Windows Tip Sheet
Backup on the Quick
Use command line to configure automated CD/DVD backup.
I recently had a posting on my Web site, ScriptingAnswers.com
how to script Windows' built-in CD burning capabilities (WinXP and
Win2003). The fellow asking the question wanted to use CD-RWs as a
quick backup solution on some of his servers, burning off a few key
database files each night. Unfortunately, VBScript doesn't offer anything
really compelling, but it isn't your only weapon for automating Windows
Burn from the Command Line
and download CreateCD. This is a command-line utility that allows
you to access the CD-burning features of Windows from a batch file.
Build 1.25 is the latest version, and I've found it to be stable
and extremely useful.
Basic burning is easy: Run Createcd –r:e file file file file.
The –r option specifies the drive letter of the CD burner;
in this case, it's E:. Add the –e option to erase a CD-RW
before burning, and use –s:4 to slow things down to 4x burn
speed (you'll need to use this if your media can't support your
drive's max burn speed, which CreateCD will automatically use by
default). Interestingly, I've had some success using CreateCD with
writable DVD media, too, although not with every drive. I realize
that not too many servers are shipped with DVD-R drives, but it's
incredibly valuable for making automated backups on client computers
that have them. With many laptop computers in the "power"
range (e.g., Dell Inspiron, Toshiba Satellite) now shipping with
DVD burners, this can be a great way to have an automatic backup
while you're away from the office, without dropping another couple
of hundred bucks for a 5GB PC Card hard drive, as a DVD holds almost
as much data.
You can even use CreateCD to create bootable CDs, though it has
been a real trial for me to get right. You'll need to provide a
bootable floppy disk; CreateCD ships with a utility (FDRead) that
will image the floppy. Just run CreateCD with the –i: option
and specify the filename of the floppy image; tack on whatever other
files you'd like to be burned to the CD and voila—it’s
CreateCD's author, Alex Feinman, has graciously made CreateCD available
for free, although I encourage you to give him a small PayPal donation
(he suggests $5) if you like the utility.
| Did you know that Win2003 disables
its CD-burning features by default? Microsoft probably
figured most servers don't come with a burner anyway,
so why have the extra service running? But if you
do want to use it, enabling it is easy. Just start
the IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service, and you can have
it start all the time by selecting the “Automatic”
startup mode, otherwise choose “Manual”
to enable it.
• I've been drooling over this Satellite notebook from Toshiba,
with a built-in DVD multi-format burner: http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cmod.to?seg=SMB&coid=-27931&sel=0&rcid=-26367&ccid=1291021.
• Alex Feinman also makes an ISO Recorder PowerToy for XP
that burns ISO images using XP's built-in CD burning capability.
Very cool and available at http://isorecorder.alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm.
Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is Curriculum Director for IT Pro Content for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.