Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

File History timing of backup

  1. #1

    Posts : 28
    windows 10

    File History timing of backup

    I was happy to discover that Windows 8 came with a program to automatically back up our files to our external HD, but it frustrates me that I cannot specify a time for that to happen. Daily is more than frequent enough for us, but we don't keep our computer on 24/7. If we did, does file history still run even though the computer is in 'sleep' mode?

    So is it possible to specify a time somewhere I'm not seeing? Or is the answer to just do more frequent backups and hope that one of them will fall within the window that the computer happens to be on?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    I doubt that I'm totally alone in my suspicion about MS backing up data, etc.

    So I don't even try. I have to use their OS, but my dependence on them stops there.

    For backing up my data, I use an old favorite of mine, that I've used for the past 20+ years.
    It's the old DOS command "XCOPY" that is still alive and well, even in the latest Windows.

    I can write a simple batch file, usually on my desktop, which contains several lines like this:

    xcopy "C:\Documents and Settings\Alexi\My Documents\*.*" "D:\My Documents\" /s /y /H /R /D

    Now, what this does is copy everything in the "My Documents" folder and all the sub-folders under it, to the location of my choice.
    The first time the batch file runs, it copies every file, but, the next time it copies only those files that are new, or that have been changed since the last backup. It helps to copy files only to a FAT-32 formatted drive or partition.

    The above example only copies files from that one location, but there may be several or MANY locations that you want to backup, so you add another line for each additional folder that you want backed up. My own personal Backup batch file is nearly 20 lines long.

    I've set up Backups like this for many of my customers and they all love's so simple, , , all they have to do is run the batch file shortcut on their desktop when they want to do their backup. And for those who don't want to , or just WON'T, I put the shortcut to the batch file in their STARTUP folder for a daily backup. (no operator intervention required)

    A large Flash Drive plugged in the back of the PC makes a great place to put backups.
    I use two. One is a 32 GB, USB 3, Flash Drive and the second one is a 1TB, USB 3, External Hard Drive.
    That drive also gets my C drive backups. (weekly)

    After 33 years, DOS is still alive and well, and still my best friend.

    Happy New Year Everyone!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 28
    windows 10

    I would be completely happy doing that. Sounds exactly like what my Dad would have done for me, if he was still with us. We used to have a program that automatically backed up what we wanted to, each time we started the computer (because, as you said, it was in the startup folder).

    Now, I'm comfortable with computers, but not a computer whiz. So if I may ask, what is the purpose of the switches (is that what they are called?) at the end of the batch file you wrote above? I assume D: above is your destination drive?

    Many thanks!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    I suggest that you do, what I've done, and print out all the switches (yes, that's what they are called) for XCOPY.

    It's easy, if you open a command prompt and type:
    XCOPY /? > C:\xcopy.txt

    Then press ENTER and the entire listing of all the XCOPY switches will appear in the xcopy.txt file in your root directory.
    You can then print that out, for future reference.

    In the case of my own batch file, the switches tell xcopy to copy sub-directories, also, and only copy those files which have never been copied before or that have been changed and to set the Archive bit, so that file is not copied again as long as it doesn't change.
    It's a lot for one DOS command to pull off, but then it's a very powerful command. That's why I still use it.
    I like to use things that WORK, no matter how old they are. Heck, I'm 70 and I still work great! lol

    Cheers Mate!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 28
    windows 10

    Sorry for the late reply. For some reason, when I type that command using 'run', I get a brief flash of a screen then nothing. But I will try this xcopy for backup - thanks for your help!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 315
    Windows 8.1 consumer 64 bit

    File history does not back up all files whenever it runs. After it's first run, it will only back up files that have changed since the last run. So if you run it hourly there will be little if anything for it to do each hour and it will only run for a few seconds.

    The advantage of running it frequently is that it will keep hourly versions of files that you are changing or adding. This means not only will new or changed files be backed up within an hour of their creation or modification, but a file you are working on extensively will be backed up multiple times. So if at 5 oclock you realize that you went astray at 2 oclock and would like to go back to that version of the file you can.

    There are also settings to control how far back old versions will be kept so you can keep it from filling your backup disk with ancient versions.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Posts : 28
    windows 10

    I was wondering about that, as I could see that some files had more backups than others. Thanks for this info.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 1
    windows 8.1

    I too would like to run File History at a specific time of day when I turn on my backup HDD. I have done that for several years with Windows 7 using an X-10 module to turn power on shortly before the backup was due to start and off at a time sufficient to insure that I would cover the entire process. I did this for two reasons the first was that it seemed excessive to run the HDD at all times and more lately it seems it would provide some protection against efforts to ransom my data in the event it would be locked up on my primary computer by minimizing the time exposure to such activities.

    I thought I ran across a method that implied that you could setup a specific time to run if you signed in as administrator but now I can't seem to find it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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