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Copyright (c) 2011, all rights reserved.

Somewhat briefly...
7backup is a Windows application I wrote to help friends and family backup their files.

Large flash drives and enormous external hard drives are cheap and plentiful.  But I have had little luck finding a truly simple backup application.  Most required a certain level of expertise from the user (knowing the location of their E-Mail files, whether to use compression, etc.).

The user interfaces of many I tested were simply overwhelming for someone that just wanted to know their data was safe.

7backup allows me to configure a single file (7backup.ini) which tells 7backup everything that needs to be backed-up on a user's PC.  Three files (7backup.exe, 7backup.ini, and 7za.exe) are then copied to each backup device (like USB flash drive) to be used.

To perform a backup, one needs only to plug one of the backup devices into their machine, and double-click on the 7backup.exe.  A window will ask them to confirm that they would like to "run a backup now?"  If the user clicks on "yes," they will see the names of the files being backed up scroll by on the screen.  When the backup is completed, another window will let the user know whether the backup was successful.  That's all there is to it.

This is the first time, in a long time, that I've released any software I've written.  I am going to call this version 1.00.  I plan on adding some enhancements (more on this below), so I expect 1.01 to come along shortly.  Maybe right away if someone finds a glaring problem.

This software is NOT in the public domain.  All rights are reserved.  You are welcome to use the application for PRIVATE (non-commercial) use.  Contributions are encouraged (there is a PayPal donate link on the left) so my wife won't think I'm nuts for working on this instead of performing "real" work that generates income.

If you would like to use 7backup commercially, please shoot me an E-Mail, I'm sure we can work something out.

AND FINALLY, I take no responsibility for your data.  I encourage people to employ multiple strategies for backing up their stuff.  Don't rely on 7backup alone.  And don't blame me if something goes wrong.

You can download 7backup.zip (the three files in a single archive) here:

By clicking download link, I agree to Phil's terms (above)!

Oh, and BTW, I have added a section on the forum page for discussing 7backup.  Please try there before E-Mailing should you run into a problem.  That way I won't have 5 people E-Mail me with the same issue.


The 7backup.ini file...
The 7backup.ini is commented, so making changes should be no problem for someone that knows how to use Windows Notepad.  But I thought I'd share my home PC's 7backup.ini here, so you don't have to go through the trouble of downloading the application just to see what is involved.

; The "target" is the name of the compressed file (ZIP) for your backup.
; It is created in the folder from which 7backup was run, unless you specify otherwise.
; The old file is deleted, and a new file is created with each run (in this version).
; If you don't specify anything, "7backup.zip" will be assumed.
target=phil's backup.zip
; Specify one or more "source" lines.
; Each source line specifies a file or folder you would like backed up.
source=c:\documents and settings\phil\desktop
source=c:\documents and settings\phil\favorites
source=c:\documents and settings\phil\my documents
source=c:\documents and settings\phil\local settings\application data\identities
source=c:\documents and settings\phil\application data\microsoft\address book
; "Volumesize" is used to keep backup files under a certain length.
; This is important for backups created on FAT32 drives (or if you need to burn them).
; The default is blank. Do NOT enter "0" (zero) unless you want some strange results.
; Valid values can be suffixed with k, m, or g.
; So, for the purposes of 7backup, the following values are all (sort of) the same:
; volumesize=1000000000
; volumesize=1000000k
; volumesize=1000m
; volumesize=1g
; An important note about using the "volumesize" setting:
; By default, Windows Vista and Windows 7 will allow you to open giant 64-bit zip files.
; I do not believe it will open chunked files created using volumesize.
; For that, you'd need to use one of the more advanced ZIP applications.
; So my advice is, don't use "volumesize" unless you really need to.
; And test the files to make sure you can open them, before you really NEED to.
; You can always reformat USB flash drives as NTFS and skip FAT32 altogether.
; If reformatting doesn't work, google the "convert" command.


What if I need to restore?
The beauty of 7backup is that all your data is kept in a single ZIP file that can be opened/examined by Windows Vista and Windows 7.  Both of those versions of Windows will handle 64-bit ZIP files.  For previous versions of Windows, one of the numerous third-party ZIP file handlers will do the trick.  I'll add some links for those soon.


A little more than you probably want to know...
I do like the Windows Vista and Windows 7 backup application.  But these solutions are typically configured to backup everything on the PC, and they're intended to be scheduled.  And as much as I think that is a great idea, it fosters this sort of "set it and forget it" mentality.  IMHO, people should take responsibility for their backups, start them, watch them run, develop a feeling for how long things should take, own it!

My wife and I own one of the oldest computer shops in the country.  I've gotten quite good (if-I-do-say-so-myself) at recovering data from failed hard drives.  And one line I've heard over and over again is, "I thought it was being backed up!"

I had a new client bring me a hard drive from a CAD server.  The RAID system failed, and when they went to inspect their backup tapes, they realized the tapes were nearly blank.

The explanation was simple:  They had an automatic backup job that ran every night, someone just needed to make certain a tape was in the tape backup drive.  This routine had worked perfectly for years.  BUT, a few months before their RAID system failed, an administrator had changed the location of their important CAD documents on the server, and that location was not being backed up during the unattended nightly backup procedure.

Had someone been responsible for backups, they may have noticed that backup jobs which had previously taken 1-2 hours were running in 1-2 minutes.  And they may have looked into the problem and taken corrective action.

Now, this was a decent size outfit that does aluminum casting for the likes for Ford (Motor).  Without their CAD files, they'd be in tough shape.  While we were able to recover their data, the first outfit they had tried was unable to do so.  They were in SERIOUS trouble, all because they had trusted an unattended, automatic backup.

If you are going to trust, at least verify.  Try to recover something on occasion, see if it works!


Plans for the future...
I am working on a bit more code that will stop/start services before/after backups, so database engines (and the like) can be accommodated.  Also, I will be adding some capability for incremental/differential backups, multiple backup files (date/time stamps), etc.

And of course, if there are any bugs or oversights, I will try to fix those up right away.



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