexible and user friendly (sort of). You still need to know what you want before you start. I make backups of my files that have been changed M-F twice a day and weekly then monthly. I also make a archive storing the weekly and monthly between two drives that are rotated and taken offisite. My last backup types  are  timeslice backups and  images which are not “native”. This may seem like a lot of work however, I do not like redoing work.

 Vice Versa Pro download  http://www.tgrmn.com/web/download.htm

ViceVersa offers a “Source Target” mode or a “Multiple Source Targets” (which I use extensively)

When you are in the “Multiple Source Targets” mode you can backup between literally any device on you network to any location without doing a any scripting.

This is one of the many attribute selection pages.

The balloon help screens are in very easy to read and help you make a decision. If you you do not understand this you probably should just use drag and drop (top of this section) or try the default settings for ViceVersa . You can read the log and see were your errors are and make corrections. Normally if you have the same account and password on all devices being considered and the destinations are wide open from a permissions standpoint you should be good to go.

Above I have setup a script using the same source as before with different destinations. I can choose backup method (though I normally use Mirror Source to Target). 

I get a summary of how many file and folders will be processed.

I can then preview and set the bandwidth use before I commit. If there are errors I will be informed.

When complete you can review what has been copied.

Save the profile (script) if you like the results or run it until you get what you like and then save the profile. Save your profiles to an area that gets backed up. If you rely on a image here you may loose what was there before and after the image.

Again when complete do a manual check of the source and destination.

You should start the VVLauncher so you can easily start and stop the profiles. If you have a lot of backups use the VVScheduler which is much more detailed and configurable with complete reporting.


The reason I have not mentioned any other products such as Microsoft backup is they do not meet my primary criteria of making “Native” files. The above three products do make “Native” files.

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