Disaster Recovery optimize

Configure automated backups using SyncToy and Windows 7's Scheduled Task

Learn how to create a new SyncToy task that automatically schedules backups of the directories clients need regularly backed up to a network share or external hard disk.

Create a new scheduled task

1. In Windows 7, open Task Scheduler by going to Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Task Scheduler (Figure F). Figure F

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2. In the Actions menu, click Create Basic Task (Figure G). Figure G

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3. Enter the basic task's name (such as SyncToy Operation) within the Name field, provide a description (such as Automated Desktop and My Documents backup operation to server's user share), and click Next.

4. Specify a Trigger value to indicate how often the task runs, such as Daily, and then click Next (Figure H). Figure H

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5. Specify the start date and time of day when the automated task should run, and then click Next (Figure I). Figure I

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6. In the Action page, specify Start A Program, and then click Next (Figure J). Figure J

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7. Within the Program/script: field, browse to the SyncToy directory and specify the SyncToyCmd.exe file (C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe) (Figure K). Figure K

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8. Enter -R within the Add Arguments (optional) field, and then click Next.

9. Review the settings to confirm they are configured as intended, and then click Finish (Figure L). Figure L

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Test the new SyncToy task

  1. Highlight the Task Scheduler Library within the Task Scheduler left window pane.
  2. Select the new SyncToy task within the right window pane.
  3. Click Run within the Select Item pane on the far right.
  4. When the operation completes, log in to the server share or connect to the external hard disk to confirm the backup files are present in the proper location.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

12 comments
Bowen1973
Bowen1973

Do you know any way of getting synctoy to work on Win8? running through GUI syncs fine but trying to sync via cmd with task scheduler just error's saying it cannot find the network source?

wdpcpa
wdpcpa

I am trying to back up the external drive of a new computer. It is on the same network. Sync toy sees the computer but not the drive. How can I get it to see the external drive. I want to back up the entire external drive. Thanks, wdpcpa

dgeron
dgeron

I am using the software "Allway Sync" ... very reliable and has automatic backup option as well. And also very fast. :-)

gdvngkrishna
gdvngkrishna

I am using Microsoft Outlook. My PC crashed due to Hardware failure several times due to mishandling of my Laptop in the Laboratory. Every time i called for a data recovery, it is costing me huge. I would like to know whether, SyncToy can be able to take of *.pst while Outlook is in operation? If not, Please give any other tool details, which will operate for back-up, even when the file for back-up is in use. Thanks

Erik Eckel
Erik Eckel

This comment is addressed to those IT pros with concerns about SyncToy reliability. Have you used SyncToy in the manner I described in this article, namely just the Echo component writing files one way? I've deployed this solution at numerous clients and have yet to see a single file not back itself up when the scheduled task runs.

gclifton_BANNED1234567891
gclifton_BANNED1234567891

I've been using Robocopy for some time now, after reading Greg Schultz's article, and comes with Vista and 7. It's a manual backup, replacing Xcopy, but it has many switches and works well. I used an Xcopy batch file in XP and put it in the Task Scheduler. Both worked well and handled my backup needs. My files are backup up to my NAS, a Dlink DNS-321 network storage device on my home network with mirrored drives. My wife's and my computer are backed up to it.

John_LI_IT_Guy
John_LI_IT_Guy

I stopped using SyncToy because it became unreliable. I've been using FreeFileSync which is open source. It is more customizable than SyncToy and SyncToy can't hold a candle to it. My 2 cents.

Tolga BALCI
Tolga BALCI

I have tried SyncToy on various scenarios. I can safely say that it works fine for personal use but do not consider it a workhorse for large number of files.

gkeramidas
gkeramidas

erik: maybe you can shed some light. using windows 7 desktops in a win2008r2 domain. pc's are typically logged off, but not always if I set up synctoy under the user account with the target on the server, the test works, but then the job fails when run as a scheduled task, if I remember, can't find the path, or something like that. the path I typically use as the target is "\\servername\users\username\documents\outlook backup" if I use a mapped drive and they've logged out, it will fail, because it doesn't know what the mapped drive is. I've set it up logged in as the administrator on the pc, and it seems to work, though sometimes it can't find the target path because I have redirected my documents to a folder called documents in their user directory. in all instances, the test after initial setup works fine. also, how do you get away without specifying the backup name? I always use - R "Outlook Backup" for the command line parameters.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

[b]Share the Drive[/b] for it to be visible on the Network. ;) Col

lelandhamilton
lelandhamilton

-R without any parameter backups all folder pairs that are active for backup all folder pairs. -R followed by a folder pair name (must be in quotes if it contains a space) backups only that folder pair.

wdpcpa
wdpcpa

Appreciate the help.