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Saving two copies of a file in different locations can be done... but it's pretty tricky!

Using Windows XP, how do I save a file to another hard drive or main hard drive and USB, all at the same time? I know how to save each and drop down and save to another drive, etc. but is it possible to do it in one fell swoop?

In this excerpt from Answercast #85, I look at the possibility of saving a file automatically in two locations.

Save two copies of a file

No. The short answer is no. I'm not aware of a way to make an arbitrary application do that kind of a thing.

If you want to save two copies of the file, in two different locations, it's on you to go through the File > Save process once for each copy you want to save.

Write a macro

Now... I'm hesitating a little bit because, heck it's only software, right? It's possible... if you are running a program that has an underlying macro language or programming language like, for example, Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word has a fairly powerful macro or programming language included with it - Visual Basic for applications is part of most Microsoft Office applications.

You could, if it was that important to you, write a macro that did what you requested.

In other words, you would run this macro and it would save the file twice in two different locations. It could get really complex because the macro might have to pay attention to the current file name, ask you where you wanted things to be put or assume you wanted them to always, and forever be put in these two specific places.

It's complicated

Like I said, it gets complicated pretty quickly. But to be complete, I do have to point out that applications that include that kind of macro programming language capability can, in fact, be programmed to do pretty much anything you might want to do. You just have to be a bit of a programmer to do it.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6219 - January 7, 2013 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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6 Comments
Steve (PC Resolver)
January 7, 2013 8:29 AM

One of your "you may also be interested in" links points to Auto-hotkey which do what the OP wants (for free). You could also try Phrase Express.
The trick is either to 'dump' the file at the root directory of the usb drive (or other location) or to ask the software to 'replicate' the folder structure. i.e. if the file is stored in folderA/folderB/filename.txt and is to be saved there and in another place then the software needs to see if folderA and folderB exist and create them if they don't!
Not easy but achievable if the need is great enough!
For me, I'd use something like SkyDrive or Dropbox that automatically stores the files in 2 places (the computer and the cloud) and includes limited versioning.

Suzan
January 8, 2013 9:22 AM

Actually, if you use the copy and paste commands, you can just paste again at that second location. I have to copy one file to all my student's folders each term and I have pasted the same file 30 times without having to start over!

Reid
January 8, 2013 9:39 AM

I understand the question, but have to ask, why do it that way? The best thing to do is use backup software to automatically save files in one location to another at regular intervals. Get a free Dropbox account or something like that (I use SugarSync) and have it make backups of everything in the folder(s) of your choosing. Or, if you want to stay local, you can use something like Microsoft SyncToy to copy to multiple locations at whatever interval you choose. Here are instructions on how to schedule it in XP: http://www.bbt.co.il/Techdocs/General/ScheduleSyncToy.htm

Robin Clay
January 8, 2013 3:17 PM

Hmmm... I have an AddIn "library" of VBA routines that I have created. When I exit Excel, it asks if I want to save that AddIn, and if I have changed it at all, I respond "Yes", and the file is saved as normal. But another copy is also saved in the back-up folder with the same name, but with the date and time as a suffix to the file name.

Daniel Ford
January 8, 2013 4:25 PM

Why not just write a simple DOS batch file, using %1 to capture the file path dropped on it? Doesn't require Word or any other application!

Tom
January 8, 2013 11:02 PM

Why not try SyncToy? it's a bit of freeware from microsoft which allows you to synchronise files and folders in two locations: https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=15155

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