Automating backups to mediamax

I was duly impressed with the 25GB of free storage mentioned in this lifehacker post, http://lifehacker.com/software/online-storage/get-25gb-of-free-online-storage-at-streamload-mediamax-234272.php, and so I set out to find a way for it to be useful. It’s worth mentioning that even though you can upload 25GB you can only download 1GB without paying a $5/month fee. But I’ll only need that when I need these backups or I may be able to keep backups of just the REALLY important stuff.

So the first thing to figure out is what’s the really important stuff. I googled around a bit to see what others thought was worthy of backing up. It seems like this is the sort of stuff people worry about the most:

  1. original content I created
  2. pictures
  3. financial documents
  4. system configuration files
  5. saved games
  6. system drivers(or I would if I could figure out a way to do it from the command line)
  7. registry AKA System State
  8. system keys/licenses
  9. bookmarks from browsers
  10. scripts

Things I’m NOT backing up:

  • my .pst file. I only use Outlook at work and I have a different backup solution there.
  • my calendar or address book. Those are again generally work related and the data is backed up via syncing to my Palm and another backup solution.

Then it’s time to set up a mediamax account at http://www.mediamax.com. Answer their confirmation email. And also use a command line interface to log into the FTP interface and create your backup directory. Basically that comes down to the following:

Start->Run->cmd->ftp ftp.mediamax.com -> username->password->mkdir backup->quit

Then it’s time to set up your backup scripts. I based mine off of the efforts of Adam Pash and BostonMark ala http://lifehacker.com/software/version-control/hack-attack-simple-version-control-170164.php. You can find my versions at http://danieljdoughty.com/version-control-with-ftp-backup.0.2.bat and http://danieljdoughty.com/ftp-backup.ftp. You may have to right click and select save as. I set up these files in the c:\scripts folder. If you want to put them there, you’ll probably have to create the directory. If you choose another location, you will have to adjust the batch script to compensate for the new location of the scripts directory.

You’ll need to modify these files. Modify the version control script with textpad and alter the section that is to be downloaded, AKA %HOMEPATH%\My Documents\Simple Version Control. And you’ll need to set your own username and password in the ftp-backup.ftp configuration file.

If you want to backup your IE bookmarks I advise you to use autohotkey, http://lifehacker.com/software/software/download-of-the-day-autohotkey-118270.php. Then you want to download my autohotkey used to get IE bookmarks, http://danieljdoughty.com/getIEBookmarks.ahk

CAVEAT: I’m an avid Firefox user and IETab user. Don’t bash on me backing up IE stuff. I work with developers who are instructed to code only to IE. It’s easier to use IE for these internal web pages than to argue with every developer in the department about how Firefox is different. I’m usually having a hard enough time convincing them that there’s a problem with the app.

Now run a test run. It’s best to do that from a command window as you will be able to scroll back and see if there is a problem somewhere in the processing. If it looks good, then log into mediamax. Under the File Manager section you will see a folder titled Uploaded File. Expand it out and you will see your backup files.

Finally schedule that backup in your windows scheduled tasks ala http://lifehacker.com/software/feature/hack-attack-using-windows-scheduled-tasks-153089.php and you’ve got a backup set up for some of your most important stuff.

CAVEAT: I’ve heard awful reviews of mediamax’s customer service. So you may want to choose another webhost for this sort of thing. Since I’m not paying for their service, nor do I intend to use more than 1GB ever, I don’t think I’ll worry about it too much.

THINGS LEFT TO DO: I should add some code to delete the original backup folders and not delete the zipped file and also to add some limits. For instance, only keep local copies of the backups for so long. Also to delete remote copies after some time. Maybe tomorrow.

Also need this thing to clean up after itself.