We’re buying a house, it’s now 100% sure

The loan guys have officially said that the fact that I’m here with a work visa is no obstacle for me getting a loan. So Carol and I are now 100% sure that we’re moving to Daybreak! I think it will happen in about 4 months (they still have to build the house). Exciting times!!!

Robocopy as a backup solution

Since Vista’s “Backup and Restore Center” sucks and most backup solutions are bloated, I’m using the very light and built-in Window’s robocopy command to create my backups. Here’s how you can do the same:

  1. On the backup location (external hard drive), place the code below on a text file named backup-create.bat
  2. Edit all the lines that start with “call :BACKUP_DIR”. These lines define which folders will be backed up and where they will be put inside the backup folder.
  3. Double click backup-create.bat to create your first backup.
  4. When it is done executing you will have a folder with today’s date. This folder will contain all the backed up files.
  5. Double click the backup-create.bat file whenever you want to create a new backup.

Here’s the code inside backup-create.bat

echo off
set backupFolder=00-backup-in-progress
set logFile=last-execution.log

REM ---- empty out the existing log file
type NUL > %logFile%

REM ---- Copy stuff in the user folder
call :BACKUP_DIR %backupFolder%\00-mine C:\Users\pete\Documents\00-mine
call :BACKUP_DIR %backupFolder%\Desktop C:\Users\pete\Desktop
call :BACKUP_DIR %backupFolder%\FileZilla C:\Users\pete\AppData\Roaming\FileZilla

REM ---- Copy Pictures, Music, and Movies
call :BACKUP_DIR PICTURES T:\Pictures
call :BACKUP_DIR MUSIC T:\Music
call :BACKUP_DIR MOVIES T:\Movies\saved

REM ---- timestamp (datestamp) backup folder
powershell Rename-Item %backupFolder% (Get-Date -format yyyy-MM-dd)

goto :EOF [Return to OS]

REM -------------------------------------------------

:BACKUP_DIR
echo BACKING UP %2 INTO %1
robocopy %2 %1 /256 /S /NP /XA:H /R:0 /XJ /LOG+:%logFile%
goto :EOF [Return to Main]

This is a brief description of the robocopy parameters:

  • The command already ignores files that exist in the destination and look just like the source. Meaning it only copies a file it does not exist in the destination or if it different than the source.
  • /256 Turn off very long path (> 256 characters) support.
  • /S Copy sub-directories
  • /NP Don’t log progress (%)
  • /XA:H Will skip copying any hidden files. – this did not ignore hidden folders!
  • /R:0 Do not retry to copy a file if there is an error (file is in use)
  • /XJ Exclude Junctions (this includes /XJD and /XJF). Junctions are a kind of file or folder link. – I’m not sure if this was really needed.
  • /MT[:n] Do multi-threaded copies with n threads (default 8). This takes advantage of all your processor cores. This makes my two core computer run slow, so I’m not enabling it.

Vista’s “Backup and Restore Center” sucks!

The majority of us computer users just want to back up EVERYTHING we have on our Documents folder. And Vista’s built in utility cannot do this for us.

The first backup choice it gives you is whether you want to back up some files or make a copy of your entire hard drive.

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If you want to back up your documents folder, you would think that “Back up files” would do the trick. And it almost does, but it has a terrible gotcha: It does not back up EVERY single file on the folder you specify. It only backs up the following:

image

This does not include *.exe , *.msi , *.bat and others. I’m a software developer so I have weird exe’s and msi’s that were hard to find and a lot of .bat files that I hand wrote.

So this leaves this utility be absolutely useless for me and for many, many people. I guess it’s better than nothing but you will lose information if a catastrophe hits you.

Another thing I did not like is that each time you created a new backup, you were really just throwing all of your files in a “bucket”. If a file with the same name and location already existed in the bucket, it would get overwritten. But files were never taken out of the bucket. So when you did a restore, your restored files would include files you had deleted from your computer but were kept in the backup bucket.

In short, it is a piece of junk. I only wasted my time figuring out how it works. I’m going back to the way I did backups before: Using a backup utility that came with my HP external hard drive.

UPDATE: I ended up cooking up my own solution using the robocopy command.

Back from Florida

I just  realized that I never posted that I was going to Florida, hey but I’m back with pictures! Carol and I went to Busch Gardens, the beach, and then I had to work for 5 days at a conference in Orlando. But we had tons of fun!

More details coming soon!

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Buying a house?

For the last month Carol and I have been looking at tons of houses. You know, the market is down and all that so homes prices went down. And we found a really nice, affordable home so we started the process to buy it!

The house is not built yet, we got to choose the lot (see on map) and floor plan.

ImageServer.aspx floor-plan

The lot is located at Daybreak in South Jordan, UT. They have a website where they show the neighborhood’s highlights.

We’re really excited about this and I think the chances of this going through are 98%. There is a slight chance (2%), that my work visa situation will be an obstacle. But I researched online and there are tons of people with work visas that have gotten mortgages. Things are looking good!