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Media Rotation with Windows 7 pro native backup program

Posted on 2014-03-24
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Last Modified: 2014-04-23
Hi
This is really frustrating.
Prior to Windows 7 we were able to give a user two drives, setup a schedule to backup some folders and use two drives to rotate the storage.

This appears not to work in Windows 7. I have goggled and seen statements saying as such but no real reason why not.

So.
1. Does Windows 7 support rotating media for partial backups (IE a few folders and files)
2. If not, why not and how should this be achieved in Windows 7

Thanks for your help in advance.

Regards
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Question by:TrevorWhite
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Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 39951768
If all that you want to do is to back up data files and can count on them not being in use, you could accomplish this with CMD files using xcopy or robocopy.  I've used SyncBack (free edition) from 2BrightSparks.com frequently for backups, too.
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Author Comment

by:TrevorWhite
ID: 39951785
Hi CompProbSolv

Well I'd like to get the position clarified really (yes I do need a solution but having to use third party software for this sort of thing is frankly ridiculous - your own practice respected of course!!)

Can you confirm that native W7 backup will not support media rotation???
Do you know why not if not???

Does Syncback support media rotation ???

I know simple backup is straight forward, its the disk rotation issue that seams to have been dripped in W7.

REgards
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Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 39951833
I've not used Win 7 backup enough to be able to answer the question about media rotation.  I'm hoping someone else here with better authority can do so.

What are you hoping for with media rotation?  For example, with SyncBack (or xcopy or whatever), if you are just wanting a single backup, then you can delete the prior backup immediately before performing the new one.

My preferred method is keeping a history of backups, based on disk space.  Let's say that I want to keep 5 backups.  The backup process starts with deleting backup 5 (typically a folder named 05), then renaming 04 to 05, 03 to 04, etc.  The new backup goes to a folder named LastBackup (which gets renamed 00 the next time a backup is made).  The backup is then made to the LastBackup folder.

The start of the CMD file to run this creates the base folder (I usually use \SyncBack)) into which all of the backups are made.  If you install a new external drive, it starts a new series of backups.  If you swap out drives, it will just continue with the process.
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Author Comment

by:TrevorWhite
ID: 39951849
Hi
Media rotation achieves many things.
1. Spreads the duty cycle across multiple devices
2. If you have a minimum of 3 then offsite storage can be achieved easily, you have to think about why this needs to be 3 rather than just 2.
3. If you do full backups you get a second chance to restore a file.

Backups aren't truly backups until they are part of a media management process where the offline media is separated from the device being backed up. This for DR reasons like flood, theft, fire, etc Fixed drives that are always connected to the PC are just data copies not really backups for business DR or just data recovery purposes.

Hope that helps you, but I'd still like to know about the W7pro position of all of this

Cheers
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Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Davis earned 500 total points
ID: 39951985
From what i have read, it would appear that it is not available in win 7 as you are reporting.

Why? Ask microsoft. But i suspect there answer will be somewhere along the lines that the Backup solution that they bundle is a basic minimal needs solution. If you desire a solution with enhanced/advanced features, then i would suggest that you look at a commercial offering.

with regards to the robocopy/xcopy/whatever copy solution. This is fine but you must understand that it is NOT just a data copy (onsite or offsite). It is a very weak DR plan. Imagine this, you go to open a file and find that it has been corrupted. The corruption happened 2 weeks ago. Now all your backup drives have is copies of a corrupted file.
What you need out of your DR plan is multiple restore points. Eg points in time that you can restore from.

What you could do is use the inbuilt backup to create Incremental backups to a master backup drive. The Master is the only drive it ever backs up to so win7 backup is happy, and with incrementals you have PIT (Point In Time) restore points. Then use robocopy or the like to get a copy of the master onto your drives that you are rotating.

All that said, if your data is critical then i would suggest that you invest in commercial DR software. My suggestion would be Storagecraft shadow protect.

Cheers
Andrew
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Expert Comment

by:CompProbSolv
ID: 39952362
No argument here with the basic points suggested.

With the xcopy/whatever approach you do have the ability to keep as old of a backup as you  wish, depending on external disk space.  A more expensive solution will do a much more efficient job of keeping old backups, though.  My approach works well where inexpensive external drives (2T or 3T) will hold as many backups as you would ever want.

It is correct that the simpler approach does not manage incremental backups well at all.

I usually recommend at least two external drives, rotated on a regular basis.  That allows one to be offsite and protected from a number of possible failures.
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Author Closing Comment

by:TrevorWhite
ID: 40018400
Hi
Although this does not answer the question posed it does provide a solution, which I guess is what I and any one reading this would want.

Thanks Andrew for thinking out of the box. I'll look at Stagecraft but if this is anywhere near expensive then my smaller clients will not bite.

Thanks
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