Simple Backup V.1.5
Program Version 1.5, March 19, 2012
Simple Backup is a software program to backup files to write formatted Cd-R, Cd-RW, or any other writable removable disk. Recently I have only been using it to backup files to USB sticks other removable USB media. This media is more dependable than writable CDs.
I use this program everyday, and since someone else might find it useful it is posted online here. A caveat. When you check a checkbox on the interface, the program backs up that folder (only files that are newer and have changed since the last backup).
The program does not build a database, but only checks the 'file date' and for this reason those files which might have been downloaded, and which have kept a date from years ago (when they first created) will not be backed up by the program. For this reason I have created a small utility 'Compare Folders' which scans the folders on two computers and keeps a record of which files are missing and then copies them to a USB drive, in order to bring the contents of the two folders into agreement.
The Simple Backup program is fairly stable for the most part, although it does crash and need restarting from time to time. I am starting to think that this behavior is caused by the disk being busy after one folder has been backed up, and then suddenly another folder is being backed up and disks are being read, and this sort of ties the computer 'in knots' and causes a crash. For this reason I wait for disk activity to cease before moving on to backup another folder and this does seem to help.
I have recently changed the program by adding a SYNC button, which is very useful to me, for it allows me to synchronize files between a lap top and a desktop. The way the button works is that if a file in the backup from one computer is newer than the existing file on the other computer, it replaces the file, otherwise it does not. This prevents me from manually syncing up files, which then forces me to check dates and answer interminable questions about whether or not I want to replace this file with that file, and so on. By checking the 'Delete Backup Files' checkbox, the program will clear the backup files off the backup drive after it finishes copying them to the target drive.
The program creates a file with the extension '.rni' for this purpose (an example would be PENDRIVE.rni, where 'PENDRIVE' is the 'volume name' associated with a USB stick). The format of a line within this file is as follows:
The drive 'Y' is the USB stick, and D would be target drive on the computer. The backup program creates a folder E (which is the source drive on the computer where the backup was originally performed). When 'D:\scilab' is checked (the associated checkbox), the computer then moves all the files located in the folder E\scilab on the USB stick into the folder D:\scilab on the target machine (first checking the dates and only replacing files on the target machine if the file on the USB stick is newer). In this way I can keep the files on two machines in sync, without worrying about overwriting newer files with older files. The folder structure on the source and target devices must be the same (E:\scilab was the source and D:\scilab was the target).
The program does include a 'Read Sync' button which reads an 'ini' back up file created on another computer (example PENDRIVE.ini) to allow a user to add the target sync directory (after the question mark '?' in the rni file), but I usually just manually type in the entries and then save the text file with the extension 'rni' (example PENDRIVE.rni). This textfile must be saved in the same directory as the SimpleBackup program executable file.
An example of an RNI file would look something like this:
Y:\E\delphi examples?F:\delphi examples
The folder on the left of the question mark is the directory structure on the backup USB stick, and the folder after the question mark on the right side is the target drive on the computer where these files will be written (if the file on the USB stick is newer than the file on the target computer).
The first step in using the program is to choose the drive containing your writable disk by pressing the Question Mark button next to the Edit box in the upper left corner of the program interface. The volume label of the disk will then be displayed in the box just below the drive letter box. When you format your disks be sure to give the disk a unique volume name, as the program expects a value for the volume name to be displayed in this location, and remembers the data to be saved to each disk.
Folders or Files that you wish to backup are added to the grid area by using the appropriate buttons (Add File or Add Folder). When you have selected the item, a Calendar Window will appear where you choose the initial cut off date for the backed up files. This function could be useful if you have already used other methods to backup these files and want to avoid duplication. On the Calendar Window you will see a small question mark button beside the Time setting location. Pressing this button and choosing any file will set the time for the backup to the time of the file you selected. Only files which are newer than this date and time will be backed up. Choosing the 'All File Times' button on the Calendar window will set the time to Zero and all files in the folder will be backed up the first time you backup this folder. During subsequent backup operations only files that have changed since the first time you backed up this folder will then be backed up.
Items are added to the grid area with checkboxes. When you press the Backup button to begin the file saving operation, only those files or folders with checkmarks will be scanned and copied if required. The time of the last backup is displayed in the second column in human friendly format, and the time, as understood by a computer, is displayed in the third column (under the heading 'Float'). The database for this program is therefore included in the program interface.
Since writable removable disks can fail, causing a lost backup, you may wish to double backup. For this purpose, an Import and an Export feature are available. If you insert a newly formatted disk which the program has not seen before, you can assign the same data set to the disk by using the import function and choosing the INI file with the same name as the volume name of the disk you want to emulate. Similarly, if you have a disk present and you want to export the program information to a second disk, you can use the export function, making sure that the name you give to the exported INI file is going to be the same name you give to your backup disk as a Volume label when you format the disk.
The remaining free space on the disk is displayed as Bytes, Kilobytes, and Megabytes during the backup process. If the disk becomes full you will be prompted for a new formatted disk (or you will be given the option to cancel).
You can cancel the backup operation by pressing the 'Stop' button.
If you RIGHT CLICK on a selected highlighted item in the grid area (using the right side mouse button instead of the usual left button) you will bring up a pop up menu. The options are to change the time and date of the item, to change all items to the time and the date of the selected item, or to delete the selected item.
The 'Link' button allows you to add shortcuts to this program on your computer.
The 'Font' button allows you to change the Font of the display list.
The Resources button allows you to monitor the amount of free memory and resources on your computer. If there is little memory or resources available the backup operation can fail, and you can try closing some other application to free up the memory and resources the program may need to function properly.
The software button will take you to the Software home page on the Internet where you can check for program updates or new programs that may be available.
The EXCLUDE functions allow you to exclude certain files from the backup. To exclude file types, type the extension into the File Extension Box. For example, to exclude files that end with '.exe' you would enter '.exe' into the box, and then press the checkmark button to save the extension on the drop down list. If you wish to remove an item from the list, select the item from the drop down menu, and then press the X button to remove the item. The Pattern function excludes files where a certain pattern of characters is found. For example, backup files often have an extension that includes the '~' character, so entering '~' into the pattern box, and pressing the checkmark button, will exclude any file which includes '~' in the filename specification. You can also use wildcards to exclude certain files (for example '*.pdf' would exclude all files ending in 'pdf' (the asterik is a wildcard character indicating any number of characters). 'br*.txt' would exclude all files beginning with 'br' and ending with the extension 'txt'. The question mark character is a single character wildcard. So then blah?.txt would exclude all files that match 'blah' with any other character in the fifth position, that also end with 'txt'.
When the Backup button is pressed the selected folders will be scanned, and then the files which are newer than the last backup date (as displayed on the program interface) will be copied to your backup media. If you press the STOP button, the program will continue until the current folder is complete, then update the interface with the new date, and the operation will cease. If you wish to abort the current folder, you can force the program to stop by pressing the ABORT button which will appear on the Progress Window that comes up while files are being backed up. If you Abort in the middle of a folder copy operation, the interface date will not be updated, and the program will need to recopy the files in this folder the next time you attempt to backup this folder.
Files and Folders are saved to the backup disk preserving the folder structure of the source disk, with the first (or root) folder being named after the source disk. So then a file such as 'C:\My Documents\Expenses\Holiday.txt' would be saved on the backup disk in a root folder named 'C' (as 'C\My Documents\Expenses\Holiday.txt').
If the size of the files to be copied exceeds the free space available on the backup media, a message informing you of this fact will appear, and you will be notified that you need a certain number of formatted disks ready to be inserted when prompted to do so by the program. Some CD writing software incorrectly reports the amount of free space available, and so while the program may ask you to have one disk ready, because of this inaccuracy, you might actually need one disk, and then a second disk for the little bit of spill over that occurs because of this reporting error by the system.
When the backup is complete, the message bar will display a message, along with the total number of newer files found that were backed up, and the time and dates of the items backed up will be updated.
Home page on the Internet
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