How many digital pictures do you have? How about digital home video? How devastated would you be if you lost them all? You say you have them all saved on CD/DVD? Did you know that burned CDs only last 7-10 years at best? your best option is to have all of your important data in AT LEAST two places. On quality hard drives. I prefer Western Digital. A great option for an external USB hard drive is this one. I’m going to show you how to create an automatic backup for your data.

Once you have connected your external hard drive and Windows recognizes it, Windows will assign a drive letter. Click on your start menu and click on Computer. Now right click in the blank space and click mouse over “new.” Then click “Text Document.” This will create a file called, “New Text Document.txt.” If yours only says New Text Document without the .txt, you need to go to the control panel and click folder options, then go to the view tab, and uncheck the box that says, “Hide extensions for known file types.” Don’t worry about the name for right now. Double click the new document and it will open up for editing. Copy and paste the following text into the document:

:: dobackup.bat
@echo off
:: script to backup files with archive attribute set
::
:: work inside %systemdrive%\backup
%systemdrive%
cd \
md backup >nul 2>&1
cd backup
::
:: authenticate to the target
:: net use \\<targetname>\<sharename> /user:<username> <password>
::
:: setup a variable containing the date for later use
For /f "tokens=2-4 delims=/ " %%a in ('echo %date%') do (set _BUDATE=%%c-%%a-%%b)
::
:: use variables to set the source and destination paths
::   where we copy from
SET _SXCPATH="C:\My Path"
::
::   where we copy to
SET _DXCPATH="T:\My detsination"
::
:: make sure the destination directory exists
md %_DXCPATH% >nul 2>&1
::
:: do xcopy(s)
xcopy /c /e /y /m %_SXCPATH%\*.* %_DXCPATH%\ 1>> %systemdrive%\backup\%_BUDATE%-backup.log 2>&1

If you go to where your pictures are save on your computer and click in the small area at the top of the window, the text will change from looking like this: Computer>(C:)>Users>YOUR PC NAME>My Pictures to looking more like this: C:\Users\YOUR PC NAME\Pictures. Highlight that text and right click on it. Then click copy. Go back to your new text document and highlight C:\My Path in the the line that says: SET _SXCPATH=”C:\My Path”. Right click on it and click paste. Be sure to leave the quotation marks.

Now open up your new external hard drive. Create a new folder and name it your name. Open that folder and create another folder and name it My Pictures. Highlight the area at the top of the Window, right click on  it and click copy. Go back to the new text document  and highlight C:\My Destination in the line that says: SET _DXCPATH=”T:\My detsination” right click on the highlight and click paste. Close and save the document.

Now right click on the document and click rename. Rename the file: backup pictures.bat or backup documents.bat or whatever it is you want this back up to do. NOTE: you will get a message that says, “If you change a file extension, the file may become unusable.” Click OK.

That was the hard part. Next click on your start menu. Then click All Programs, Accessories, System Tools Task Scheduler.  On the right side click Create task. On the General tab, give the task a name. Like, back up pictures or documents or whatever will let you know what it is you want the task to do. Now click the trigger tab. Then click “New.” Here you will decide when and how often you want your back up to run. I like mine to run every day.So, click “Daily” and set a time that you know the machine will be on then click OK. Next click the Actions tab, then click “New.” Now click “Browse.” Find the location where you created the file. It should be on the C: drive. Highlight it and click Open. Now Click OK.

That’s it, you’re done. Every day at the time you selected your data will be automatically backed up. This will also automatically create a new folder on your C: drive called “Backup” you should periodically check in there. You will see logs for every time the back up runs. Double click on the recent entries and verify there were no errors.

Keep in mind that Widows will keep track of files that haven’t changed and won’t back those up again.

If you have set up your home network, it is a great idea to use that as your back up location. If you have set up Plex, you can configure your Photo Library to include the location where you are backing up your photos and stream them to your TV whenever you want. Your data is priceless. Keep it safe.

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