Quick Tips

Using 7-Zip To Do Data Backup


I've been using 7-Zip for several years now. I wrote a short blog post about 7-Zip back in October of 2008 on FrugalNYC. You can read about why I use it on that post. Today, I wanted to give you a real-life example of using 7-zip to do some data backup in Windows XP.

If you want to do manual backup of a folder, all you need to do is right click on the folder, choose 7-zip and then Add to Archive and that would be the end of it. Your archive file will be located in the same folder you just ran the archive command on (eg. your Desktop).

One of the best features a utility program can have is to have a command line feature. With a command line (aka console) feature, you can automate tasks using batch files or in this case, using the windows scheduler to automatically do regular backups.

Assuming you installed 7-zip in the default directory c:\program files\7-zip you can automate the directory backup using the below steps:

  • Control Panel -> Scheduled Tasks
  • Add Scheduled Task -> Next -> Click on the Browse button
  • Browse to C:\Program Files\7-Zip\ and choose 7z.exe and click Open
  • Give it a name such as John Doe's Data Backup
  • Choose the backup interval, I like the weekly interval. Click Next
  • Now Select the start time. I'll schedule it for Every Friday at Noon (lunch time) and to repeat every 1 week. Click Next
  • Now you will need to put in your login name and password. Then click Next
  • Check the box marked Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish
  • Click Finish

On the next window we want to verify the Run Command and the Start In folder.

Here is the command I have set in the Run Command
"C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" a jdoe.7z "C:\Data"

  • "C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe" is the application that will run
  • a is the switch that tells 7-zip to create an archive
  • jdoe.7z is the file name of the 7-zip archive
  • "C:\Data" is the folder I want backed up
The Start in field is where the archive file will reside. This should be another disk drive, external drive or server. I point it to a folder on my FreeNAS server \\freenas\public.

Now you can test the scheduled task by right clicking on the task you just created and choosing Run. For best results, I recommend you create a batch file with the command you want to run, then all you have to do is point the Run field to the batch file. This will also allow you to add additional directories into the batch file as additional lines instead of creating another scheduled task.

What tools do you use to do your data backup? Do you use 7-Zip? Do you FreeNAS?

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FrugalNYC said...

Thanks for the comment! Glad you found the information helpful. Thanks for the tips as well.

Alexis said...
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