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Four ways to automatically backup your hard drive

Four ways to automatically backup your hard drive

There are many pieces of software that are available to help you backup your hard drive. However in my opinion, the simplest and most customizable way of backing up your hard drive is to do so with a homemade script. I will show you how to create a very simple script that will backup your entire hard drive on the first run. With each successive run of the script, it will only backup the files that have been modified. I will show you how to set it up so that you can backup your hard drive automatically without interrupting your work flow and without hampering any productivity. No longer will you unnecessarily lose any files again! I will show you how to do the following:

  • 1. Backup your hard drive on startup without using any extra software
  • 2. Backup your hard drive at scheduled intervals using AutomaticDailyBackup.bat
  • 3. Backup your hard drive at scheduled intervals using Windows Task Scheduler
  • 4. With the use of Xecutor, backup only the files you’ve changed on shutdown

This tutorial is demonstrated using Windows XP, however it will extend equally well into Windows Vista.

The first step is to create the backup script. The script is very short and very easy to create. First, open Notepad (Start >> All Programs >> Accessories >> Notepad) and copy and paste the following text into your Notepad file:

cd c:\
xcopy c: e:\AutomaticDailyBackup /s /e /t /h /D

Make sure that you copy the text onto two separate lines exactly as it is shown above. Also, please note that this script will backup your hard drive to an external location at e:\. If your external hard drive is located at another location, you will want to change the e:\ to a letter that corresponds to your specific external hard drive. Also, if you do not have a folder called “AutomaticDailyBackup” (I’m betting you won’t) in your e:\ drive you should create the folder manually.

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Save your Notepad file with the name “AutomaticDailyBackup.bat” it is very important to include the “.bat” at the end of the file so Windows knows that it is a script and not just a plain-Jane text file. Additionally, please make sure you save the file to C:\. You can now close Notepad and you should have the file C:\AutomaticDailybackup.bat. This is shown below:

20070313-backup.JPG

    This script file will be used by three of the four methods of backing up your hard drive that are shown below.

    1. Backup your hard drive on startup without using any extra software

    This is probably the quickest and easiest way to backup your hard drive. Right-click on your AutomaticDailyBackup.bat file and select “Create Shortcut.” After you have created the shortcut, move it to Start >> All Programs >> Startup and your hard drive will get automatically backed up every time you log in. These two steps are shown below:

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    20070313-backup1.JPG

      20070313-backup2.JPG

        In order to prevent this file from interrupting your work flow when it is backing up your hard drive, right-click on the shortcut in your “Startup” folder and choose “Properties.” In the “Properties” dialog, change “Run Normal” to “Minimized” and click “OK.”

        2. Backup your hard drive at scheduled intervals using AutomaticDailyBackup.bat

        The second way to backup your hard drive is to schedule an automatic backup using Windows Task Scheduler. First, you need to open Task Scheduler (Start >> Control Panel >> Performance and Maintenance >> Scheduled Tasks).

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        Once you launch Windows Task Scheduler, click “Add Scheduled Task” and then click “Next.” On the “Click the program you want Windows to run” selection screen, click “Browse…” and choose C:\AutomaticDailyBackup.bat and click “OK”.

        20070313-backup3.JPG

          Choose the frequency you would like the task to run (I chose weekly) and click “Next.” Select the day and time you would like the task to run and click “Next.” Enter your password (if you have one), click “Next” and then click “Finish.” Your scheduled task is all set and it will execute itself automatically at the day and time you chose. If you would like to backup your hard drive more frequently (for example, two or three times per week) create several tasks identical to what is shown above and set them to run on different days of the week.

          3. Backup your hard drive at scheduled intervals using Windows Task Scheduler

          You probably noticed that Windows Task Scheduler has a backup utility built right into it. I prefer to use the AutomaticDailyBackup file to backup the hard drive because it has a finer-grained control of the backup process. However, if you prefer, simply select “Backup” (shown below) and Windows Task Scheduler will automatically control your backup.

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          20070313-backup4.JPG

            4. Backup your hard drive on shutdown

            In order to backup your hard drive on shutdown, you need to download Xecutor. Xecutor is a free download that you can download from the Xecutor homepage. Once you install Xecutor and run it for the first time, it will ask you if you want to run Xecutor on Startup — choose “Yes.”

            Next, select the “Shutdown” tab and then the green plus sign. On the properties screen, navigate to C:\AutomaticDailyBackup.bat and click “OK” (don’t worry about changing any other settings). You should see the following:

            20070313-backup5.JPG

              Now when you shutdown Windows, Xecutor will automatically run the AutomaticDailyBackup script.

              Hopefully you found at least one of the four ways to backup your hard drive useful. Coming from someone who lost everything on a hard drive without backing up, please don’t underestimate the importance of backing up your hard drive. If your hard drive crapped out right now, how much information (documents, music, pictures, videos, etc.) would you lose?

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              Last Updated on May 12, 2020

              8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times

              8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times

              Many of us find ourselves in motivational slumps that we have to work to get out of. Sometimes it’s like a continuous cycle where we are motivated for a period of time, fall out and then have to build things back up again.

              There is nothing more powerful for self-motivation than the right attitude. You can’t choose or control your circumstance, but you can choose your attitude towards your circumstances.

              How I see this working is while you’re developing these mental steps, and utilizing them regularly, self-motivation will come naturally when you need it.

              The key, for me, is hitting the final step to Share With Others. It can be somewhat addictive and self-motivating when you help others who are having trouble.

              A good way to have self motivation continuously is to implement something like these 8 steps from Ian McKenzie.[1] I enjoyed Ian’s article but thought it could use some definition when it comes to trying to build a continuous drive of motivation. Here is a new list on how to self motivate:

              1. Start Simple

              Keep motivators around your work area – things that give you that initial spark to get going.

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              These motivators will be the Triggers that remind you to get going.

              2. Keep Good Company

              Make more regular encounters with positive and motivated people. This could be as simple as IM chats with peers or a quick discussion with a friend who likes sharing ideas.

              Positive and motivated people are very different from the negative ones. They will help you grow and see opportunities during tough times.

              Here’re more reasons why you should avoid negative people: 10 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Negative People

              3. Keep Learning

              Read and try to take in everything you can. The more you learn, the more confident you become in starting projects.

              You can train yourself to crave lifelong learning with these tips: How to Develop a Lifelong Learning Habit

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              4. See the Good in Bad

              When encountering obstacles or challenging goals, you want to be in the habit of finding what works to get over them.

              Here are 10 tips to make positive thinking easy.

              5. Stop Thinking

              Just do. If you find motivation for a particular project lacking, try getting started on something else. Something trivial even, then you’ll develop the momentum to begin the more important stuff.

              When you’re thinking and worrying about it too much, you’re just wasting time. These tried worry busting techniques can help you.

              6. Know Yourself

              Keep notes on when your motivation sucks and when you feel like a superstar. There will be a pattern that, once you are aware of, you can work around and develop.

              Read for yourself how the magic of marking down your mood works.

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              7. Track Your Progress

              Keep a tally or a progress bar for ongoing projects. When you see something growing, you will always want to nurture it.

              Take a look at these 4 simple ways to track your progress so you have motivation to achieve your goals.

              8. Help Others

              Share your ideas and help friends get motivated. Seeing others do well will motivate you to do the same. Write about your success and get feedback from readers.

              Helping others actually helps yourself, here’s why.

              What I would hope happens here is you will gradually develop certain skills that become motivational habits.

              Once you get to the stage where you are regularly helping others keep motivated – be it with a blog or talking with peers – you’ll find the cycle continuing where each facet of staying motivated is refined and developed.

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              Too Many Steps?

              If you could only take one step? Just do it!

              Once you get started on something, you’ll almost always just get into it and keep going. There will be times when you have to do things you really don’t want to: that’s where the other steps and tips from other writers come in handy.

              However, the most important thing, that I think is worth repeating, is to just get started.

              Get that momentum going and then when you need to, take Ian’s Step 7 and Take A Break. No one wants to work all the time!

              More Tips for Boosting Motivation

              Featured photo credit: Japheth Mast via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Ian McKenzie: 8 mental steps to self-motivation

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