Backing up my files

stir_fryiNovember 12, 2012

I am using Windows 7. I want to back up my My Documents folder and my My Pictures folder. Both have many sub-folders.

I tried doing it through Control Panel, Backup Your Computer -- I configured it to "backup files in libraries and personal folders". Anyhow, it was taking forever, kept asking me insert another CD, and was copying everything from C:\owner on. Don't really care to backup my desktop settings, downloads, contacts, etc... -- just My Documents and My Pictures.

Anyhow, so instead, I went to explorer and selected all the My Documents files and burned them to a CD. Fine, except it did not keep the directory structure.

What is the best way to do this? BTW, everything in My Documents did fit in a CD. All of my pictures do not so I was thinking of using a flashdrive for this.

In the future, I am thinking I should by an external hard drive and back up using the Windows backup function (c:\owner).

Appreciate any help. My last PC was a laptop that quit booting up one day so I really want to prepared if something happens.

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Remote hard drive probably is one of the best methods with windows making scheduled backups.

You could go to C:\users\YOURNAME\my documents .. or pictures folder .. and send those to DVD(about 4.5gb) or if small to a cd CD. Perhaps your DVD drive does DVD-RW read/write reuseable dvd discs.. might be nice.

8 or 16gb usb thumb drives are nice for personal file backups, but not really large enough for a system image of the whole drive. But you have to remember to make timely backups !!

Personally I prefer a 2nd internal hard drive for backups for a desktop.. much faster backups plus they are cheap for big so you can stick other stuff on them too.

,... or something I have learned to rely on...
I dont know how big your picture folder is.. but dropbox will work for an online back up easily. 2gb free and its all automated.. just install the program and tell it which folders you want listed with dropbox. Files and changes get copied to an online server/computer almost instantly.

If your computer dies or is stolen .. just install dropbox on your new computer with same account login/password .. like magic those files will download and reappear in the proper folders.

Here is a link that might be useful: DropBox 2gb free, (refferal link = .5gb additional free space)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:00PM
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I bought an external hard drive and just copied and pasted them to the HD. I bought an HP Simple Save.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:14PM
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So milkie -- if I used the Send To: Drive E command, will it keep the directory structure of My Documents or just dump the individual files on the CD? I don't want to waste a CD to find out!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:20PM
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It should send the folder and its exact contents if you send it from the user\name]\my documents ... and not the library ... look in it at that location to see what is there... then send it somewhere else.. perhaps make dir name C:\test send it there first to verify before you do the burn.

I certainly know what you mean about wasting a disc.. a stack of them sure disappears or goes away somewhere awful fast. But how often will you back them up and use more disc's ? A remote rewritable read/write something would be better in the long run .. usb drive or?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:09PM
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I used an external drive and it did not keep my directory. It backs up everything without the folders. I also tried dropbox and it did the same thing. I had to reorganize (didn't) everything again. Very time consuming.

I hope stir-fri doesn't think I'm hijacking this thread, but I ran into the same problem.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Some versions of windows, maybe its personal settings at set up.. i forget but.... sometimes what appears to the folders contained in Documents are not always actual folders containing files but are magical fake folders called 'Junctions' .
They work and act like a folder to us humans, but in actuality they are only special access links to the folder that contains the files which are elsewhere in a real folder.

I backed up my documents in vista or maybe xp a long time ago and learned that lesson.... did it right before a reinstall and lost all my pictures because I had forgotten ... Pictures folder in the documents was a junction(imaginary folder)... along with I think the music & videos too.

To properly know what is in Documents,, look in your c;\users path. Access will be denied to the junctions there which will have the shortcut arrow on the folders.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:23AM
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What is your opinion about buying an external drive on Craigslist? Doesn't seem like there is much to them to malfunction....

jane_ny -- that is exactly what I don't want to happen. I spent a lot of time creating a logical directory structure and want it reflected in the backup.

I agree that in Windows 7 it is difficult to tell what is a library and what is an actual folder.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:33AM
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When I back up my personal stuff on my external hard drive they stay the way I organized them. My music and pictures are in sub folders and they always stay that way. Maybe I am not understanding the problem.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:10AM
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If I valued my files enough to back them up, I wouldn't trust them to a hard drive I bought on Craigslist. External hard drives are relatively cheap. Take a look at the prices and reviews on Amazon and go with something reliable.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 2:28PM
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I gave up on backing up to CDs because they are easily damaged and are prone to read/write errors. I back up to an external. Set it and forget it.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 8:50PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Have you considered just doing an image backup? I think it is the best way to have everything exactly as it is and can be used to easily restore your entire windows system, OS, files, drivers, software, everything. Plus there are very good free programs.

I agree with an external hard drive, I would not buy one used or refurbished, they have dropped in price so much.

Do some searching online for good deals, right now approaching black Friday the deals will be abundant.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:44PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

In fact right now on one sale a day they have a whole selection of external hard drives in their flash sale section.
You might have to log in to see the flash sale. I buy from there often.

Here is a link that might be useful: One sale a day

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 11:49PM
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