Automated backup for USB flash drives?
June 16, 2009 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to automatically back up certain folders on my hard drive to a USB key every time a plug in that key?

I'm on Mac OS X 10.5 and have an 8GB flash drive. I'm wondering if there is any automated process out there that will, every time I plug it in, copy over any changed files in (for example) my documents folder. I am not looking for proprietary archiving; I want the files to then be accessible on any other computer I plug the USB key into -- I just want to automate the copying process.
posted by modernnomad to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you are okay with Unix, you can use launchd to watch the folder called /Volumes on your Mac. When it sees a volume appear with the name of your USB key, it can then run a script to copy files, ideally using rsync or if you prefer, the friendlier ChronoSync.

Someone better than me at scripting can probably add some stub code here for you to follow.
posted by rokusan at 9:06 AM on June 16, 2009

Best answer: Some potentially useful links (some perhaps outdated):

here, with launchd
here, older
here, only backwards
posted by dreadpiratesully at 9:28 AM on June 16, 2009

Create a file called with something like the following:

if [ -d /Volumes/FOO ]; then
  rsync -qa /Volumes/FOO/ /Users/bar/FOO-backup/

Add a line to your crontab to make it run every five minutes:
*/5 * * * * /Users/bar/
posted by oaf at 10:15 AM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah don't if the techy solutions are going to work for me, but thanks for the ideas.. Chronosync actually looks pretty promising, even though it won't "auto backup" every time in plug it in..
posted by modernnomad at 10:26 AM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: (don't know if...)
posted by modernnomad at 10:26 AM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: actually upon further review it seems that chronosync will in fact launch itself upon insertion of a particular volume...
posted by modernnomad at 10:27 AM on June 16, 2009

I've moved beyond USB sticks... Dropbox is my mobile file-manager of choice cause I'm just going to lose the stick at one point or another. Dropbox is always updated and always available on any (internet connected) computer I may use.

I guess it may not be perfect for a hard-core techie that needs access to everything all the time, but in my world I'd be hard pressed to find myself in front of a computer that doesn't have an internet connection.
posted by matty at 10:31 AM on June 16, 2009

dropbox. o yeah. works great. love it.
posted by FauxScot at 10:47 AM on June 16, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Chronosync. Wouldn't be without it.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:29 PM on June 16, 2009

Response by poster: Downloaded chronosync -- perfect. Syncs (both ways) a set of defined folders to a USB drive every time I plug it in. Thanks everyone.
posted by modernnomad at 5:16 PM on June 16, 2009

« Older Bleeding-heart Liberal in Death Match with...   |   paper time machine Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.