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Portable Apps Backup 1.0 RC 1 (Testers Urgently Needed)

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John T. Haller
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Portable Apps Backup 1.0 RC 1 (Testers Urgently Needed)

THIS TOPIC HAS BEEN LOCKED. PORTABLEAPPS BACKUP HAS BEEN RELEASED.

I've posted a release candidate of the Portable Apps Backup utility I'd mentioned and had a beta release of previously. This is an easy-to-use backup utility (using 7-Zip internally) that allows you to backup your portable drive. It has all the features of Beta 1/2, including:

  • Standard Directory Suport - It supports the standard directory layouts of the upcoming Portable Apps Suite 1.0 release (Documents directory where your documents live, PortableApps directory where the individual AppNamePortable directories live). No configuration is required. The options include:
    • Entire drive - every file in every directory
    • Portable app data - Just the app data files (within AppNamePortable\Data for each app), making it easy to just back up your configurations and profiles
    • Documents - just the documents directory
  • Zip and 7z Support - It uses Zip format by default, but you can change this to 7z if you'd like right on the options screen.
  • High Compression Support - By default, it uses the 'Normal' compression level (level 5) which is a good balance of size and speed. You can select Max Compression and have it use Ultra (level 9) on the options screen.
  • Auto File Naming - It automatically names the file with today's date as a part of the filename and the type of backup you did (drive, documents or data), making it easy to keep track of your backups.
  • Show Details - If you'd like to watch the details of the backup go by, it'll show you 7-Zip's progress in a command line window.
  • Relative Backup Paths (New in Beta 2) - If you select your desktop or My Documents folder (the default), it will be remembered relatively. So, if you move to another PC, the location will still be valid.
  • Relative Directory Structure (New in Beta 2) - Your PortableApps folders and Documents folders don't have to be in the root of the drive anymore. They just have to be where expected relative from PortableAppsBackup.exe.

Release Candidate 1 also adds in:

  • Automatic handling of FileZilla Portable's settings
  • More polished interface
  • Fixed a bug in remembering to show the details window
  • Improved details window with clear notice not to close it
  • Restore function that works just like the Backup function does
  • Support for a new, default directory %DOCUMENTS%\PortableAppsBackup. That way your backups are in one easy-to-find location. Of course, it'll still automatically work with either your documents or desktop directories (as you switch PCs) or any custom directory you'd like.

Download now: Download Portable Apps Backup 1.0 Release Candidate 1

Please give it a try and let me know what you think. I'd like to test this quick and release it this week.

Regards,
John

Serenity1981
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Working

So i got this installed on my mini usb 12gig HD which by the way is awesome. anyways I went ahead and did the full back up it took a while but it had 7 gigs to do. It ran smooth and at a good pace. I was using the zip formate and not the 7z. I would like to see an option to exclude cretin directories, but other then that it works good. I will test it some more and if I run into anything ill post it here

youknowme
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Works great. When I started

Works great. When I started the backup I wanted to stop it, but there wasn't a button to press (stop/cancel/pause). This would be a nice feature.
Also, if there were multiple usb drives, then an option int the "what would you like to backup" section to choose which drive to backup.

John T. Haller
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No Cancel Yet, Only 1 Drive

There's no cancel ability unless you show the details window (closing the window cancels). And this is made to backup the current drive it's running from... most likely as part of an install of the Portable Apps Suite or a set of apps within X:\PortableApps\... It's just a simple backup utility. If you want the ability to backup multiple things... Abakt Portable will be more your speed.

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otbsupport
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Great work!

I'd like it if it had the ability to specify the 'documents' folder name though...

OTBSoft ::Thinking Outside The Box::

John T. Haller
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Suite

It's meant for a Suite-style layout of folders. This means:

+\ (usually root but not necessarily)
--+\Documents\
----+\Pictures\ (etc...)
--+\PortableApps\
----+\FirefoxPortable\
------+\Data\ (etc...)

For the first release, this isn't customizable. It will be customizable as part of a later release of the suite (where you can change your "Documents" directory).

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otbsupport
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Only reason...

Only reason I mentioned it is cause mine is called 'My Docs' instead of 'Documents'. ::shrugs:: just a matter of user preference I guess.

OTBSoft ::Thinking Outside The Box::

John T. Haller
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"My" *shudder*

Yeah, I ditched the whole "My" thing for everything Suite-related. It was something Microsoft had originally introduced in Windows 95 to make computers seem more personal. They've finally ditched it with Vista. Having a "Documents" directory seemed the most logical choice as a default. With the 1.1 or 1.2 Suite, you'll be able to configure the directory names. The 1.0 release is just supposed to get all the basics right and provide a foundation for the future.

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otbsupport
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LOL

Yeah, that's true... as far as the program itself, I'd say you're off to a great start as always!

OTBSoft ::Thinking Outside The Box::

ssg79
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Needs a way to cancel during

Needs a way to cancel during backup. It started trying to backup my C: drive so i had to end task. So I guess a way to select the path to backup would be needed as well.

John T. Haller
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Nope

As mentioned, this tool is only for use in the directory layout mentioned above from a portable device. It's a part of the upcoming Portable Apps Suite. When running it from a local drive, you should probably avoid using the "Entire Drive" option.

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Filter
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It would still be nice to be

It would still be nice to be able to specify the apps and documents directory even if it's just in the ini file. Almost nobody is going to have their drive in the exact layout you have described and some people are going to be stubborn in that they will not change the layout of their drive even if they don't have launcher apps that are already coded to their currently layout.

I would seriously recomend that you change the app to allow the changing of these items as settings.

It is a nice application though and I will probably use it frequently.

John T. Haller
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Which is fine

And those folks, being the customization types, will probably use something like Abakt Portable, which allows them to backup whatever they'd like. Incidentally, PAB doesn't have to be in any particular directory to get the other apps' data, its directory just has to be in the same directory as the other apps' directories.

I plan to add the ability for the whole suite to use an alternate directory layout and the backup, etc utilities in a later release... but for the initial one, I'm focusing on making it work right, rather than being the end all and be all. Afterall, it's all the fine-grained customization settings that are used by less than 1% of folks in the other apps, but cause at least 1/2 the problems.

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Filter
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Aiming for simplicity

I would say that it would be used by more than 1% of the people but your point is well made.

I say more than 1% because those are the people that are techs and "early adopters" and those are the people that will probably be more likely to use PorableApps in the first place. I don't know how much more but again your point is well made and I understand exactly what your saying.

The application works well. I haven't found any bugs.

Killerfocus
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Froze up on me

I chose to back up the entire flash drive with maximum encryption and it froze on me at about 90-95%

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Slow at the end

With maximum encryption, the slider bar is less accurate and it will take a *LONG* time to complete. If you run it again with the details shown, you'll see what I mean.

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somredcm
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Working

I just got one error where it wouldn't backup one file in the portable filezilla dir (filezilla.xml.backup) but other than that it worked fine.

John T. Haller
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Yeah

That occurs if you don't have FileZilla Portable or haven't used it yet. It's more of a warning, actually and will be hidden in the final release. But thanks for pointing it out.

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habskilla
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Does not install

Getting the following error during instalation:
"PortableAppsBackup_1.0_RC1.exe is not supported archive"

John T. Haller
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What OS

What OS are you using? What kind of account (admin, limited, guest)?

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habskilla
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I'm using WinXP SP2 limited

I'm using WinXP SP2 limited account. It's my office machine but I've never had problems extracting files before.

John T. Haller
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7-zip Portable / MD5 Sum

Can you try opening the EXE within 7-Zip or 7-Zip Portable? Are you sure the file wasn't corrupted in transit (that's usually what this error means). You can check the MD5 sum of the file with something like WinMd5Sum (which is portable). The MD5 sum of the file should be d8366a803f2d5fb39fddea3d3905a76a

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habskilla
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MD5 are not the same. I'll

MD5 are not the same. I'll download it again.

Edit:

I tried downloaded it again and I also tried from different servers and still the file seems corrupt.

John T. Haller
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MD5 Match

When you download from any of the servers, do the MD5s match? I downloaded and got the correct file. If they don't match, that means the file was corrupted in transit. Usually, this is due to a firewall or a virus scanner on your end or your company's. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do about that.

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habskilla
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Strange. I've downloaded

The MD5's don't match.

Strange. I've downloaded the Clam beta file with no issues.

tlucas
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No 'Select source' option

It could do with an option to set the source folder from which it back up all the files.
This would be completely necessary before i find this useful.

John T. Haller
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Nope

As stated a couple times already, this is designed to work with the Suite in a specific directory layout. It's not meant to be a full-featured backup solution... just a very easy-to-use one. As such, you get 3 options:

1. Full Drive (self explanatory)
2. App Data (all the directories next to the PortableAppsBackup directory - usually all in a PortableApps directory - their Data sub-directories are backed up)
3. Documents (the documents directory two directories up from the PortableAppsBackup directory - usually next to PortableApps directory in the root)

For custom backups, you'd want to use a more full-featured solution like Abakt Portable, which will be debuting soon, too.

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balmoral
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Nearly There...

Tried a few quick tests:
1. Changed zip file attributes to read-only, system and hidden: Worked OK.
2. Locked files by opening exclusively: Didn't include file in zip archive and no error message shown.
3. Tab order of check boxes needs adjusting in dialog and keyboard accelerators would be useful for those of us who prefer keyboards to mice.

-balmoral

maikelsteneker
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huh?

I don't know how this _should_ work, but for me, it doesn't.

I tried to backup my settings, and the program creates a 1 byte small 7z archive without any files in it.

I also see an error about some FileZilla file that can't be copied...

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Ignore the error

Ignore the error, it'll be hidden in the next release. Are you sure you have the correct directory structure?

+\ (usually root but not necessarily)
--+\Documents\
----+\Pictures\ (etc...)
--+\PortableApps\
----+\FirefoxPortable\
------+\Data\ (etc...)
----+\PortableAppsBackup\
... etc

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maikelsteneker
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Incorrect Directory Structure

Sorry, I didn't have the correct structure.

I have an USB Flash drive for my Portable Apps, so it's like this:
+\ (root)
--+\7-ZipPortable
--+\FirefoxPortable
----+\Data
----+\App

etc.

I'll make a better directory structure and try the program again.

Is it also possible to change the directory names of for example FirefoxPortable? Right now I have FirefoxPortable (1.5.0.8) and Firefox2Portable (2.0). I would like the program to backup both!

Thanks for the great work!

John T. Haller
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Options

Actually, it'll work in your current directory structure for backing up the whole drive or your app data. And you can rename the directories to whatever you'd like, PortableAppsBackup just has to be next to em.

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Zhrakkan
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Perfomance....bad

OK all...
I didnt see that this existed, so I wrote my own batch file using roboxopyxp, deltree and 7z (granted robocopyxp and deltree are not opensource, but I figured for personal use it wasnt to bad)

I have one that backs it up to a local hard drive folder, then zips all the contents and the log....Not very fast, but works great.

I saw this and was excited.
I loaded it.

I ran it on my 4GB flash drive with only 350MB of data on it.
TEST 1:
Computer - Dell Latitude C400 Laptop(866Mhz processor - 256MB ram)
Options selected
1- Complete Backup (all files
2- Use 7z format
3- Max Compression
4- Show backup details
RESULTS
The died. I got an error not enough memory to run.

TEST 2:
Computer - Dell Optiplex GX270 (2.6Ghz Processor - 512MB ram)
Options selected
1- Complete Backup (all files
2- Use 7z format
3- Max Compression
4- Show backup details
RESULTS
This ran, but it killed MASSIVELY all performance on my PC, I had to kill the process to recover.

Those are my results...

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

John T. Haller
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Try it without max compression

I may actually remove this as an option. It is *EXCEEDINGLY* slow and needs *LOTS* of RAM.

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Zhrakkan
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I havent tried it on the

I havent tried it on the normal setting yet as I am working and cant afford my pc to tank like it almost did earlier.

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

John T. Haller
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Got it

It seems I'd set the Max Compression checkbox to use level 9 for 7-Zip, which is "Ultra" compression. It does *7* passes. That's right. *7*. That's why it's so slow. I'll release an update with it set to level 7, which is "maximum" compression. It uses 2 passes, so it will still be much slower, but not deathly slow.

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Zhrakkan
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TEST 1: Computer - Dell

TEST 1:
Computer - Dell Latitude C400 Laptop(866Mhz processor - 256MB ram)
Options selected
1- Complete Backup (all files)
2- Use 7z format
3- Standard Compression (basically the MAX compression option was not checked)
4- Show backup details
RESULTS
This seemed to run ok.

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

Papaganoush
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First test

When I ran the backup (Complete, Use 7z, Show detail) the following was displayed in the dialog.

Copy failed
[status bar]
Copy to F:\PortableApps\FileZillaPortable\Data\settings\FileZilla.xml.backup
Copy failed
backup Type:Entire Drive (F:)

Backup File: D:\...

Backing up files...

NOTE: The details windows is shown. Closing it will abort the backup.

--

I do not use FileZilla. As far as I can tell the copy did not fail. I will be keeping it on my drive. Works really well.

Papaganoush

John T. Haller
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Yeah

That's a known bug in the current release (those messages should be hidden). It'll be corrected in RC2, coming out tonight.

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Zhrakkan
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Looking forward to it. Even

Looking forward to it.
Even though I spent alot of time creating myself a custom made script to do it.

Smile

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

Uriel
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it was good

it was fine except for the fillzilla error
all you need now is a official portable drive defragementor

Weeee!

maikelsteneker
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Great!

This program totally ROCKS!

Summary:
+Backs up just what you want
+Just works
-I don't like directory structure
-I want multiple Firefoxes to be backed up (FirefoxPortable and Firefox2Portable)

The directory structure will be customisable in a later release, and the multiple Firefoxes actually ARE backed up. I think that even if you make ThisisaprogramPortable the right dir will be backed up!

Great work!

Edit: My Appdate (for all portable apps including 2 firefoxes) is only 15 mb!

John T. Haller
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Both

It'll back up anything that's in the right place. So it'll catch FirefoxPortable, Firefox2Portable, FirefoxPortableTest, etc... just as long as all those directories are in the same directory as the PortableAppsBackup directory.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Frank D. Hubeny
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Hello John;In the wrong

Hello John;

In the wrong forum I posted about "AutoStart" not picking up this release of portableapps backup. It picked it up I just had to edit the restore line a little. I found a error or two.

I did not have to rename anything on my second try to use it. It sems you have to do a little tweaking with "AutoStart" at times.

I did have one question about the copy failure concerning firefox.xml.backup. I have used 7-Zip that was installed on my PC to backup my USB drive and did not get this error. I password protected and made a "7zSFX" file.

I am trying different things to archive my USB and have found that some archive programs do not seem to like to zip a entire USB drive. They either crash on archiveing or do not archive properly and then you can not restore the file. "7-zip" did not have this problem.

I have not had any other problems with this release. But I do not customize any directories. I use your apps in the same directory they unzip to. I just copy this to the root of my USB. In fact all of my apps on my USB are the same way. If they are not yours I put them into a directory with the programs name like "GPG'. Then copy this directory to the root of my USB.

Frank D. Hubeny

John T. Haller
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FileZilla error / directories

Frank - The FileZilla error is within PortableAppsBackup.exe itself. Basically, special handling is necessary for FileZilla Portable when backing up app data due to a limitation in FileZilla itself. If you don't use FileZilla Portable, then you'll see a message stating that it couldn't copy the file. That's all that is. And it'll be fixed in the next release.

As for directories, PortableAppsBackup expects all the apps to be in a single folder. that folder can be the root if you want. But, in that layout, the Documents backup wouldn't work (App Data and Drive still will). Basically, it backs up all the Data subdirectories of all the directories next to its own. This'll back up all your settings for all the apps in the format I use, but not for others.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Frank D. Hubeny
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Hello John; Thank you for

Hello John;

Thank you for your reply. I only do a complete backup of my drive. It is fast and very simple. My comment on the directories that I use was perhaps misleading. I extract your apps and then copy them to my USB the way they extract.

Side note off topic: I really do appreciate all of your work. I have found other items from other sites that just do not work properly. To be honest I am very leary any more of useing anything other then your items. I have only three applications on my USB that are not yours. They are AutoStart, CyberShredder, and GPG/GPGshell. I may wish for another feature but your apps do work for me. I all so appreciate the fact that you only use things you can legaly convert if I can use that term. Seems like others folk do not care about this. This one area may be one of the things that causes OS's not to want to allow you to run portable anything in the future.

Frank D. Hubeny

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Maximum Compression

This feature is not usable. I tried it on my 1GB stick and the app ran for close to 3 hours when I finally killed it. Running without the option and the backup ran without error in less than 15 minutes.

John T. Haller
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Known issue

Have it set to 'ultimate' compression by mistake (*7* passes and TONS of RAM use). I'll be switching to 'maximum' (*2* passes, less RAM) in RC2 which I'm packaging.

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maikelsteneker
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Keep it!

I would like the ultimate compressoin to stay in the program. If you don't have much files to backup it's useful. And it will centainly be in the future, when computers have more RAM memmory.

John T. Haller
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Not much difference

The thing is, the difference between ultimate and maximum is only a few % in terms of file size, but the process can take 2 to 5 times as long with ultimate as with maximum.

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maikelsteneker
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Well...

Then it seems to be rather pointless indeed to keep it in the program!

John T. Haller
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But there *IS* a difference

But there *IS* a difference between normal and maximum. So unchecked would be normal. Checked would be maximum (instead of ultimate). I thought that was pretty clear.

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Papaganoush
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Restore

I backed up a 256 Drive and then removed everything except the backup utility. The restore worked perfectly.

Other than using 7z is there a way to run the restore from outside the drive? If I backed up a drive and lost it it would be great if the backup could "install" itself back to a new portable device.

This would also allow for imaging of several drives with the same data (for a trade show for example).

John T. Haller
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7-zip / Zip

Well, they're in standard 7z or Zip format (zip by default since it's more common) so you can use any Zip program (or 7-Zip or 7-Zip Portable) to restore it. It doesn't get a whole lot easier than that. I debated adding in the self-extracting option... but that complicates it a bit. I may add it to a later release.

If you're installing to multiple drives, it's pretty easy to script a batch file or something for that.

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Papaganoush
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7-zip/ Zip

I was not clear in my original post but this "auto" restore feature should be filed under "nice to have" Smile

The current functionality works in 99.99% of cases.

It is no problem to set up a script but if I am using 7-zip portable because I can't install a zip program on a machine, then lose my data (or the device) I can't restore my backup until I have re-installed 7-zip portable (which is in the backup).

Papaganoush
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Support for non-standard directory structures

I use a variation on the standard directory structure but the ability to select what folders to back up would be an excellent feature addition (As would the ability to exclude folders from the backup).

Papaganoush
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File Naming

Include the drive letter (or device name) in the automatic file naming to allow multiple drives to be backed up on the same day. I have 4 devices I regularly use and I have to change the directory name for the backup each time I use it. I would prefer to have the files named as:

PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Drive-F.7z
PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Drive-G.7z
PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Drive-H.7z

OR

PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Drive-Ocz.7z
PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Drive-Centrios.7z
PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Drive-SD.7z

Even if these names are configured on the device I could keep all my backups together and know when and what device each one is from.

John T. Haller
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Multiple drives

Hmm... I hadn't considered that actually, since most people seem to use a single device. I could pull the drive label from the autorun.inf in the root pretty easily and tack that on... probably between the date and the backup type, so you'd have:

PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-15-Jimmy-Drive.7z
PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Lightning-Data.7z
PortableAppsBackup-2006-11-16-Lightning-Documents.7z

Anyone else have any thoughts on this suggestion?

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

maikelsteneker
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Not a bad idea

That sounds like a good idea... I only use one drive though, so you should be able to turn in of. My drive is labeled "PortableApps" so the filename PortableAppsBackup-yyyy-mm-dd-PortableApps.7z would be nothing but confusing for me :).

Now you mention the autorun.inf file: could you release some kind of icon? For example, the grey icon with the white arrow? At the moment, I made one with the GIMP taking a screenshot of this page :P.

If someone is interested in the icon and/or my autorun.inf file (which enables a list of Portable Apps when you right-click your drive in Windows XP SP2): just click here.

sergiom99
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What about U3 drives?

John,
I think this is a cool idea, im downloading it now to give it a test.
however, U3 drives have a different dir structure, with \documents, \system, etc.

Can it be suited to work with them?

Thanks!

sergiom99
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another thing

I would be really useful to select which drive letter you want to backup.
I have the app in my HDD (for faster performance) and I wanted to backup my U3 I: drive.
but then I realized it was compressing drive C: and when I tried to cancel it there was no cancell button.

I would be great to select a drive.
Thanks!

Zhrakkan
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I am not sure if anyone

I am not sure if anyone cares, you guys program much better than I do.
I wrote my script and posted the code here:
http://www.digitalentropy.net/bb/index.php/topic,271.0.html

Feel free to use it for yourself should you want to use it.
I will continue to use it till I am a little more happy with the backup script John is making. Its almost there...

**************************************
4gb flash drive to store personal data
**************************************

Ryan McCue
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You may also like

Libertà PUSS, however it is more generalised with Backup, Sync and Secure.
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Ryan McCue
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wsm23
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Backup result.

Is the back up file basically a just a 7z file?

Could it be unzipped with 7-zip?

I am not sure why I would use 7-zip rather than PAM or PAB, but I just wanted to know.

8)
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Life is about the journey not the destination!

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