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Replicate, Migrate, Transfer, Backup, Restore Multiple Folder Paths & Subtree w/ or w/out ZIP, TAR Archiving

I'd like to find a tool, utility, app or Scripts/ Automation that allows me to selectively specify multiple/ several folder & file paths on a drive.

For example, Chrome, Opera, Comodo, Outlook, Windows Live Mail, Apple etc.

E.g.

  • C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail
  • C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\My Documents\OneNote Notebooks
  • C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
  • C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Chromium\User Data\Default
  • and so on..

They all store some relevant data, settings, files and information for a certain user and machine.

Main Functions: I'd like to be able to I want to be able to easily do the following things with those paths and their entire subtree:

  • Backup
  • Restore
  • Directly Replicate and Migrate, with and/or without Backup/ Archiving & Restore as an intermediate stage

Additional clarification:

Yes:

  • Being able to specify & select various paths
  • Preferably maintain timestamps on all files and folders
  • Overwrite if required

No:

  • No real time syncing required
  • No Scheduling required

To: Exact same original file paths

  • Same Disk or
  • Another Disk

Solution Options: To archive and extract a list of paths/ archives

  • A tool/ app/ utility that will allow me to select multiple paths
  • An archiving app (for 7z, ZIP, TAR or RAR) that can be scripted or run via a GUI
  • Are you asking for a synchronisation tool to keep the different folders in sync? In that case Free File Sync (Windows), or a rsync alternative (*nix) is well worth taking a look at. – holroy Jul 28 '15 at 19:08
  • No. Did you see me put Sync in the post or title? Also, Jan Doggen you need to first understand what I'd like before "editing the title" and post. I'd like Replication as well as Backup & Restore - B & R from and to same machine or other machines. So..? – Alex S Jul 29 '15 at 4:57
  • Would a batch script with Robocopy work? It offers no archiving, but all other requirements are there – Tymric Jul 29 '15 at 8:06
  • @Alex S Maybe that is because you write very hard-to-understand questions. Just look at the title. – Jan Doggen Jul 29 '15 at 8:48
  • @JanDoggen - I appreciate the simplification. I would've gone with that too. But, being able to specify all 4 key words / functions is essential. Also, whether the method/ app supports ZIP/ TAR archiving is also a key variable. – Alex S Jul 29 '15 at 12:58
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This would be quite simple to achieve with python scripts and a very little work.

The trick would be to read in from either the command line or a file a list of the items to be duplicated and a destination then use the brilliant library item os.walk to find the duplicate the items in the destination.

  • Free, Gratis, Open Source & Cross Platform
  • You could also consider adding file/directory name patterns to ignore
  • You can decide if you do or don't wish to include empty directories
  • With a little more work destination can be a zip/tar/tar.gz/rar/etc. python understands those
  • Destinations could be remote and connected with network share, FTP, etc.
  • You could add a GUI with a number of GUI tools if you would like
  • Optionally you could encrypt your backups
  • Valuable learning experience but lots of community help
  • Whats ironic is I went to SuperUser to ask for some help in that direction and figured maybe I could get some PowerShell stuff to work with 7zip on commandline, and they threw me out here to ask for Software Recommendations. And then Jan Doggen edits the title how he wants it. – Alex S Jul 29 '15 at 4:55
  • 1
    But thanks, I will be looking into Python vs Powershell in case I cant find an App/ GUI to do so – Alex S Jul 29 '15 at 5:19
  • I personally would seriously consider a command line solution rather than an app as you could more easily schedule a regular run. – Steve Barnes Jul 29 '15 at 5:46
  • I have no requirement to schedule a regular run. I want the ability to easily select various paths when I want, where I want. – Alex S Jul 29 '15 at 5:47
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Please don't disregard the following option, not at least till you read the entire answer, and/or tested it out. But I do believe that Free File Sync could meet most, if not all of your requirements.

Multiple folders

You can specify if you want to synchronize one or multiple folders, and you can choose to ignore subfolders as well if you want to. Of course all settings, for both folders and synchronisation can be saved and restored at your discretion.

Regarding main functions

Free File Sync can do backup or restore or directly replicate and migrate, through changing the file synchronisation options, and you can different options for all of the following:

  • File only present in left directory
  • File newer in left directory
  • Changed in both directories
  • File newer in right directory
  • File only present in right directory

And for each of them you can choose an appropriate action:

  • Do nothing, or ignore
  • Copy left or right
  • Delete

This allows for any combination of backup, restore, replication and migration. And it works across disks and/or network paths.

Regarding additional requirements

You can select various paths, and it's your choice to compare either on file contents or timestamps, which will be preserved. Overwrite will be done, if you synhronisation settings says that it is your preferred action.

The process will be two steps, first a scan to check for what needs to be done according to your settings, and the actual synchronisation. But the real time synchronisation is an extra tool, which you don't need to have running at all.

The file paths can be on the same or another disk. And whilst the default is to copy file paths and file names, you can even set up the synchronisation to handle versioning in the resulting directory.


In sum the only thing Free File Sync doesn't do is to combine the synchronised directory into a single archive file, but it does the other so well, that it is well worth looking into. And if you need for it be in a single archive file, then you can synchronise it, and then use "Send to comppressed file" (or whatever archiving tool you want) and make that archive afterwards.

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