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Is there a way to save two copies of a file in two places at once?


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.

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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.)

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8 comments on “Is there a way to save two copies of a file in two places at once?”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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:

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. there must be a task scheduler event so that when you save, you can trigger a 2nd save of that file in a similar path and if i’m not mistaken, windows may ask you if you want to create the folder if it does not exist…. much like restoring something from the recyle bin, the structure is put back without question.
    – on that note ctrl-z and ctrl-y are dangerous. sign out every night to wipe that history.

    also, i use 3 disks in a raid1 to achieve similar.
    – remove 1 disk from raid and put in vault at start of day/week…
    – take 3rd disk and rebuild raid1
    — by start of next day it is rebuilt with all info.
    – swap again with disk 2 and vault when necessary.

  7. I totally understand the question and the reason (which almost everyone else on here is not getting) you would want to do that because I have the same problem. I tried to do it by holding the control key down as I saved it in C:/ and then hurried and went to my passport drive to back it up there, but unfortunately I let go of the control key before I hit the save button. There has to be an easier method than these suggestions because they totally overlook the whole purpose. So just like the unsolved riddle of how many licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop, the world may never know. Suffice it to say, the answer is no, you have to go to both places and save it separately. And really, it’s not that hard. It just seems like there should be a no-brainer way (for those of us who don’t like the cloud or dropbox) to do it.


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