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Fast-Backup Help

This help page is for Version 3.00. If you don't have the latest version, you can upgrade for free (whether you've registered or not).


Installation

To install Fast-Backup, please first download it and run the downloaded file. Fast-Backup works on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2011.

Getting Started

Doing your first backup is easy. Simply run Fast-Backup (from the Start menu) and select the "From" folder and the "To" folder / drive. Then double-check that the destination drive is available for doing a backup (ie. it doesn't have important information that you want to keep). Then hit the "Start" button and that's all there is to it.

Re-Running a Fast-Backup Job Quickly

When the backup is complete, Fast-Backup will save the backup job so that you can quickly re-run it again next time. You will see that Fast-Backup makes a _FAST-BACKUP folder on your "To" drive and you can quickly run the backup again by simply double-clicking the "Fast-Backup" icon in that folder. If there has been a change to the destination's drive letter, Fast-Backup will handle this automatically.

Backup Options

The backup options (in the "Options" screen) are as follows:-

  • Full File History - This allows you to recover deleted, modified, or corrupted files from several backups earlier. The number of backups for which historical data is kept is dependent on the size of the backup drive. Every time a backup is done, and a file is either deleted or modified, then the previous version is placed in the _OLD_yyyy_mm_dd folder (where yyyy_mm_dd is today's date). When a backup is done, the hard disk will keep on filling up until it is 99% full at which point it will delete the oldest _OLD folders until there is enough free space for the backup to continue. Removable hard drives are quite cheap these days, so it is worth getting a large removable drive which can save lots of history. Whenever a file is deleted or updated, the old version of the file is placed into the _OLD_yyyy_mm_dd folder.

    Read more about Full File History.
  • Beep - If you want to know when the backup is finished, then tick the "Beep" checkbox so that a one second beep is sounded when the backup is complete. This uses your computer's internal speaker, so you don't need your own speakers turned on for this to work.
  • Hidden Files and Folders - If you want hidden files and folders to be copied then you can tick the "Hidden Files and Folders" checkbox. For the C Drive, it is recommended to leave this turned off and for all other drives, it is recommended to have this turned on.
  • System Files and Folders - There are some operating system files and folders that should not generally be backed up. They are "RECYCLER", "System Volume Information" and "pagefile.sys", etc. If however you do want to back these up, then tick the "System Files and Folders" checkbox.
  • No Sub Folders - Sometimes you may want to only copy the files in a folder without copying any of the sub folders. If that is the case then tick the "No Sub Folders" checkbox.
  • Exclude Folders - You can exclude up to 5 folders. You can use wildcards at the start or the end of the exclude path. For example if you are doing a backup of a backup, you may not want to backup all the historical data, so you could have an exclude of  *_OLD_2*
  • Auto-run - This is an option (not displayed on the "Options" screen) which is designed for Automatic Daily Backups and will be described in that section.

Whenever you change the options (or the Speed below), then they are automatically saved in the "Settings.ini" file in the _FAST-BACKUP folder.

Setting the Speed

You may think that you will always want to run the backup at full speed. If you are backing up a home computer, then that would probably be correct, but if you are backing up at work across a network then by backing up at full speed, you could dramatically affect other people who are also using the network. For that reason, it is advisable to run at 75% or less. See more on adjusting the speed and Smart-Share.

Command Syntax

If you want to create your own shortcuts (or bat or cmd) files for backups, or want to make a scheduled task, then the syntax is:-

FAST-BACKUP [FromFolder] [ToFolder] [/FFH] [/NS] [/HIDDEN] [/SYSTEM] [/BEEP] [/X:path] [/S:speed] [/AUTORUN]

Where the arguments are as follows:-

FromFolder From Folder – The folder (or drive) which needs to be backed up
ToFolder To Folder – The folder (or drive) which is to contain the backup
/FFH Full File History – Save previous versions of files to _OLD_ folders
/NS No Sub-Folders – Don't backup sub-folders
/HIDDEN Hidden Files and Folders – Include hidden files and folders in the backup (for the C Drive, it is recommended to leave this turned off and for all other drives, it is recommended to have this turned on)
/SYSTEM System Files and Folders – Include operating system files and folders in the backup (not recommended)
/BEEP Beep – Beep at the end (long low beep if insufficient disk space)
/X:path Exclude Folders – Exclude the path specified from backup (up to 5 full From paths). If the exclude path has spaces in it, then you need to have speech marks around the entire switch (eg. "/X:C:\My Path")
/S:speed Speed – Specify the speed of the backup. The speed must be 100, 75, 50 or 25
/AUTORUN Autorun – Start the backup immediately without any prompts (used for scheduled backups)

For more details on these switches, see "Backup Options" above.

Automatic Daily Backups

This is to run a backup automatically every night (or some other time span). Typically, it would be from the main hard drive to another hard drive on the same computer, or to another computer. The purpose of these scheduled backups is to be able to quickly recover files that have been lost or to recover a file from the past. This should not be used as a substitute for off-site backups.

It would be best to do a manual backup first using the From and To paths that you want the automatic backup to use just to make sure that you've got the logic correct. If it is a big backup you could just do the first few minutes and then stop the backup and let the scheduled backup finish it later.

For specific steps on setting up an Automatic Daily Backup, choose your operating system:-

Automatic Daily Backups for: Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008

  1. Do one or more manual backups first (ie. get used to the manual process before automating it)
  2. If you're using Windows XP, see the Windows XP instructions below
  3. If you're using Windows 8, see the Windows 8 instructions below
  4. Click on the "Start" button, then click "Control Panel"
  5. Click on "Administrative Tools" (possibly under "System and Maintenance"), then "Task Scheduler"
  6. Click on "Create Basic Task"
  7. Enter a Name for your task (eg. Fast-Backup) and click "Next"
  8. Select your Frequency (eg. Daily) and click "Next"
  9. Enter the Start Time (eg. 11pm) and click "Next"
  10. Make sure the Default Action is set to "Start a program", then click "Next"
  11. Browse to the path where Fast-Backup is located (eg. C:\Program Files (X86)\Fast-Backup) and select "Fast-Backup" (or "Fast-Backup.exe"), then click "Next". If you are doing a scheduled backup to a removable drive, then the file you select should be the one that's on the removable drive. This is to make sure that the backup only runs if the correct removable drive is connected.
  12. In the "Add arguments" box (see screenshot below):-
    • Enter the From Path (eg. J:\ - in speech marks if the path has a space)
    • Enter the To Path (eg. "K:\J Backup" - in speech marks if the path has a space)
    • Enter /FFH (if you want the Full File History)
    • Enter /AUTORUN
    • Click "Next"
    Tip: In the latest version, you can cut and paste the command line string from the "Options" screen in Fast-Backup (when the correct backup options are selected)

    Scheduled Task in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008

  13. Click "Finish"

Automatic Daily Backups for Windows XP

  1. Do one or more manual backups first (ie. get used to the manual process before automating it)
  2. Click on the "Start" button, then click "Control Panel"
  3. Click on "Scheduled Tasks" (possibly under "Performance and Maintenance")
  4. Click on "Add Scheduled Task" and click "Next"
  5. Browse to C:\Program Files\Fast-Backup and select "Fast-Backup" (or "Fast-Backup.exe"), then click "Next". If you are doing a scheduled backup to a removable drive, then the file you select should be the one that's on the removable drive. This is to make sure that the backup only runs if the correct removable drive is connected.
  6. Select "Daily" and click "Next"
  7. Make the Start Time 11pm and click "Next"
  8. The Username should be set to your Username (COMPUTERNAME\Username)
  9. If you have a blank password (ie. you don't need to enter a password when you start Windows), then you need to follow these steps first
  10. Enter your Password (if you have one) into the two Password boxes and click "Next"
  11. Click "Open advanced properties" and click "Finish"
  12. In the "Run" box (see screenshot below):-
    • Enter the From Path (eg. J:\ - in speech marks if the path has a space)
    • Enter the To Path (eg. "K:\J Backup" - in speech marks if the path has a space)
    • Enter /FFH (if you want the Full File History)
    • Enter /AUTORUN
    Tip: In the latest version, you can cut and paste the command line string from the "Options" screen in Fast-Backup (when the correct backup options are selected)

    Scheduled Task in Windows XP

  13. Click "Apply"
  14. If you get an error like this when saving the task then it is most likely because you have a blank password and need to follow these steps first

Automatic Daily Backups for Windows 8

  1. Do one or more manual backups first (ie. get used to the manual process before automating it)
  2. Right-click on the Desktop and choose "All Apps"
  3. Scroll to the right of the screen and choose "Task Scheduler" (under the "Administrative Tools" section)
  4. Click on "Create Basic Task"
  5. Enter a Name for your task (eg. Fast-Backup) and click "Next"
  6. Select your Frequency (eg. Daily) and click "Next"
  7. Enter the Start Time (eg. 11pm) and click "Next"
  8. Make sure the Default Action is set to "Start a program", then click "Next"
  9. Browse to the path where Fast-Backup is located (eg. C:\Program Files (X86)\Fast-Backup) and select "Fast-Backup" (or "Fast-Backup.exe"), then click "Next". If you are doing a scheduled backup to a removable drive, then the file you select should be the one that's on the removable drive. This is to make sure that the backup only runs if the correct removable drive is connected.
  10. In the "Add arguments" box (see screenshot below):-
    • Enter the From Path (eg. J:\ - in speech marks if the path has a space)
    • Enter the To Path (eg. "K:\J Backup" - in speech marks if the path has a space)
    • Enter /FFH (if you want the Full File History)
    • Enter /AUTORUN
    • Click "Next"
    Tip: In the latest version, you can cut and paste the command line string from the "Options" screen in Fast-Backup (when the correct backup options are selected)

    Scheduled Task in Windows 8

  11. Click "Finish"