CyberNotes
Tutorial Thursday




I’ve seen a lot of surveys that have been done which give the impression that nearly no one backs up any of the data on their computer. For years now I have been creating backups of important folders on my PC and storing them on separate hard drives. For things that are especially important like photos and music, I have those sprawled out across 4 different computers. Sure that uses up some hard drive space, but how would you feel if you lost all of your photos?

Having had two hard drives fail on me in the last few months makes me a firm believer that backups are critical. The excuse for some of you might be that there isn’t any good free software out there that makes doing the backups easy and quick. Today I’m going to show you how you can schedule backups to run whenever you want.

Note: Click on any of the thumbnails for a full-size version.

  1. For doing the backups, we’re going to use Karen’s Replicator which is a free and open source application that is filled with great features. So go ahead and download the latest version from the homepage.
  2. After you get it installed you’ll be greeted with an introductory screen, and the first thing you’ll need to do is create some new backup jobs. Click the “Edit Settings” button:
    Karen’s Replicator
  3. Press the “New Job” button and fill out the backup information such as the source folder that you want to backup and the destination to store the backup to. I’m going to do a nightly backup of my Firefox profile:
    Karen’s Replicator
  4. You can even add “tags” to the destination folder/file so that it incorporates things like the date in it:
    Karen’s Replicator
  5. You can then add some filters if you want it to copy only specified filetypes, such as those corresponding to images:
    Karen’s Replicator
  6. Then you can switch to the “Other Settings” tab if you want to customize some of the application-related options. When you get done here just hit the “Save Changes and Close” button to continue:
    Karen’s Replicator
  7. Now you should be back to the main screen where it lists all of the backup jobs that you have created as well as their settings:
    Karen’s Replicator
  8. If you don’t want the backups to automatically run, you can easily create shortcut links that can be placed on your desktop or in the Start Menu by using the “Save Shortcut to Jobs” button. Then the specified backups will run when you click the shortcut that you save, but you’ll need to disable the scheduling if you still don’t want them to run automatically:
    Karen’s Replicator

That’s it! One thing you should know is that Karen’s Replicator needs to be running in order for the scheduled tasks to take place, but you can always minimize it to the System Tray with the option located in the settings. Overall, this is one heck of a free application and is one of the most thorough backup utilities that I’ve ever used.

Karen’s Replicator Homepage