How I Use imcopy to Backup My Creator Files: A Practical Guide

January 17, 2024

As a creator, my digital assets like code, videos, photos, and graphics are the lifeblood of my work. Ensuring their safety and accessibility is paramount. This is where "imcopy", a helpful command-line tool, comes into play. It has simplified my backup process, allowing me to efficiently synchronize files between my work directories and my Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS). Let me walk you through how I use "imcopy" with practical YAML configuration examples.

Understanding "imcopy"

"imcopy" is a CLI tool designed for copying and synchronizing files between directories. It stands out with its blazing-fast file transfers, customizable ignore patterns, and options for parallelism and file overwrite behaviors.

Why "imcopy" for Backups?

  • Speed: It offers fast file transfers, crucial for large media files.
  • Customization: I can specify exactly which files to backup and which to ignore. I can define multiple destination folders and backup my files to NAS and external disk simultaneously.
  • Flexibility: It works equally well on Windows and Linux, fitting into my multi-OS workflow.
  • Ease of Use: The tool uses gitignore-like patterns for specifying ignore rules, making it intuitive for us who is familiar with git.
  • Centralized Configuration: All configurations for copying tasks are consolidated in one place - the YAML file - which simplifies management and tracking.
  • Open Source: Being an open-source tool, it offers transparency, community support, and the opportunity for customization and improvement.

How to Find the Tool

To download and start using "imcopy", follow these steps:

  1. Visit the GitHub Repository: Navigate to the imcopy GitHub repository where the tool is hosted.

  2. Clone or Download: You can clone the repository to your local machine using Git, or download the source code as a ZIP file.

  3. Installation Instructions: Inside the repository, you will find detailed instructions on how to install, set up and use imcopy on your system in the README file or in docs.

  4. Stay Updated: Keep an eye on the repository for the latest updates, bug fixes, and new features. Consider starring the repository to get notifications.

My Backup Workflow with "imcopy"

I use "imcopy's" advanced option for my backups. This requires a YAML configuration file where I can specify multiple source and destination folders, along with detailed settings for each backup task.

YAML Configuration: The Heart of My Backup

The YAML configuration file for "imcopy" is structured into three sections: directories, ignorePatterns, and global settings.

  1. Directories Here, I define the source and destination paths. For instance, I backup my code from D:\Apps to \\NasStorage\AppsBackup and F:\Backups\Apps.

  2. Ignore Patterns I use this to skip temporary files like bin and obj directories or node_modules, which don't need to be backed up.

  3. Global Settings I generally set parallelism to 16 for efficient use of my system's resources.

YAML File Example

Here's a snippet from my actual YAML file (I made it short for a demo):

  - source: D:\Apps
      - \\NasStorage\AppsBackup
      - F:\Backups\Apps
    ignorePattern: dev_files
    overwriteBehavior: ifNewer
    removeBehavior: remove
  - source: D:\youtube
      - \\NasStorage\YoutubeBackup
      - F:\Backups\Youtube
    ignorePattern: youtube_files
    overwriteBehavior: ifNewer
    removeBehavior: remove

  - name: dev_files
      - ".git/**"
      - ".vs/**"
      - "[Bb]in/**"
      - "[Oo]bj/**"
      - "node_modules/**"
      - "local.settings.json"
      - ".env"
      - ".env.local"
      - "dist/**"
      - "build/**"
      - "_storage_emulator/**"
      - ".localConfigs"
  - name: youtube_files
      - "Adobe Premiere Pro Auto-Save/**"
parallelism: 16
verbose: true

Executing the Backup

With my YAML file ready, running the backup is a simple command:

imcopy --file D:\imcopy\backup.yaml

Backup Scenarios

I run a nightly backup of my creator files. Sometimes, I backup only specific projects manually using a modified YAML files.


"imcopy" has simplified my backup process. It's efficient, customizable, and reliable—everything a creator needs to safeguard their digital assets. Whether it's code, multimedia files, or documents, "imcopy" ensures that all my valuable work is mirrored safely to my NAS and external drive with minimal effort and maximum efficiency and speed.

Tips for Setting Up Your "imcopy" Backup

  1. Analyze Your Files: Understand which files are crucial and need regular backup. This helps in setting up effective ignore patterns.
  2. Test with --dry-run: Before running your first backup, use the --dry-run option to simulate the backup process. This helps ensure that your settings are correct and no important file is left out.
  3. Regularly Update Your YAML Configuration: As your project directories evolve, make sure to update your YAML file to reflect these changes.
  4. Automate Your Backups: Consider automating the "imcopy" command to run at regular intervals using cron jobs (Linux) or Task Scheduler (Windows).

My Experience: Peace of Mind

Since integrating "imcopy" into my workflow, I've experienced a significant reduction in the stress related to data loss. Knowing that all my creative work is securely backed up, I can focus more on the creative aspects of my projects without worrying about data integrity. The ability to customize and automate the entire process means my backups are always up-to-date and reflective of my current work status.

Whether you are a developer, a photographer, a videographer, or a graphic designer, I highly recommend giving "imcopy" a try for your backup needs. It’s not just about backing up data; it’s about ensuring the continuity and safety of your creative journey.


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