ZBACKUP is an exciting / simple backup system with so many advantages that it rallies with backup systems costing hundreds of pounds.
ZBackup grew out of necessity to organise backups for specific projects, extracting information from specific locations and combining them into one ZIP file in an organised and effective manner. Basically it automates PKZIP and introduces you to all the benefits of one of the best compression tools available. One of the biggest benefits is the incremental backup system. This means that you can have many generations of files in many different backups and you can choose which of which backup you wish to restore should the need arise. The backup files are in standard WinZIP format and this makes the analysis of the backups very easy.
Although it uses 'off the shelf' packages, it is the way that these packages are tied together that provide a very powerful and flexible backup system. For the DCS and SCADA systems; it has been the only system of backup that the Kelco, Knowsley site has used in the last four and half years.
How to do it ...
There are four files per backup that you need. I have called my example 'Sample' although you would call yours something a little bit more exciting than that ( I hope ) - so the four files would be called :-
( a text file containing the include list )
( a text file containing the exclude list )
( a blank zip file into which the backup files are going to stored )
( a shortcut to start the backup process )
Create a directory that is to be used. ( use a networked drive if you wish )
Create a new text file within the new directory ( To create the text file: from the windows explorer right click your mouse, choose 'new' and then 'text file' ). Type into the new file the 'Include' List ( see the example below ), naming it 'Sample.INC' as you save it. ( Make sure that it's extension is called .INC - some text editors allow you to save a file called Sample.INC.TXT - which can be confusing to the inexperienced - check using the windows explorer - to avoid the confusion I always set the properties of my explorer to show the whole file name. ) ( You'll have to think up a better name for yourself ). For a simple life it is best to have the files with the same name just changing the extension.
Do the same again for the 'Exclude List' .
EXC ( see the other example below )
Then go to PKWARE's website www.pkware.com
and download the PKZIP executable, ( here comes a slight rub; when I downloaded version 2.5 of PKZIP it was free, now it is $29 including a free trial period. ) Click here
if you wish to download a copy of PKZIP2.5 ( size 332k )
Make sure that the executable version of PKZIP resides in the newly created directory.
Now you need to create a ZIP file, if you have WinZIP then the process is easy, just click on a file - say the 'INC' file and then right click and choose 'AddToZip'. Once it is have been added you can then delete it from the zip file, so that you are left with a zip file with no contents or just leave it in there. WinZip can be obtained from their website www.winzip.com
, or if you want a copy of Sample.zip and then just change the name then click on here.
Right now the thing that gels it all together is the Shortcut. ( To create the shortcut: from the windows explorer, right click your mouse, choose 'new' and then 'shortcut' ). When the wizard starts you browse to point your shortcut at the PKZIP.exe in your new directory, once that is done the wizard will suggest a name for your new shortcut, I suggest you call it 'Freshen_Sample'.
The final stage is to edit the shortcut so that it includes the INCLUDE and EXCLUDE lists that you have created. Right click on the shortcut and choose 'Properties' and change the 'Target' window to something similar to the example below :- Obviously you'll have to change the name 'Sample
' to the name of your choice and perhaps the drive
letter names and the directory
names. And you'll either want to delete the 'before' and 'after' fields as required.
EXAMPLE of contents of the target field of the shortcut ...
e:\backup\Pkzip25.exe -after=01012002 -bef=01012003 -path=full -add=update e:\backup\Sample -include=@e:\backup\Sample.inc -exclude=@e:\backup\Sample.exc
BACKUP\SAMPLE.INC ( Include List )
rem | This is the | Project - sample
rem | Include List | Filename - sample.INC
c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\normal.dot
rem You can include networked drives here if you wish
rem just make sure that they are always available when you choose to do your backup.
BACKUP\SAMPLE.EXC ( Exclude List )
rem | This is the | Project - sample
rem | Exclude List | Filename - sample.EXC
rem Add others as needed ...
This is a very simple but powerful, and it's power comes in it's simplicity. It can be configured in any way you like and a single zip file can be copied to remote machines, or tape backup systems, so that you can end up with many backup copies spread over many machines, thus minimising the chances of lost data. There is also a checking facility within Winzip that will check the integrity of the resultant ZIP file, the major benefit of that is that you have Winzip checking the functionality of PKZIP - two different packages cross checking with each other.
Every time I freshen my backups - all I do - is using the Windows explorer is to click on the ZIP file, Ctrl-C ( copy ) and then Ctrl-V ( Paste it ) and it creates a new copy of the file in the same directory, I can then click on the shortcut which will perform the backup. I then end up with two versions of the backup, the current one and the one just prior to the current one. This means that if I have accidentally backed up a file that was recently corrupted then I have always got my previous backup to which to resort. When it is realised that most information is lost as a result of human error rather than disk failure or any other hardware failure - you can realise the benefit of having a good but simple backup system. I rate this backup system very highly compared with others. If you look at the backup system that comes with Win2000 ( for example ) the compression is very poor, it's father, grandfather status is confusing, it can't backup files that are resident on other machines and it is overly complicated. It only advantage over this ZBACKUP system comes in the area of restoration - which shouldn't ever be needed, if restoration is needed then it should be done manually anyway. I hope you agree with me on these issues and find it a very useful tool to add to your toolkit - Please let me know your views ...
THE PKZIP ATTRIBUTES
I think they got themselves confused with the order of the Date - they say it looks at the current settings of the host machine to know whether it is DDMMYY format or the American format MMDDYY - you'll just have to work it out by trial and error. ( or avoid the complication - as I do ). OR indeed DDMMYYYY format - Suck it and see - don't trust what PKZIP2.5 documentation says on this regard.
The 'path=full' is the most useful mode as it will not dive into subdirectories ( unless you have specifically identified in the INCLUDE List ).
The main attribute to pay attention to '-ADD' setting this to 'UPDATE' is by far the best mode to use it in, UPDATE will ADD a file if it doesn't already exist and will only update it if the date of the file stored in the ZIP file is older than the one you are wishing to backup.
Additional information can be found in the PKZIP help file
- Please remember that this information associated with PKZIP2.5, and very little of it is relevant more than is detailed above.
Things to consider if you are having problems ...
The DOS shell provided by Win95 and Win98 can only refer to files ( including directories) in their 8.3 format, thus the directory 'Program Files' appears as 'Progra~1' when listed using the DIR command from the DOS shell. I know this isn't a problem in WinNT, Win2000 and therefore presumably isn't a problem in WinXP. You can check out whether you are going to get into this difficulty by opening a DOS shell and typing 'CD PROGRAM FILES' from the root directory - if you can get into the directory then the version of DOS that Windows provides can handle long filenames. Otherwise you'll have to find out the format of all filenames and directories that you are going to use as defined from within the DOS shell and change your INC file accordingly - referencing the 'c:\Program Files' directory as 'c:\Progra~1' instead.
If you suspect the date attributes are presenting a difficulty then remove them and see if you are still getting the problem.
If you are still having problems then point your INC file to just one file, and make sure that you can capture that one file into the Zip file.
If you need further advice then contact me by email
including your INC and EXC lists and SHORTCUT ( you can just copy and paste - using CTRL-C and CTRL-V ) and I'll try and give you some help.
One thing is for sure - once you start using it - you'll realise it's flexibility and compression capabilities and with that comes it's power.
It's History ...
I have ZIP files going back into the 80's and started using a suite of BAT ( batch files for DOS ) to create ZIP files in 1991. I realised the benefits of an automated backup system back then. Nowadays the use of the Shortcut does away with the need for the suite of BAT files. The INCLUDE and EXCLUDE list functionality of the PKZIP command makes it far more powerful that can be immediately realised making PKZIP ( and this backup procedure ) as relevant today as it was then.