by Mike Shea on 25 July 2006
I received this note from someone with a lot of experience using xxcopy in real world environments. I am reprinting it here with his permission:
I am an IT Administrator for a multi-location automotive company and we use XXCOPY extensively, which led me to use it for home use to do almost exactly what you're doing. I've found so far that I haven't really needed incremental backups, so I do directory-level clones to my external drives, then just manual monthly full backups to DVD. I'm not really big on deleting files unless I'm certain that won't need it again, but if I did accidentally delete something, chances are good that it's on my last monthly DVD in my small Sentry fire safe.
I have many PC's in my home, but keep almost nothing except applications on the local drives, instead using a common Windows server for that. I map that server's data area as drive Z on all of my PC's. I use an "at" job to back up that Z drive to an external 250GB eSATA drive. I back up my documents, downloads, pictures, WoW mods, and website information using the /CLONE switch:
XXCOPY "z:\documents" "e:\z_backup\documents\" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "z:\download" "e:\z_backup\download\" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "z:\images" "e:\z_backup\images\" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "z:\wow gui and mods" "e:\z_backup\wow gui and mods\" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "z:\website""e:\z_backup\website\" /CLONE /YY
For current storage limitation reasons, I do keep my ripped music on my C drive of my main box, so I back that up too:
XXCOPY "C:\music\cd*.flac" "e:\music\cd" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "C:\music\singles*.mp3" "e:\music\singles"/CLONE /YY
Then I back up some miscellaneous stuff on my main box like my GAIM buddy list, my Warcraft addons directory and WTF directory where all the configuration is (I could live with re-installing the client, I just want my settings safe), and my full Firefox and Thunderbird profiles:
XXCOPY "C:\Documents and Settings\Brian\Application Data.gaim" "e:\z_backup\settings\dotgaim\" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Interface\AddOns" "e:\z_backup\settings\WoW_AddOns\" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\WTF" "e:\z_backup\settings\WoW_WTF\" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "C:\Documents and Settings\Brian\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles""e:\z_backup\settings\Firefox_Profile" /CLONE /YY
XXCOPY "C:\Documents and Settings\Brian\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles" "e:\z_backup\settings\Thunderbird_Profile" /CLONE /YY
I then duplicate all of that except the music to a 1 GB flash drive that is almost always on my person when I'm not home, and then the monthly DVD backup.
I've been in the IT industry for 12 years, and have seen every kind of backup failure you can imagine. Like you, I have come to the conclusion that non-proprietary, multi-device, multi-location backup is the only way to be safe. XXCOPY simply copies files. It doesn't make some giant image file or encrypt the data as it copies. You control it with simple command line arguments. It doesn't care if the destination is the same drive, a different drive, a hard drive, a flash drive, or some kind of drive not yet invented. It just works, every time, as quietly or as verbosely as you want.
I've switched to using the following commands to do daily backups:
xxcopy /CLONE /YY /V2 "c:\My Documents" "N:\My Documents"
and these for weekly backups:
xxcopy /BACKUP /V2 /YY "c:\My Documents" "N:\My Documents Weekly Backup"
and these for monthly bare-metal rewrites:
xxcopy /E /YY /Z /V2 "c:\My Documents" "N:\My Documents" xxcopy /BACKUP /V2 /YY "c:\My Documents" "N:\My Documents Monthly Backup"
This does daily cloning, weekly incremental backups, and monthly bare-metal rewrites with a monthly incremental backup.