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October 26, 2012

Doing a Manual Backup Automatically, Part III

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Even with the automation the DOS prompt and robocopy bring to the file duplication process, it would stil be nice if the computer performed that task for you, automatically and on a schedule. In Windows, that chore falls to the Task Scheduler program.

Step 3. Configure the Task Manager to automatically backup

My guess is that Microsoft made the Windows Task Scheduler the most difficult, cumbersome, and obnoxious program for a reason. They don’t want you to use it! Ever!

Bear with me.

First, open the Task Scheduler program:

  1. Press Win+R to summon the Run dialog box.
  2. Type taskschd.msc /s

The next step is to create your own task library folder, assuming that you don’t already have one. That’s probably because you’ve never read my book Troubleshooting & Maintaining Your PC All-In-One Desktop Reference For Dummies (whew!), which describes how this process works.

  1. Right-click on the Task Scheduler Library folder, found on the left side of the Task Scheduler window.
  2. Choose the New Folder command from the shortcut menu.
  3. Type My Tasks or some similar name to identify a new folder that contains only your personal tasks.
  4. Click the OK button. The new folder appears beneath the Task Scheduler Library folder.
  5. Choose the new folder you created.

The folder is designed to hold only your personal tasks. It isn’t necessary to create such a folder, but I’m all about organization and blah-blah-blah.

The next step is to create the manual backup task within that folder.

Assuming that the Task Scheduler is still on the screen, and your personal task folder is selected, proceed with these steps:

  1. From the right side of the screen, in the Actions area, choose Create Basic Task. You need to run a Wizard to help you create a simple task.
  2. Into the Name field type Daily Backup
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Choose Daily, then click the Next button.
  5. Select the Start date, which should be today.
  6. Choose a Start time, which should be later than this instant. Remember that the computer must be on for a task to run.
  7. Ensure that the number 1 is in the Recur Every field.
  8. Click the Next button.
  9. Choose Start A Program, then click the Next button.
  10. Into the Program/Script box type robocopy
  11. Into the Add Arguments box, type the rest of the robocopy command; refer to Wednesday’s blog post for the specifics. On my computer, I type C:\Users\Dan\Documents\Work F:\backup /mir /r:1
  12. Click the Next button.
  13. Click the Finish button.
  14. Close the Task Scheduler window.

You’re done creating the task. It’s named Daily Backup (or whatever name you’ve chosen). It runs every day at the time you’ve specified. The time I chose was 11:50 pm. Therefore, assuming the computer obeys the Task Scheduler, and that your PC is on at that time, at 11:50 pm, every day, robocopy maintains a duplicate of your files on a thumb drive.

How do you know whether the task completed? Well, you can check the thumb drive to verify that the files were copied and updated. Or you can direct the Task Scheduler to display a message on the screen. I’ll show you how that’s done on Monday.

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