How to create a backup script using Robocopy

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The major flaw with Robocopy is that it is a command line tool. I really really hate command line tools, it’s sooo 80s and outdated in these smart phone ages. However I must admit that Robocopy really does a more than great job and I have come to love it. And then it’s free – I love free software.

Robocopy has always had an answer for a problem. Some guys at Microsoft made a graphical user interface for Robocopy, but it doesn’t give me the flexibility that I need. But if you feel like, you can have a look at them. The link is provided in the bottom of this article. In the end they use the same command line tool.

Instead of spending a lot of time figuring out the syntax parameters you can use my commands.

Personally I use Robocopy to take local backups, but I don’t stop there. I also do online backups, and Livedrive.com  has excellent performance, low cost and most important UNLIMITED Gigabyts – I love unlimited. And they don’t take ownership of the files.

I use Robocopy in combination with with online backup. I centralize a backup, from the various storage locations I have (NAS, data drives, system

drive) and that backup I include in my Livedrive backup plan.

Anyway, one of the primary reasons for using Robocopy, rather than many other free backup products out there, is that it does a mirror backup. This means that it will make anything from the source directory to be reflected exactly in the destination directory.

Just be sure not to switch around the source and destination. If you feel that your hand is shaking, start practicing with test directories. A mirror backup with the source and destination switched around with erase your data faster, than you can spell ‘Oh Nooooo!’. This is not specific for Robocopy, it’s the nature (and point!) of a mirror copy tool.

The backup strategy

This is a basic backup strategy that you can modify for your exact needs. The  plan is this:

  1. Copy all necessary data from desktop computer to an external hard drive
  2. Copy all user settings from Windows to an external hard drive
  3. Copy all necessary data from a NAS to an external hard drive.

Command for step 1:

robocopy C:\Data T:\DesktopPC\C-Drive /MIR /XA:H /W:0 /R:1 /REG > C:\externalbackup.log

And the parameters explained for the nerds:

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