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I have a number of non-technical users on vista laptops that need to have their files backed up. We have a central NAS device on the office network, which would be the best place to store files, but what is the best way to configure and schedule the backups?

The Vista built-in backup software software doesn't seems to offer any way to specifiy what should be backed up, it just grabs all "data" files on the computer, so it is not suitable.

I havn't been able to find any backup software that will work properly with a NAS device - almost everything that would otherwise be suitable requires a server component, and a few I tested with a windows server component using the NAS as storage did not function reliably.

What solutions exist that can be given a list of folders on a local machine and periodically (according to a schedule) perform a one-way synch of the data to a shared folder? It seems like a very simple thing to do, but I'm having a lot of trouble finding a solution that will work.

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It's funny you should mention this - I just wrote a complete multi-site, multi-store, automated and scheduled, AD integrated, multi-domain SID user-profile aware, PC backup system. I'd let you have it but it's extensively customized for the my current client and would take an age to generalize. Doesn't help much,sorry :) You could go the super-simple route - scheduled tasks and robocopy? –  Izzy Jul 8 '09 at 5:01
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3 Answers

If you don't mind home-brewing a solution, and like free (I'm sure others will contribute packaged software that will do the trick), this would be pretty easy to script with Robocopy (which is included with Vista), and schedule it to run with Task Scheduler.

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If you want files to be synchronized SyncbackSE from 2brightsparks may do the job. For a copy-backup Cobian Backup may suit your needs. By the way there's always Robocopy as said before.

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Are you in a domain? If so use a group policy to redirect users My Documents to the NAS and then make them available offline so users still have access to them on the road.

If it has to be local then there are a number of synchronisation tools available. However experience suggests that users either forget to run them or, if they run automatically, interrupt them because they can't be bothered to wait. Robocopy is widely used, though my own favourite is (of course ) the one I wrote myself at http://ratsauce.sourceforge.net/index.html#reconcile.

JR

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