Back up data to 32GB flash drive

We want to backup our documents folder, photos, music, etc.
Some of our word and PDF documents are on the desktop. In the documents folder are large video files. We'd like to put everything but the videos on the thumb drive. How when they are mixed in with other types of documents?

I guess we could create a new folder and move all videos to that folder.
Suppose that was not an option then how would we do it without a new video folder?
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Open Windows Explorer and navigate to your Desktop.
Change the View to "Details".
You should see headers named Name, Date Modified, Type, Size, and sometimes other headers depending on what types of files are in the folder.
The default sort order is ascending 0-9 A-Z, and you should see this indicated by a little arrow in the "name" header.
Click on the "Type" header and it will group all the PDF, DOC/X, JPG, etc files together.
This makers it easier to select a group of files together at one time.  Click on the first one, hold the SHIFT key, and click on the last one.
You now have the option to Right-Click > Copy all the selected files, then navigate away to another folder and do a Right-Click > Paste, or drag the selected files and drop them in another folder.

For COPYING files I recommend dragging with the RIGHT mouse button held down.  When you release the Right mouse button after reaching your destination folder you will have the option of COPY HERE or MOVE HERE.  You would choose COPY HERE.
Dragging and dropping with the LEFT mouse button will usually MOVE the files, which you do not want to do if you are creating backup copies.

Remember that Ctrl + C keys copy, Ctrl + V keys paste, and Ctrl + Z will UNDO the last action, whether it is a file move or copy.
Another thing to remember is that when deleting from a removeable drive the deleted files bypass the Recycle Bin, so be careful.

Remember to set your sort order back to the default of ascending on the NAME column in Windows Explorer before doing the same with files in other folders.

I would suggest that before you start creating copies in new folders on your USB Flash Drive you roughly determine whether all the files you want copied onto it will fit.  Select multiple files then Right-Click > Properties.  32GB might get eaten up quite quickly if you are copying a very large quantity of large PDF files and Office documents to it.

If there is a possibility that you have files in different folders with the same file names, then you would obviously want to copy them to separate folders on your Flash Drive, otherwise you are going to encounter an "Overwrite - Yes / No" prompt if you try and copy all the files to the root of the drive.

I would personally use a scripted solution for what you want to do.  There are several different commands that could be used, for example COPY, XCOPY, MOVE, and so on, but for your purposes I would tend to suggest a simple "backup" or "sync" program with a user interface that allows you to create different "jobs" that can be run again at any future time.  It is quite easy to make an error in a typed command or in a Windows batch file and overwrite or delete files.  Other experts might be able to suggest some simple programs.  I haven't used such a program for a very long time now.
If you created a list of video file extensions in a text file, you could use XCOPY with the /EXCLUDE switch
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I suggest for large videos, you use a USB Hard drive. These are inexpensive and they are much larger capacity.
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Andrew PannelliStudentCommented:
Like John said above, use a USB Hard Drive. You can pick one up at Wal-Mart with 1TB or more, usually for less than $100. You can do a couple of things with that. You could leave it plugged in all the time and set up a back-up of various types depending on what you want to do, or, what sounds like would be more up you alley, just drag and drop whatever files and folders you want to save to it. One of the easiest ways to do this, is to open two File Explorer windows, side by side. One of them should be open to the Hard Drive you have bought, the other should be whatever folder that has stuff in it you want to save. So, open it to the Desktop, whatever files you don't want, just ignore. Left click and hold a file, and while holding it, just drag it over to the other window. Done.
Of course, you could do this with the USB thumb drive you already have if you don't have much, but the Hard Drive is much more reliable, and just as portable. Also, you would be able to save those large video files you talked about.
If you have old files on the thumb drive you do not want to save, you can format it. This will PERMANENTLY erase everything on it. Just right click on the drive, select Format, give it a new name, and 30 secs later, you have a nice clean drive to start from. Then go on about your way of dragging and dropping the files you want to save.
Jason CarsonFreelance Computer TechnicianCommented:
It's fine to have video, .pdf, .doc or whatever files you want all in the same directory.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
There is no file management issue with external drives. Keep files in the folders that make sense to you.
First, I'd move the documents off the desktop.  If you'd like to maintain ready accessibility to them, drag them back as shortcuts.

I'd second Aikimark's comment about XCopy and /exclude, but I'd suggest Robocopy instead.

I've used SyncBack (from to do this sort of thing before.  It fits with BillDL's suggestion about using a program with a GUI that allows you to define different backup/sync jobs.
Wells AndersonCEOCommented:
I believe you need a good software program to back up your files, one that is flexible enough to meet your requirements and keep your files safe.

Windows 10 has a backup feature called "File History," but it won't let you exclude files, such as video files, by type of file.

Since you want to back up your files - a wise thing to do regularly! - you need a backup program that will run automatically on a schedule.

I like and have used SyncBack from for years, but it is quite geeky. If you like to geek out, buy SyncBackSE (a paid program). I recommend that over SyncBack Free. SyncBack Free is excellent and will do what you describe (it can exclude video files), but it doesn't retain copies of versions or deleted files. That's important in case someone deletes a file by mistake or overwrites one. The SE edition can keep versions.

You might like Synkron, an open source (free) program that is simpler than SyncBack and yet does save file versions and deleted files. It has a scheduler, unlike FreeFileSync, another popular freeware program.

By the way, congratulation on accumulating more than 1,000,000 point with your Questions and Answers on Experts Exchange, nickg5!

You can start by excluding .AVI, .MP4, and .WMV files. That may cover most or all of your video files. Also bear in mind that ransomware can lock up your flash drive, so it is best to have at least two (they're only $10 or so) and rotate them regularly. A cloud backup is another great defense.
nickg5Author Commented:
The backup was to save data before running a Chkdsk which was suggested by a Lenovo observer after a test scan found a possible issue.
My system has an empty second hard drive. Could data be moved to there before the Chkdsk or would the rizk from Chkdsk put risk on all data on both HD's?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Yes you could move the data to the empty drive . Run CHKDSK (read only) and check it first
nickg5Author Commented:
Also this pc has a Lenovo back up system. I'll look into that.  John first mentioned external hard drive. Bill's idea may be the easiest. Others gave other options for the future.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks for the update and I was happy to help
Thank you Nick
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