How do I backup/copy just the new stuff?
August 23, 2008 3:02 PM   Subscribe

I recently did a Dumb Backup of my media library -- just bought another drive and copied the whole thing over. Since then, in the working library I've added a number of items within the general directory structure. Now I want to copy over just the new stuff to the backup drive, with everything winding up in the same-named directories over on that one. How do I do it? I'm using XP.

Basically, I want to drag the media folder from Drive A to Drive B, and have it ignore the files on A:/ that already exist on B:/, whilst copying the new files from A to B.

For example, in drive A let's say I have folders called mp3s/Led Zeppelin/Led Zeppelin I/ and mp3s/Led Zeppelin/Led Zeppelin II/ but in drive B I only have mp3s/Led Zeppelin/Led Zeppelin I/. I want to drag the mp3/ folder from drive A to drive B and have it copy over the Led Zeppelin II/ folder and place it within the pre-existing mp3s/Led Zeppelin/ folder, while knowing to ignore the Led Zeppelin I/ folder on drive A since it already exists on drive B.

Now that I've made my situation clear as mud, what's the easiest way to do what I want to do?
posted by slappy_pinchbottom to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
SyncToy should do the trick for you.
posted by shinybeast at 3:14 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Syncback is another choice- it supports a few more options than synctoy (but is necessarily a bit more complex).
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:40 PM on August 23, 2008

AllWaySync is another. Its free, I found it on lifehacker. Has support for scheduling & one-way or two-way syncs.
posted by ijoyner at 4:29 PM on August 23, 2008

I vote for SyncToy because when using Syncback in the past, I have experienced some conflicts with Daylight Savings time. After a time switch, it always required re-syncing everything because the files modification dates were off by an hour. I haven't had this problem with SyncToy.
posted by PixelatorOfTime at 4:37 PM on August 23, 2008

Or, simply right-click and drag all folders/files from A to B, and when it gives the "the folder already contains folder called "New Kids On The Block", all files will be replaced" pop-up (paraphrased), hold shift and click "No". This will copy over everything in a folder that is on A but not on B.

(But really, I recommend synctoy. Though I've had some weird behavior with it.)
posted by inigo2 at 5:37 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: open a command window, then type:

xcopy /shriekvd <src dir> <tgt dir>

Let's assume your "drive A" is E:, and your "drive B" is F:, and just to make it interesting the MP3 directory is right on the root of E: [E:\MP3s], but in a subdirectory on F: [F:\Music\MP3s].

This command will do what you are asking:

xcopy /shriekvd E:\MP3s F:\Music\MP3s

It will make "drive B" look like "drive B + drive A"

This will not copy anything that exists only on drive B back to drive A. The sync software suggested above will probably do this [maybe optionally]. You can do this [basically] with xcopy by xcopying one way and then back the other, thus:

xcopy /shriekvd E:\MP3s F:\Music\MP3s
xcopy /shriekvd F:\Music\MP3s E:\MP3s

This will fill in F: with the stuff it doesn't have from E:, then fill in E: with the stuff it doesn't have from F:.

No extra software needed for the basics.

I use this method regularly to sync my source and MP3 directories on an external USB drive at the end of the day.
posted by chazlarson at 7:33 PM on August 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you were on an OS like OS X or Linux you could use rsync. I'm not sure if Cygwin comes with rsync or not, but if it does that would probably work too.

Just out of curiosity, to the people mentioning the pre-installed Windows things like xcopy and dragging files and clicking Do Not Replace: will that check the actual contents of the files or just their existence? Say the poster changes the contents of something.txt, will those methods back up those changes or ignore them? Rsync checks the (md5, I think) hashes of the files, so that might be more what you're looking for.
posted by sjl7678 at 9:56 PM on August 23, 2008

@sjl - copy or xcopy will check the filename and the archive bit. If the archive bit has been reset due to a change in content, it will be copied.

@inigo - your method will skip the items that existed but were changed in the interim.

My vote for smart software to do what the OP wants: Backup Magic,
posted by megatherium at 5:06 AM on August 24, 2008

Cygwin, does support rsync, FWIW. It's not included by default, though. You have to check the box for it in the setup.exe
posted by meta_eli at 8:53 AM on August 24, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, y'all -- I checked out the sync apps, but they looked too featureful (and sensible) to fit with my Dumb Backup aesthetic -- and to paraphrase the Onion, cogito sum stultus. The command line is the Way.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 5:44 PM on August 25, 2008

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