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Drive mirroring software?

Discussion in 'PC/Windows/Linux' started by PeteZ28, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    I keep my photos backed up on two identical WD external USB hard drives. I'm looking for an affordable, easy to use software that will automaticly mirror those drives. I didn't like the Memo or WD utility that came with them.

    It would seem such a software should exist; is a simple concept after all. Copy files from a card to a HD, then at a preset time like 3am, the software will look for files on both hard drives and copy back and forth until they are identical.

  2. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
  3. mdruiz


    Feb 18, 2008
    Orlando, FL

    Ghost will work..just make sure you only back up what you want. B/c if you do a full back up, it will basically mirror the drive, the OS included
  4. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    Thanks I'll check that out, forgot about Ghost.

    I'm not mirroring an OS drive, I just want my two externals to be exact duplicates at all times.

    It's too annoying to manually copy folders all the time, and nearly impossible to keep track of every file i do PP work on and resave. I just want a software that will scan both drives, and move from each of them what is on the other and ignore the rest.

  5. nykonian


    May 4, 2007
    New York
    If you want just the data, and if you happen to use Windows, SecondCopy works great...
  6. ajbooker


    Mar 17, 2008
    Omaha, NE
    I use the command line program robocopy (with windows vista) to copy from my pictures folder on my raid array (which is where my C:/ drive with vista is) to another hard drive within my computer. This occurs at 8am every day or at the next available opportunity as it is set up with the windows task scheduler. It's nice because it compares the source to the destination and only copies over new folders and files. Most days it just pops up and finishes in a blink since I don't shoot every day and there are no changes.

    Using this you could copy over from one to the other, it might even work by copying from A to B then B to A, but if you always use A as your master and just back it up to B every X hours it could work as well. That is assuming the drives are always the same drive letter, if that changes you would have to go in and edit the task in the task scheduler.
  7. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    Interesting ajbooker, thanks! Could it be possible that I can get what I want.. for free??? :eek: 

    Yes, typicly the drive letters do not change, "J" is the one I most often work from, and "K" is the backup. Only exception is on the road I'll bring "K" with me and that will have the files that need to be duplicated. But that's easy to do manually as I can just drag over a folder or two and those obviously include any files I modified while I am away from home.

    I have a pretty simple file organization structure. I have one folder labled "Nikon" for all of my DSLR images. Every card dump gets a folder, if multiple cards, I will usally creat subfolders in those folders. Folders get simply named with the subject and date, for example, "Sunrise09232008" or "Osprey09232008". If I have multiple "events" on a card, I will later cut those files and open a new folder with a new name and date. Any edited files get dumped into a new subfolder, and if I'm using Corel a backup folder for modified files is also automaticly created in the main folder.

    Works great and makes comparing folders easy, I can also choose when looking for a folder very easily to sort by subject or date modified.

    Despite my attempts at logic and simplicity, it can still be a real bear to sort through a hundred folders and look for one or two modified files...
  8. ajbooker


    Mar 17, 2008
    Omaha, NE
    I just got home so I can see how I have it working again.

    If you open up a command prompt in Vista (as I believe XP does not have this specific program, but xcopy is similar) and do
    robocopy /?
    That will show you the options.

    Whenever I download photos from a card with bridge they just get placed into my Pictures folder. In the task scheduler you specify a program to run, and then arguments. I just browsed to the robocopy program in C:\Windows\System32. The arguments that I use are:
    C:\Users\AJ\Pictures E:\ *.* /S
    C:\Users\AJ\Pictures being my source directory, E:\ being the directory of the photo backup partition on the other drive, *.* telling it to copy any sort of file, and the /S option to tell it to copy sub directories.

    In the task scheduler I created a new folder, since the only one existing was Microsoft, and put my task into that. It is set to repeat every day, not wake the computer to do the task, and to run the task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed. Of course, if anything changes like drive letters you have to go in and manually change it. The upside this isn't some extra program you have to install.
  9. Try the free Microsoft Synctoy!!!
  10. kiwi


    Jan 1, 2008
    Auckland, NZ
    I thought pretty much any external HD you bought had simialar software with it ?
  11. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    Both of the WD drives I purchaced came with a utility, but it appears they are only free to try for 30 days, and I didn't really like the interface, nor did they seem to really do what I wanted them to do. They appeared only to be able to back up one drive to the other. I want something that will actually sync two drives to be exact copies at all times, no matter which one is modified.

    It seems that Synctoy wants me to have everything sync'd BEFORE I run it. Kind of defeats the purpose, no???
  12. bucky919


    Feb 9, 2008
    Minot, ND
    The only other option would to be put two hard drives in Raid-1 I believe. I use Robocopy once a day is enough for me, better than nothing right? You could even schedule it more than once a day if you choose to. I will probably go raid as soon as I get a new Motherboard that supports it.
  13. RadarPing


    Feb 14, 2007
    Conroe, Texas
    I use a very small very easy to use piece of software called Mirror Folder. Be sure to check out the features page.

    It costs $39 and has a free demo.
    I can't say enough about this fantastic little program as far as being fire and forget. It will mirror to a UNC and through TCP/IP to another machine. You can mirror real time, on boot, on reboot or whatever interval you choose. It can also identify a drive by it's internal serial number and start the synch as soon as it's attached or discovered again (if you so choose)

    Hope this helps.
  14. No they dont have to be synched first. Just make a folderpair and decide what kind of synchronisation you want and press run and it will do it. If you are uncertain try it on a test folder (create a folder pair with a few files and try it so you feel comfortable)

    You can even set it to run on a schedule using the Windows scheduler, although it is bit of a quirky commandline switch, took me a while to figure out how to use it, Now it does out basic backup every day at 6 PM of our files...

  15. I've been using Karen's Replicator for years, free, easy to use and can even replicate deletions! Highly recommended.


    Apr 30, 2005
    I use norton ghost to backup my OS and photo drives every night. Never a problem and it has saved my butt numerous times.
  17. Norton, UCK!!! stay clear.

    Do you use OSX or windows ? (well windows i guess since we are in the pc forum lol)

    My brother works at the largest company in Sweden that handles backup robots and such for banks, hospitals and the goverment etc.

    He recommended this software: EMC Retrospect

    Its a simple version of what they use in many robots.

    I have my work disk being backed up every week, and my mail and personal contacts backed up to mobile me everyday.

    I have nothing on my systemdisk that i cant afford to lose as of now, just had a raptor disk die on me a few days ago, had a few 100 processed websized jpg's (most of them are backed up online) that i lost but luckily nothing more.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2008
  18. Sphinx


    Feb 8, 2008
    Software mirroring is not 100% realiable.

    hardware mirror is much better.

    If you have a desktop pc, then buy an adaptec raid card 1210SA for example and mirror them that way.

    Otherwise o use a NAS or similar with RAID-1. You can pick them up very cheap nowadays for about £50.
  19. ajbooker


    Mar 17, 2008
    Omaha, NE
    I'm giving Synctoy a try now, looks like it will do the task a bit better since it will keep my deletes up to date on my backup drive up to date, as well as any renames and moves.

    Thanks for letting me know about it Andréas.
  20. mvnsnd


    Jul 12, 2008
    Western NY
    For a great all around backup solution take a look at NTI shadow. It does mirroring and syncing in real time and can save versions as well:

    It's about $40. I have a copy and am very pleased. Just set it and forget it.
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