Can I use external Hard Drives for my backup devices

Posted on 2005-03-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I would like to start using an external hard drive(s) as my backup device vice tape or cd.  However I would like for someone to recommend a cheap and or free version of backup software that will accomplish this for me.  I have tried to use the backup utility within XP but I cannot get the schedule utility to work as it should.  If someone thinks this program is sufficient, then fine.  Maybe I'm not doing something correctly.  thanks in advance.
Question by:GTKINC
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Expert Comment

ID: 13453634
I use RoboCopy from the Windows Server 2000/2003 Resource kit. You can set it up easily in a batch file and it is the fastest backuo method available. Since the resource kit is a free download, this is the cheapest solution you can get.  Here is how I have it setup. Create the two files below and edit as needed. Use AT or Task Scheduler to schedule the dobackup.bat script.

@echo off
echo Beginning Daily Backup job
::establish backup_scripts temporary environment variables
for /f "tokens=1-4 delims=/ " %%a in ('date/t') do (
set dow=%%a
set month=%%b
set day=%%c
set year=%%d
set LogName=c:\backup_scripts\log_%month%%day%%year%.txt
c:\backup_scripts\robocopy e:\ \\workstation\backup\backup /e /XD catalog.wci WUTemp "Program Files" /w:2 /r:2 /NFL /NDL /LOG+:%LogName%
sendmail -t my@emailaddress.com -f my@emailaddress.com -s "Daily Backup Report" -b %LogName%

'Option Explicit
   'On Error Resume Next
   Dim objSendMail, oArgs, ArgNum
   Dim strTo, strFrom, strSubject, strBody
   Set oArgs = WScript.Arguments
   ArgNum = 0
   While ArgNum < oArgs.Count
      Select Case LCase(oArgs(ArgNum))
         Case "-to","-t":
            ArgNum = ArgNum + 1
            strTo = oArgs(ArgNum)
         Case "-from","-f":
            ArgNum = ArgNum + 1
            strFrom = oArgs(ArgNum)
         Case "-subject","-s":
            ArgNum = ArgNum + 1
            strSubject = oArgs(ArgNum)
         Case "-body","-b":
            ArgNum = ArgNum + 1
            strBody = oArgs(ArgNum)
         Case "-help","-?":
            Call DisplayUsage
         Case Else:
            Call DisplayUsage
      End Select
      ArgNum = ArgNum + 1
dim filesys, text, readfile, contents
set filesys = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
set readfile = filesys.OpenTextFile(strBody, 1, false)
contents = readfile.Read(10000)
strBody = contents
' WScript.Echo strbody
   If oArgs.Count=0 Or strTo="" Or strFrom="" Or _
         strSubject="" Or strBody="" Then
      Call DisplayUsage
 Set objMessage = CreateObject("CDO.Message")
 objMessage.Subject = strSubject
 objMessage.Sender = "kerryg@brm-corp.com"
 objMessage.To = strTo
 objMessage.TextBody = strBody

   End If
   ' Display the usage for this script
   Sub DisplayUsage
      WScript.Echo "Usage:"
      WScript.Echo "  sendmail -t <to address> -f <from address> -s " & _
         Chr(34) & "<subject>" & Chr(34) & " -b " & Chr(34) & _
         "<message body>" & Chr(34)
      WScript.Echo "  sendmail [-help|-?]"
      WScript.Echo ""
   End Sub
LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 13453720
I would recommend using external SATA drives like these from addonics,


A few choices here but these units are dual purpose.  They can be used as external drive or you can use them with a drive cradle that mounts in a 5.25 bay.  Combined with the addonics SATA controllers you can get full hot swap SATA.  This will give you all the performance of an internal drive for the external unit.

Cost is not much different than a USB external unit and better quality and performance.  

Anyway back to your question,

As for software,  it depends on what type of backup you want.  To get a full system backup or image you will have to buy a package.  I would recommend Acronis True Image,  not expensive and its easy to use.

If you are just backing up files you could use robocopy with a batch file.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 13453868
Yes you can..

we are using an External USB 2.0 160GB Drive..

you can use the native windows backup solution to do it....just save your backup to a file, and point it to your drive.

start-program-accessories-system tools-backup
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 13453905
Oh, sorry, didnt read properly.. scheduling works great, you can go and modify it after.. here is from the help file

You must have the Task Scheduler service running before you can schedule a backup. To do this, open the command prompt window and type net start schedule. You can also use Services in Computer Management to start, stop, and view the status of services.

You can change the settings of a scheduled backup job after you schedule it by clicking the Schedule Jobs tab and then clicking the backup icon that is displayed on the calendar.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 13453919
after you can go to your control pannel -> schedule task, and modify the schedule there directly.. it's easier..

Expert Comment

ID: 13454006
As far as program to use, other than NTBackuip, these may be useful:

Handy Backup 3.7



LVL 16

Accepted Solution

samccarthy earned 500 total points
ID: 13455689
If you want a cheap and easy solution......  Go to www.centered.com and download a copy of Second Copy 2000.  If you keep it, it will cost you $29.  It is easy to setup to backup any or all of your data by simple copies, exact copies or by syncronizing data.  You can schedule your backups easily with the wizard that sets up the jobs.

I currently backup all my data using this.  Once a day it backs up data from 3 machines and then every night it backs up all of that to my External Hard Drive.

Simple, Easy and Reliable.

Author Comment

ID: 13477460
Thanks all.  I tried all of the others.  For the price and ease of use, 2nd copy has my vote.  Thanks again.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

ID: 13482015
You are welcome

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