! WHAT IS HOBOCOPY?
HoboCopy is a backup/copy tool. It is inspired by robocopy in both name and in
functionality. It differs greatly from roobcopy, however, in two respects:
1) It is not as full-featured as robocopy.
2) It uses the Volume Shadow Service (VSS) to "snapshot" the disk before
copying. It then copies from the snapshot rather than the "live" disk.
! WHY DOES HOBCOPY USE THE VOLUME SHADOW SERVICE?
Because HoboCopy copies from a VSS snapshot, it is able copy even files that
are in locked by some other program. Further, certain programs (such as SQL
Server 2005) are VSS-aware, and will write their state to disk in a consistent
state before the snapshot is taken, allowing a sort of "live backup". Files
locked by VSS-unaware programs will still be copied in a "crash consistent"
state (i.e. whatever happens to be on the disk). This is generally a lot
better than not being able to copy the file at all.
! IS HOBOCOPY A BACKUP TOOL?
Well, not exactly. It can be used that way, but it doesn't do a few things
that "real" backup tools to. For example, there's currently no support for
differential copies. Also, it does not currently make use of the OS support
for doing backups that would allow it to do things like copy even files
it does not nominally have permission to copy.
The other caveat is that HoboCopy is a hobby project. Therefore, it is not
recommended that anyone use it as a backup strategy for valuable information
- no warranty is provided in the event that something goes wrong.
That said, the author of the tool uses it to back up his own systems.
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