How to backup files across a network easily

Before I start, a friendly remind­er that you only have a day left to enter the con­test for a free Click­free Trans­former backup sys­tem. Tell me a backup hor­ror story.

It’s one thing to backup the files on your loc­al com­puter and anoth­er to backup files stored on oth­er com­puters on your net­work, or Net­work Attached Stor­age drives or serv­ers.

In the first case, odds are you simply drag and drop files and folders that are import­ant to you to a blank CD or DVD and burn your backup.

In the lat­ter, well, usu­ally a much more com­plex pro­cess with ded­ic­ated backup soft­ware is required.

Recently I grabbed a Click­free Trans­former SE to do some simple backup work on my desktop and laptop com­puters. Basic­ally, the Click­free Trans­former plugs into a USB port. Then you plug a USB Hard Drive into the Trans­former SE.

And the magic begins. The soft­ware quickly scans your loc­al sys­tem and cop­ies import­ant doc­u­ments, pho­tos, media and oth­er files to the USB drive attached to the Trans­former SE.

But back to the theme of this post, ‘back­ing up files across a net­work eas­ily’. Basic­ally there’s two things you need to do.

Map­ping your net­work drives

First, you have to have ‘mapped’ the net­work drives con­tain­ing files to be backed up. Map­ping the drive is a simple pro­cess that tells your loc­al Win­dows oper­at­ing sys­tem to treat the net­work drive as if it is a loc­al drive — even assign­ing a drive let­ter to the net­work drive.

Microsoft has a pretty good walk­through on map­ping drives in Win­dows XP. The pro­cess for Vista and Win­dows 7 is very sim­il­ar.

Con­fig­ur­ing the Click­free Trans­former SE
And this pro­cess is pretty simple. First, you have to get to the Click­free backup con­fig­ur­a­tion screens.

If you’ve seen a backup run, then you know there’s a count­down pri­or to the pro­cess begin­ning. When you can­cel that count­down, you abort the cur­rent backup. But you also now have the abil­ity to con­fig­ure your backup by select­ing which drives (loc­al or mapped net­work) and file types you want to back up.

This is import­ant because it’s pos­sible, when back­ing up mapped net­work drives, to try and backup more files than you have drive space avail­able for…should  you try and backup your entire photo, video, and music lib­rar­ies to one drive, for example. If this hap­pens, then the backup also fails to the con­fig­ur­a­tion screens, allow­ing you to tweak the con­fig so you can fit the backup on the drive.

Ready to roll?
And that’s all there is to it. The next time your backup runs, either manu­ally or auto­mat­ic­ally, files on those mapped net­work drives will be backed up along with the ones on your loc­al com­puter drives. Of course, depend­ing on how much you’re back­ing up, you may need to split the backup across a couple of drives 🙂

Published by Brad Grier geek.hack