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Automatic backup at USB drive insertion

By Roberto Grassi, P. Eng.

President, GRSoftware

Introduction.

We humans have many problems to solve and often we may forget to back up our vital data. What a mistake! This could destroy our business in a worst case scenario.

 What to do to solve this problem? In this article we'll show you how you can use our world recognized GRBackPro backup software to simplify your life.

Backup at external USB drive insertion.

If you can get your backup to start when you plug an external USB drive then it would automate a lot of your daily backup efforts.

The basic idea is very simple. You insert the USB drive and the backup starts automatically. When completed you are advised and you can remove the drive.

No user intervention at all. We could achieve this goal in two main ways. They are:

  • GRBackPro not installed that start from the USB drive.

  • GRBackPro installed and always running.

Letís discuss these two ideas.

Method 1: GRBackPro not installed but starts from the USB drive.

With this method you do not have to install GRBackPro in your computer. Itís installed on the USB drive and can be used on many computers without having to install anything.

This idea is very interesting, but there are many problems.

The executable file, GRBackPro.exe, must be copied into the USB drive... preferably in the root but this isn't strictly required.

Next your USB drive must be setup so that it can execute the backup software when you insert it. In Windows XP this is easy:

  1. Open My Computer or Explorer

  2. Right-click the USB drive and click Properties.

  3. Click the AutoPlay tab and specify the Windows AutoPlay features.

Starting with Windows Vista there are many problems. This is mainly due to the autorun method having been exploited by viruses to infect a PC from an external USB drive that is already infected.

To put a stop to this practice Microsoft has made Windows more shielded by blocking the autostart. It isn't that simple to enable it again!

Here is what you would do to enable Autostart in Windows Vista, 7, or 8:

  1. Open My Computer or Explorer

  2. Right-click the USB drive and click "Open AutoPlay..."

  3. Click on "View more AutoPlay options in Control Panel"

  4. On "Software and games" select "Install or run program from your media"

  5. Click on Save

  6.  Close Autoplay

But even you have done this youíre not finished. Now you need to create a file named autorun.inf and edit it to instruct Windows to run GRBackPro when you insert the drive. You can find on the internet a lot of web sites that explain you the inner details to build such an autorun.inf file, so we wonít repeat them here.

Considering the risk of viruses we don't recommend this way to go but instead suggest the simpler instructions of Method 2:

Method 2: GRBackPro always running.

With this method you first install GRBackPro in your computer and leave it running.

The installation is guided and simple.

  1.  Install the program as a normal application.

  2.  Insert your USB drive and wait until Windows says it is ready to use.

  3.  On the Job tab, select which data folders you want to back up. Be sure to include all your valuable data if they come from different source paths.

  4.  You can skip backing up system files as you can easily restore them by installing Windows again if you lose your system. Our goal is to concentrate on data that cannot be restored if you don't take a backup of them.

  5.  As a destination drive just select your USB disk or a sub-folder of it.

  6.  After you have added one or more Jobs you can check the Backup and Adv. Backup tabs options to be sure you are using the correct backup method. We suggest setting the "Incremental" backup method so that all runs will just update your backup set quickly.

  7.  You can use compression but, if your data are mostly small files, it will be better to not use it and save time instead to save destination disk space. If you have a big destination drive, maybe you are more focused on backup time because you have plenty of destination disk space to use. In this case it is better to avoid losing time by compressing your file, and then having to decompress them when you do a restore.

  8. Now you go to the Scheduler tab and add a new Event. Select to Start the Event at: Daily so that you will run a backup every day. You could run it more often but many users don't need more than once a day. Of course you are free to setup what is best for you.

  9. Now press the "Edit Conditions..." button and you will see a new dialog. From this dialog select the condition "Job source and destination are both available" and press OK.

  10. Now remove your USB Drive and wait a little before inserting it again. As soon as you insert it GRBackPro will check it periodically and if your daily backup has not been already run it will automatically start.

You can keep GRBackPro running in the background, hidden in the tray icon bar, and your backups will automatically start daily as soon as you insert your USB drive. The program will use very few system resources, as you can easily verify on the Task Manager columns.

Be sure you have not set the option to "Disable the TaskBar Notification window" in the Options tab so that when the backup is completed, you will get a notification and will know that you can remove your USB drive.

Conclusion.

As explained above it is really easy and reliable to setup GRBackPro to run your backup as soon as you insert your external USB drive in your computer. There isnít much other backup software that can do this for you. This really simplifies your life and make you sure you always have a backup of your valuable data. Of course donít forget to insert your USB drive!

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