Backing Up User Documents on Windows 7
My wife's new HP Pavilion Entertainment Notebook PC DV7-3160us comes with Windows 7 Home Premium. Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft bundles the "robocopy" utility that works similarly to "rsync" on UNIX. I want to give that a try to back up her user directory (%SystemDrive%\Users\[username]) to my network server. With the mirror flag (/MIR), robocopy should be able to do that without any problem. But that proved to fail on the first file (NTUSER.DAT) it encountered and proceed to wait for it . . . FOREVER.
In order to prevent it from continuing to copy a file that it has no chance to ever copy, you have to set the retry to a small number, rather than the default a million times. And with the default of 30 seconds wait time, that would be an eternity. I found the following set of flags to work well:
robocopy source destination /mir /r:1 /w:1
These flags tells robocopy to mirror the source on the destination, but only retry each failed copy once, with a time out of one second. Therefore, it won't get hung up on any one file that it fails to copy.
The users directory in Windows 7 is filled with so many short-cuts, junction points, and/or symbolic links, it's virtually impossible to sort everything out. When I backed up my wife's computer using the command, her 80 GB worth of data turned into 300 GB.
So I found that you can use the "/xj" flag to eliminate junction points from robocopy. That reduced the amount of back up data to 150 GB, which is much more manageable now.
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