Smarter backup burning

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Reader Victor Navone would like more from his Smart Folders than they’re currently providing. He writes:

I’ve recently started to use a Smart Folder to track files that were created or modified after a certain date, e.g., the date of my last full backup. I would love to be able to burn the contents of this folder for future iterative backups, but it seems that this folder only contains aliases—the folder is only 8K, according to the Finder and Toast. Is there an easy way I can burn the actual data referenced in this folder to disc, or am I going about this all the wrong way?

I’m sure the comments related to this entry will be peppered with other solutions, but here’s mine:

Use a Burn Folder in league with Automator.

To begin, in the Finder choose File > New Burn Folder.

Then grab a copy of Johan Carlsson’s Get Smart Folder Contents Automator action. Install this action and then create a workflow that looks like this:

1. Get Smart Folder Contents.

From the pop-up menu, select the Smart Folder that contains the files you want to back up.

2. Copy Finder Items.

In this action’s area choose your Burn Folder from the To pop-up menu. If you plan to fire this action only when you will then burn the contents to disc, click the Options triangle and enable the Replacing Existing Files option. This ensures that only the files currently in the Smart Folder will be copied to the Burn Folder. For example, this is useful when the Smart Folder is configured to hold just those documents you’ve created today.


Once you’ve configured the workflow to your satisfaction, choose File > Save As and save the workflow as an application. When you’re ready to burn the contents of the Smart Folder, double-click this application to copy the Smart Folders contents to the Burn Folder. Insert a blank piece of media into your burner and click the Burn Folder’s Burn button.

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