Dear FileSlinger™ clients, colleagues, and friends:
This week I want to talk a bit about my new favorite program for making scheduled file backups. It’s called Karen’s Replicator and I’m now using it in place of RapidBackup to make sure that my most important files are backed up to my external hard drive at least once a day.
Why did I switch?
I had two problems with RapidBackup, though it was and is a useful tool. The first is that it backs up every file in a directory—you can’t tell it just to back up a certain file or files with a certain extension. So you can end up backing up more files than you need when it comes to things like Quicken data.
The second problem is that RapidBackup duplicates your directory structure exactly. What that means in human terms is that if your original file is in, say, the Quicken folder in the Program Files folder in the C drive, what RapidBackup will put onto the destination drive is a series of folders: C:\Program Files\Quicken. I had already set up my destination drive (X, for eXternal) with the folders X:\Data\Quicken, but there was no way to tell RapidBackup to put the files there.
With Karen’s Replicator, you can select the files you want copied (or exclude files you don’t) and you can select the directory you want them copied to. You can schedule the backups to run at particular times, and you can put a shortcut into your startup folder so that the program runs when you first turn your computer on, which is what I did. The first backup takes a while, but after that it only copies files which have been changed. (Which makes it a pretty handy tool for synchronizing between two computers, as well.)
It’s also easier to use than RapidBackup. And it’s free! You can download it from http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp. Karen also has a number of other handy tools, some of which may appeal to you.
Unfortunately, this is another Windows-only item. Any suggestions of good equivalents for Macs will be welcome.
Meanwhile, whatever method you use, make sure you protect your data. Drive failures cause enough misery without your losing the project you just completed.
Until next week,