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Automate your backup

by Roberto Grassi, P. Eng.

President, GRSoftware

Introduction.

The effectiveness of a good backup program depends on you effectively executing your backup. Often we are so busy that we simply forget to manually run a backup!

When selecting a good quality professional backup software  program you need to check what options you have to automate your backups so that you can set it and forget about it. Well, GRBackPro professional backup software is among the few software programs that not only allows for this level of automation but also allows you to setup different automation strategies which can run concurrently.

Backup at shutdown.

The first method you can use to automate your backup is to execute the backup at end of the work day. This is usually a time of day when the computer cpu load is low and thus resources are free for a quick and reliable backup. Another important point is that if you ensure that all applications are closed then all your files will be consistent. In fact, even if GRBackPro can back up your in-use data file using Volume Shadow Copy, it is better to back up a file that is perfectly consistent and that is set at a well known point (in this case, at the end of the work day). The first thing you must do, if you run the backup at end of day, is to close all applications. GRBackPro offers you the Task tab from which you can have GRBackPro close applications and stop services before a backup is executed and then start them, if required, at backup end.You have two options to execute the backup at shutdown. The first one is to define a scheduler event that starts the backup when you shut down your computer. In this case you initiate the shutdown and then GRBackPro captures this condition and starts the backup. Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft has modified the shutdown procedure in order to allow the user to quickly close the computer. GRBackPro is able to block the shutdown in order to have the time required to complete the backup. We do not recommend this method, however, because you have less control over the backup and shutdown process.

We suggest that instead you use the GRBackPro function of  "At backup end do". We normally ask the program to shut down and power off the computer when the backup is completed without errors. Thus if all has gone well you will see your computer turn OFF after a while. If it remains ON then there has been a problem which you will need to check before going home. Doing things this way will give you peace of mind when you go home.

Backup at destination disk insertion.

Another helpful feature is the possibility to have the backup software to start a backup when a drive is ready or, in other words, when a path is available. We prefer to talk about the path being available because we are not limited to physical drive insertion such as a USB drive but can also include network paths. 

Having the backup software automatically start the backup when one of the above events happens is convenient because you donít have to manually start your backup. GRBackPro offers you this possibility from within the integrated scheduler. You can define an event and then add a conditional execution. This condition can be based on the path availability. Other options are based on computer usage and load. For example you can make the backup execution conditional on you not typing anything or not moving the mouse. This could mean that no one is using the computer and thus a backup execution will not disturb anyone.

Another possible condition might be to execute the backup only if the CPU load is below a specified percentage, for more than a specified time. This assures that the backup will run only when no application needs your computer resources. In fact there could be the possibility that you have a process running that needs CPU time even though you may not be physically using the computer. This option is intelligent because it effectively measures the CPU load to be sure the CPU is free. With each conditional test, GRBackPro can be set to retry the conditions for a user-defined time after which if the condition still isn't met the event will be marked as missed.

Be advised if any error.

If you want to automate your backup and simply forget about it then you need to have a good reliable method to be advised if something goes wrong. Yes, every backup software creates and manages a log file but you have to periodically check it to be sure there no errors. Failing to backup important files is a real pain!

So you also need to automate the reporting aspect of your backup plan. GRBackPro professional backup software offers you a good solution here, too. You can use the Tasks tab to add a task that will email you a note when a backup error happens. This email notification includes the files that are involved in the error so that you immediately know about the problem and can decide what to do about it. This option also allows you to remotely manage a computer doing backups for your company. You may  have many backup jobs set up and if any of them goes wrong you will be notified. Of course you can ask to be notified that the backup has been executed. GRBackPro can email you a note when a backup starts. This email is always sent, so if the backup does not start you will be alerted by the absence of the email.

Conclusion.

With the above and other features built into GRBackPro, you are can be sure that your data is safe. You can set up your backup easily and then forget about it unless a failure happens. At that point you will have to restore your data but you can be sure your data is safe and ready to be quickly restored.

This article is translated to Serbo-Croatian language by Jovana Milutinovich from Webhostinggeeks.com.

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