I was asked to implement the task of backing up 35 PST files ranging from 800Mb to 2000Mb. Windows XP and Windows 2000 workstations are assigned to the users and we have a Windows 2000 domain controller we use to back up files on 3x 500Gb external hard drives.

I found several methods from applications to scripts. Local or remote applications would be my last resort. I came across this script based on Volume Shadow Copy Service.


I wanted to know if there would be a problem if the path had spaces. Would mounting the destination path of each PST folder with a drive letter be more practical? My concern with mounting option is that i would eventually run out of letters since I have 35 and possibly more workstations to back up.

Lastly, can someone give me an example of CopyWithVss if it were run on a production network? The script is a bit cryptic even after reading several times. Where in the script do I enter the source and the destination?

I'm a Mac user so please excuse my ignorance with Windows platform.


In scanning this batch file it looks like spaces shouldn't be a problem. It also looks like yhou will have to map the destination as this will run on the local workstations. Since it runs locally you can map all of your workstations to the same driveletter. I am hoping that these PST files are from POP or IMAP servers, if they are connected to exchange than I would highly recommend phasing out your PST files and keeping the mail up on the server.

As far as an example there is one provided on the website you linked to (scroll down after thee xplanation) Here's an excerpt:

Z:\outlook_backup>CopyWithVss.cmd x:\Store\PST\2004-01-27.pst x:\Store\PST\backup.pst

Z:\outlook_backup>setlocal Z:\outlook_backup>if NOT "" == "" goto :IS_CALLBACK

Z:\outlook_backup>set SOURCE_DRIVE_LETTER=x:

Z:\outlook_backup>set SOURCE_RELATIVE_PATH=\Store\PST\2004-01-27.pst

Z:\outlook_backup>set DESTINATION_PATH=x:\Store\PST\backup.pst

...Determine the scripts to be executed/generated...

Z:\outlook_backup>set CALLBACK_SCRIPT=Z:\outlook_backup\CopyWithVss.cmd

Z:\outlook_backup>set TEMP_GENERATED_SCRIPT=GeneratedVarsTempScript.cmd

...Creating the shadow copy...

  • Thanks for the information Jim. We aren't running Exchange at the moment, so each workstation is either accessing the POP or IMAP server. I take from your observations is that I will never be able to run this script on single server and copy the PST files from all 35 remote workstations to the server's external backup device. Additionally, I would have to install the script on each workstation? Thanks for the path example. It will certainly help me next week. – NoMadMan Dec 30 '09 at 5:48
  • Yes you need to install the script on each workstation, also as I re-read your question this scritp will not function on windows 2000 workstations as it does not have a volume shadow copy provider – Jim B Dec 30 '09 at 21:02

For a much cheaper (free) solution, checkout hobocopy.



Are the PCs on the actual workstations, or stored & accessed from the server? If they are stored on the server, that isn't a supported scenario, and you're eventually going to end up with corrupt PSTs.

  • Sorry that I didn't include the location of the PST. The PST files are located in its default folder on each individual workstations. We decided to take MS's recommendation and not store the PST files on remote servers. – NoMadMan Dec 30 '09 at 5:32

If you want to backup PST files out of users workstations, I suggest to take a look at EdgeSafe PST 2 PST Backup. It is able to backup PST file while they are in use, and do the task without the user intervention. Another importent feature is the ability to do the backup by copying only new and changed items, so backup time is minimal.

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