How to backup one external drive to another, using a Windows PC with limited permissions?


I have an external drive most of my work is on, and I use it at a work PC running Windows 7 Enterprise with limited permissions (small research team in a big organization).

I want to make sure that the 1-2TB data on my main external drive (my 'expansion' drive) is backed up, at least once a month. It is essentially my local filesystem that I work on. Aside from program files I keep very little on the PC's built-in drive. This is because I need way more storage than available on the built-in drive, and this enabling me to move and work on different machines as occasionally needed.

I was doing backups using Windows Backup & Restore, which enabled me backup files from the expansion drive to a backup drive when both are plugged in. This appears to work, but I'm finding I can't restore files: on my usual work PC I think because I lack administrator permissions (I get an error "either a required impersonation level was not provided or the provided impersonation level is invalid (0x80070542)") and on another PC without strict permissions I run into a different issue, maybe due to what I explain in the next paragraph (the error is "The system cannot find the path specified (0x80070003)").

The drive occasionally changes its ID (eg. one week it is G:\ the next it is H:\ ) because I am moving drives around. Automatic or incremental backup needs to account for that.

I am thinking to just drag-and-drop data from my expansion drive to my backup drive in Windows Explorer once a week or once a month to get a low-frequency incremental backup going. That seems like a clunky solution however since it a) relies on me remembering to manually kick that process off, and b) it is a lot of data to drag-and-drop.

How can I backup one external drive to another, using a Windows PC with limited permissions? Is my drag-and-drop solutions feasible, and are there any better (faster, more reliable, more automated) methods? Backup frequency should be at least once a month - the more the better but if it slows work down, that isn't better. Most work in the process month to month is restorable from emails, thumbdrives, and/or cloud storage that we move files around on when actively working with them.

Asking how others in my office deal with it, their responses are hopeful but not substantial.

asked on Super User Jul 5, 2017 by cr0

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