BackupToZip is a simple backup program. It maintains a compressed mirror of a set of files in a single large ZIP file. You can then copy this ZIP file to DVD (Digital Video Disc), flash drive, hard disk or CD (Compact Disc) for backup. Unlike a compression utility, such as WinZip, if you delete files, the next time you run BackupToZip it will automatically delete those deleted files from the backup archive. It will also automatically update changed or add new files as needed.

To restore, you would use a conventional ZIP tool such as WinZip to fetch replacements for the damaged files from the archive.

BackupToZip is much faster than recreating the archive from scratch each time with WinZip. It also avoids the usual problem of gradually accumulating more and more junk in your backup archive files that have long been deleted from your actual files. With an ordinary archiving utility, come time to restore, you have to manually sort through the accumulated chaff.



The program has the following disadvantages:

I plan to rectify some of those problems he coming months with a unified constellation system for specifying files that will work with all Canadian Mind Products utilities.


You must first manually install the truezip-6.8.1.jar which comes bundled in the BackupToZip zip distribution.

You must first put a copy of it in each of your Java C:\Program Files\java\jre1.8.0_25\ \jre\lib\ext and Jet ext directories. Without it you cannot compile or run BackupToZip.

To be specific, you must manually put a copy of truezip-6.8.1.jar in the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) at: C:\Program Files\Java\jre6\lib\ext and, if you have the JDK (Java Development Kit) installed, put another copy at: J:\Program Files\java\jdk1.8.0_25\ \jre\lib\ext

But if you lose it, you can download another copy. Download TrueZIP. You can also get the full TrueZIP program and documentation from You must use this slightly older version 6.8.1 not the latest version 7.5. I have the task of upgrading BackupToZip to use the latest TrueZIP version on my todo list.

Then type something along the lines of:

Where in the name of the archive where you want to create the mirror. The archive need not exist to start. You can pick any name you want so long as it ends in .zip

E:\important F:\stuff etc. are directory trees you want to back up.

-q means quiet — suppresses voluminous status information about the files selected.

-s mean and subdirectories too, recursively.

The first time you invoke BackupToZip it will take a fair bit of time. Every time thereafter will be much faster since it will only have to compress the files that have changed.

You will get faster response if you use a number of smaller backup zips rather than one big one. This is because there is nothing to do if none of the files in one of the zips have changed. Further, it is faster to rearrange a small jar to accommodate the additions, updates and deletions.

Verify that all the files you wanted are present in the archive file with WinZip or other Zip utility. It is fairly easy to forget or misspell one of the directories, or to forget a -s option to include subdirectories or to include subdirectories you did not want. It is also easy to leave off the quote marks around files with embedded spaces in their names like "F:\Program Files\SomeProg\SomeFile.ini". You won’t get an error message. Your file will be quietly left behind.

I repeat, please, please, verify that all the file you thought you were backing up are inside the ZIP. Do a fire drill to make sure you can recover backed up files and all the files you need are on DVD. When it comes time to restore, if the files you need are not there, there is nothing you can do to recover.

Be aware that if you change the command line, any files NOT mentioned on the new command line will be automatically deleted! You don’t have to start from scratch. Note that you can’t add to the archive with several different command lines. If your command line gets too long, use two separate archive files and two separate groups of files to backup.

I repeat. BackupToZip does not do anything to get the archive copied to DVD and offsite. That is totally up to you after BackupToZip has run. It does nothing to restore files after a crash. It is up to you to use some zip-compatible compression utility, to manually restore whatever files you need from the zip archive on backup media. See compression utilities for possible tools.

Because BackupToZip creates a vanilla zip file, you can restore it on any computer with any OS. You don’t even need to install BackupToZip to restore. With Vista, you don’t need to install any software at all to restore.

It does not bother backing up junk files such as:

*.aps, *.bak, *.csm, *.dmp, *. ilk, *.log, *.lst, *.map, *.ncb, *.obj, *.pch, *.pdb, *.temp, *.tmp, temp.*, temp1.*, temp2.*, delete_me

To change that list you would have to modify the source and recompile the program.

Bat Files

Here are the various bat files you need to create zips file then optionally burn them to DVD. This is all script driven. You will have to modify these BAT (Batch) scripts for your own purposes.

Master Backup to DVD : Bk.bat

Backup files to zips, then burn the zips to DVD. Call this from the command line or from an elephant shortcut on the desktop. elephant icon

Quick Backup to Zips : BkQ.bat

Quick Hot Backup files to zip, without burning the zips to DVD. Call this from the command line or from a butterfly shortcut on the desktop. butterfly icon

Pre-Backup File Cleaning : BkClean.bat

Get rid of junk files, tidy up generally in preparation for the backup.

Compress and Archive recently changed files to backup zips : BkToZips.bat

Update zip archives with recently changed data files using BackupToZip utility.

Burn Alternate 1. Burn zips to DVD with Nero Kwikmedia : BkBurnWithNero.bat

Burn zips updated in BkToZip step to DVD with the free Nero Kwikmedia. Requires keying into a GUI, so you must attend the backup.

Burn Alternate 2. Burn zips to DVD with JPSoft Take Command TCC (Take Command Command line) : BkBurnWithTCC.btm

Burn zips updated in BkToZip step to DVD with TCC. Runs unattended, but slow and efficient use of DVD space.

Burn Alternate 3. Burn zips to DVD with Cygwin/Cdrtools : BkBurnWithCdrtools.bat and BkBurnWithCdrtools.bsh

Burn zips updated in BkToZip step to DVD with Cdrtools. Runs unattended, but does not work.

Burn Alternate 4. Burn zips to Flash drive

Here is how I backup my crucial files to a 4 GB Kanguru AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encrypted USB (Universal Serial Bus) fob I can walk away with on a keychain.

Windup, post backup processing : BkWindup.bat

Reindex, defrag… or nothing

Those scripts are somewhat more elaborate than you strictly need, but it gives you an idea of the sort of things you might incorporate into your backup. They are realistic though. They are what I use myself.

You will want to modify those bat files, tune them and hook up launching icons for bk.bat and bkq.bat on the desktop.

Instructions For the Backup Operator

To run a quick hot backup:
  1. Click the butterfly icon  butterfly icon on the desktop to start the bkq.bat backup.
  2. Go have a coffee.
To run a full backup:
  1. Insert a blank DVD. It must have absolutely no fingerprints or scratches.
  2. Click the elephant icon  elephant icon on the desktop to start the bk.bat backup.
  3. Be patient as BackupToZip finds files you have recently changed, added or deleted and compresses them and modifies the backup archive to keep it is sync.
  4. When Nero starts, select data burning.
  5. Adjust the title of the backup, usually containing today’s date.
  6. Click add.
  7. Click computer
  8. Select the drive and directories containing the compressed archive zips you want to back up. Usually all the files in \bks.
  9. Click burn.
  10. When it is done, the DVD will pop out. Remove it.
  11. Click exit
  12. Be patient while the rest of the script runs, possibly to defrag your drives.

Awkward Filenames

Prior the version 1.3, BackupToZip would refuse to back up files with strange filenames, e.g. ones containing em-dashes (—) or ™ signs (technically ones with filenames not representable in the default character set.) Now it handles them. However, if you want to use the feature, you must delete the previously created *.zip files and start over. If you don’t do that, it will continue to behave as in version 1.2. This means your first back up will take much longer than usual, but after that will be the usual quickness.

Restoring From Backup

To restore, use any zip utility such as WinZip. e.g.


elephant icon Why the worried elephant icon? The elephant is fabled never to forget. I wanted to remind everyone to remember to backup their files with BackupToZip and bk.bat.

butterfly icon The butterfly icon is to use with BackupToZip and qbk.bat, to suggest that the backup won’t last long until you do a full backup to hard disk.

You can get the two icons from FreeIconsDownload. They were created by

Note the program is called BackupToZip not Backup2Exe, Back2Zip or BackupToZip… much as I would like to honour Michael J. Fox, a local boy who starred in Back to the Future.

Acquiring BackupToZip

1.4 2011-03-26 free Java
more infoprecismanualscreenshot
for the current version of BackupToZip.
Backup a set of files to a compressed zip archive mirror, and quickly keep the backup up-to-date.
download 2.0MB zip for BackupToZip Java source, compiled class files, jar and documentation to run on your own machine as an application.

Runs on any OS that supports Java e.g. W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32, W8-64, W2012, Linux, LinuxARM, LinuxX86, LinuxX64, Ubuntu, Solaris, SolarisSPARC, SolarisSPARC64, SolarisX86, SolarisX64 and OSX.

First install the most recent Java.

To install, extract the zip download with WinZip, (or similar unzip utility) into any directory you please, often J:\ — ticking off the use folder names option.

After you have installed the jar, you can run it as an application. Type:

java -jar J:\com\mindprod\backuptozip\backuptozip.jar parms

adjusting as necessary to account for where the jar file is.

download ASP PAD XML program description for the current version of BackupToZip.

$1989.00 US donated so far. If the CMP utilities solved your problem, please donate a buck or two, or donate to one of the charities featured in the footer public service ads throughout the website and get a tax receipt.

BackupToZip is free. Full source included. You may even include the source code, modified or unmodified in free/commercial open source/proprietary programs that you write and distribute. Non-military use only.
Burnfree buffer underrun protection
Download TrueZIP 6.8.1 jar

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