Incremental backup from one external drive to another?


  1. Posts : 17
    Win 10
       #1

    Incremental backup from one external drive to another?


    I'm using an external SSD connected to my router as a central storage device for all my files. I'd like to make regular backups to another external drive (not an SSD) to keep my data safe. I've tried connecting both drives to my PC and doing a complete copy but this takes ages so I'm wondering whether there's a backup programme/solution that will do this as an incremental backup ? (Preferably free). Any help much appreciated.
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  2. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 2,453
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #2

    DevonDave said:
    to keep my data safe.
    To keep ONLY your data safe?

    If so, I'd just use an ordinary file by file backup program....rather than an imaging program that might used to back up Windows.

    The first run of such a program might well take hours.

    But all later runs should take much less time...because ONLY changes since the last run are considered. I take under 2 minutes to back up over 900 GB of data.
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  3. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 19,109
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #3

    DevonDave said:
    I'm using an external SSD connected to my router as a central storage device for all my files. I'd like to make regular backups to another external drive (not an SSD) to keep my data safe. I've tried connecting both drives to my PC and doing a complete copy but this takes ages so I'm wondering whether there's a backup programme/solution that will do this as an incremental backup ? (Preferably free). Any help much appreciated.
    To do an incremental copy, you first have to have done a full copy. First time round is always going to take ages, I'm afraid.

    The simplest way is from the command line using the XCopy command, which has a /M switch just for this purpose. Say your original drive is E: and everything from E:\ is to be copied drive H:\ (and should have the same folder structure). Then the command to use is:

    Xcopy E:\*.* /S /E /M H:\

    E:\*.* = source files, using wildcard to match any file
    /S = recurse through all sub-folders and copy them and their contents
    /E = copy empty folders too
    /M = Copies only files with the archive attribute set, turns off the archive attribute.
    H:\ = destination to copy to

    To make it easier to run, you could put the command in a .bat file and run that when needed. First time round all files will have their archive attribute set, so everything gets copied (and gets its archive attribute cleared). The next time, only those files that are new or have been altered would have their archive attribute set, so only those files that have changed will get copied - ie, it does an incremental copy.
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  4. Posts : 17
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Bree said:
    To do an incremental copy, you first have to have done a full copy. First time round is always going to take ages, I'm afraid.

    The simplest way is from the command line using the XCopy command, which has a /M switch just for this purpose. Say your original drive is E: and everything from E:\ is to be copied drive H:\ (and should have the same folder structure). Then the command to use is:

    Xcopy E:\*.* /S /E /M H:\

    E:\*.* = source files, using wildcard to match any file
    /S = recurse through all sub-folders and copy them and their contents
    /E = copy empty folders too
    /M = Copies only files with the archive attribute set, turns off the archive attribute.
    H:\ = destination to copy to

    To make it easier to run, you could put the command in a .bat file and run that when needed. First time round all files will have their archive attribute set, so everything gets copied (and gets its archive attribute cleared). The next time, only those files that are new or have been altered would have their archive attribute set, so only those files that have changed will get copied - ie, it does an incremental copy.
    That sounds like it would be the best way for me but would this mean that any changes to the folder structure, for example adding new folders, wouldn't show up?
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  5. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 19,109
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    DevonDave said:
    That sounds like it would be the best way for me but would this mean that any changes to the folder structure, for example adding new folders, wouldn't show up?
    The Xcopy command would copy any new folders that you add. It's a fairly simple-minded command though, so it won't replicate deleting a folder on the original drive, the copy will remain on the backup drive. It also won't cope well with renaming a folder on the source drive. The original name will continue to exist on the destination, and when a new file is added to the renamed folder, it will be copied to the folder's new name on the destination, while the rest of the files will still be in a folder with the old name

    There is a more powerful command named RoboCopy, that can mirror one drive to another and cope with changes like that. But it's more complex to use and getting the syntax correct can be a nightmare. It does have a similar /M option though.

    There's a description with examples here: https://social.technet.microsoft.com...-examples.aspx
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  6. SIW2's Avatar
    Posts : 1,708
    trying to install win10
       #6
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  7. Posts : 17
    Win 10
    Thread Starter
       #7

    Thanks for your help guys. I've been trying the Xcopy commands which do partly solve my problem but it's not easy for someone with limited experience like me to use. In contrast, I've found using Karen's Replicator package very user friendly and there are a lot of settings you can tweak such as limiting which folders and file types to backup if you need them. It has also dealt with deleted and moved folders so does everything I need. The initial copy takes a while of course but after that backups are fast.
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