Many Windows 7 Media Center users will have a point where they need to backup important information and settings for their Media Center machine. Information such as custom TV listings, recording schedules and certain plugin and meta data can take a fair amount of time to setup. Certainly no one enjoys missing a favorite show due to a reformat followed by forgetting to reset the schedule for that show. Ian Dixon, of The Digital Lifestyle and Made for Media Center, may just have the solution. mcBackup 3.0 can not only backup your setup but it can even be scheduled to do so regularly and for free.
To get started download mcBackup 3.0 from Made for Media Center and install. You’ll need to sign-up as a member of the site before being able to download the program, there is no confirmation email. Once downloaded and installed, run the program from the start menu under TheDigitalLifestyle.com –> mcBackup 3.0.
Due to user trouble downloading the program from the official site we’ve mirrored the 32-bit installer and the 64-bit installer here at Hack7MC.
Under the Backup and Restore Now tab you can select the type of data to backup: schedule, lineup, recorded TV, extra. To do an immediate backup just check the boxes for the data to backup and hit the Backup Now button. Once a backup has been created you can restore the latest backup using the Restore Now button. However, the restore option should only be used on fresh started Media Center setups. Running the restore on an already setup Media Center will likely mess up your listings and such requiring a clearing of the data and then restoring once more.
On the next tab, Backup Location, you are able to set the location where backup images should be saved. These are the folders you’ll need to copy to a safe location if doing a full clean install. For listings and recording schedule backups I’d even recommend having the default save location be a USB drive. This keeps your backup separate from the actual Media Center’s system drive should it cease operating properly.
Also available is the option to backup another folder, important plugin data or even just large downloaded caches such as MediaBrowser’s ImagesByName folder make good candidates.
Coming to the Schedule tab we have one of the more important features of mcBackup. Here we can setup a schedule to regularly backup frequently changing things such as the recording schedule. Being something that typically changes often, it’s an especially good idea to regularly backup the recording schedule.
Simply enable the scheduler then select the days and the time you’d like backups to be created. Either restart the program or enable the service using the link on the Home tab of the program. This home tab will report the status of the backup service whenever needed as well as the option to start or stop the service.
Now as long as you’ve set the backup to a safe location you should have a recent backup of your scheduling and lineup data whenever you need it.
The program works incredibly well in the background requiring virtually no intervention from the user beyond the initial setup. Simply set it up and forget it, just the way regular backups should be done. Thanks to Ian Dixon for making both the program and Made for Media Center. Stick around Hack7MC for future updates and a review of the Made for Media Center platform for Windows 7 Media Center.
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