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Free Automated Backups For Your Windows PC

Windows Backup does an adequate job, but unfortunately in Windows 7 you need the Professional or Ultimate edition to back up to a network share. If you want to save your backups to a network device, or even just to sync files between two computers on your home network, Windows 7 Home won’t do, but I’m not about to pay for the upgrade to Pro just to sync files between computers. Fortunately there is a free solution with SyncToy.

SyncToy is a free “PowerToy” offered by Microsoft that lets you set up folder pairs to be synchronized. Out of the box it does not include any built-in scheduling, but it does offer a command line interface making it easy to roll your own scheduling.

First, download SyncToy and set up the folder pairs you want to synchronize. Each folder pair has a name: remember this for later. You can synchronize folders between machines across the network, or to an external USB drive. Once you have your folder pairs set up you can create a simple batch file (yes, remember batch files!) and call the SyncToy command line interface, like so:

"C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe" -R FOLDER_PAIR_NAME

If your folder pair name has spaces in it you may find the command line interface temperamental – just rename it to something without spaces.

Once your batch file is created simply set up a schedule in the task scheduler.

If you are ssynchronizing to a network share, you may want to check that the share exists before running SyncToy. This isn’t necessary, but it does prevent SyncToy from searching for the share and using resources when it shouldn’t run.

IF NOT EXIST "\\PATH\TO\NETWORK\SHARE\." GOTO EXIT
"C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe" -R FOLDER_PAIR_NAME
:EXIT