So you want to make a Batch Backup File.
What's a Batch File? you may well ask, if you've never had anything to do with Dos. It's
simply a single file that gives your computer a series of instructions to carry out
several tasks. You double-click it, and it does all the rest automatically. It can save
you an awful lot of work, and that's a good thing for anybody, in my book. It's a simple,
powerful way to automate some time-consuming tasks.
And I've done it all for you. (Well, almost).
For starters, let's make a Batch file to regularly copy all your Navigator bookmarks:
Now, for the curious, I'll explain what you've done.
xcopy means "copy all the files/information within this folder, including any
subfolders" Then follows the path to the file you want to copy.
a:\ means "copy it to this destination" (in this case our "a" or
floppy drive). Then follows the name you want to give it on the floppy (you can call it
anything you like, but you must give it the proper extension, here .htm) The /i
tells it to make what's been copied a file and not a folder.
Run this regularly so that your bookmarks will always be reasonably up-to-date if you
should ever lose them.
Ready for more? OK.
Now think about what other info you would hate to lose if you ever had a total loss of
your hard drive, or perhaps even if you suddenly lost one of your favorite programs
entirely and all the info you have carefully stored in it. Of course, I don't mean by this
your regular work, say if you are a writer. This you would backup every hour/day/month,
and you will already have a normal working method for this. The Batch file is better
suited to storing info that only occasionally changes. Such as copies of all your
In my case, I like to keep all in and out recent correspondence, also copies of technical
notes that I keep updating and adding to regularly.
You can put all these into the same Batch file, there's no limit to the number of lines,
at least not until you get to the limit of how much a floppy can hold (of course, you
don't have to copy to floppy, you can put it all into another part of your hard drive if
So here's a copy of how the lines in my Backup.bat file look:
BOOKMARK.HTM a:\bkmk.htm /i
PROGRAM\DEFAULTS\BOOKMARK.HTM a:\bkmk2.htm /i
xcopy C:\EUDORA\IN.MBX a:\Eudora.txt /i
xcopy C:\EUDORA\OUT.MBX a:\Eudora.txt /i
xcopy C:\EUDORA\INBOX.MBX a:\Eudora.txt /i
xcopy C:\EUDORA\OUTBOX.MBX a:\Eudora.txt /i
xcopy C:\TEXTPAD\TECHNI~1\ a:\Technical.txt\
xcopy C:\TEXTPAD\TIPS a:\Tips.txt\
The \ at the end of the last 2 lines instead of the /i tells it to make a separate folder
for that info, so that all my tips will appear on the floppy included in a separate Text
folder called Tips.
Unless you use Eudora, of course your pathnames to your In- and Out- Email boxes will be
different and you will have to alter these accordingly. And remember that as this is all
working in Dos (ugh) the pathnames must be in the truncated Dos format (i.e. they cannot
be more than 8 characters). But the formula displayed above will give you the general
You'll need a bit of trial and error at the start if, like me, you've never seen Dos in
your life before. But do give it a go. It's well worth it.