Automatic mirror / backups to external hard drive on wireless network?

Hello, I've searched the forums and can't find anything that addresses this question.

I have a simple wireless network in my home run through a Linksys WRT54G Router connected to a cable modem. I set up a Western Digital 1TB external hard drive as a network drive through use of a Seagate FreeAgent DockStar. (The HD connects to the DockStar by a USB cable, which in turn connects to the router by an Ethernet cable.)

The hard drive functions as a network drive and I've configured Windows 7 Home Premium on my laptop computer to recognize it at start-up so it can essentially be used read and written to like a local drive.

Is there a way to make Windows 7, either by built-in software or third party software, automatically backup certain files or directories when changes are detected?

For example, I have a folder on my internal HD where I organize the vast amount of photos that I take so that I can easily find them through the operating system instead of having to go through a photo manager. In my ideal situation, something would be monitoring to see if I have made changes in only that folder (either adding new folders, deleting photos, or modifying files) and simultaneously make the changes to the network hard drive. Effectively, I want something to mirror the changes on my local hard drive on the fly and update the network hard drive accordingly. I do this all manually at the moment and it sucks up a lot of time that could probably be done automatically.

Thanks for reading. Any suggestions are appreciated.
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  1. If you go into the Control Panel and open Backup And Restore, you can configure an automatic backup to run. Unfortunately this method is time based, rather than running based on file modifications. Windows has no other included tools to do backups. If that's not what you're looking for, you'll need to look at third party programs to do this for you.
  2. I came across a solution while reading on how other people manage their photo backups. It doesn't work automatically when a change is detected, but it is nice work around without having to install any bloated third-party software.

    Microsoft has made available for free download a very powerful took called SyncToy which allows synchronization between any two folders recognized by Windows. This may be two folders on the same drive or on different drives. Internal, external, or network drive--it doesn't matter, as long as it is recognized by Windows.

    There are three basic choices:

    1. "Synchronize" (keeps two folders perfectly synchronized)
    2. "Echo" (does not allow changes in the destination to overwrite the source)
    3. "Contribute" (updates the destination folder cumulatively without deletions)

    It is very nicely explained by the video on this webpage:

    Forget about the Lightroom specifics in the tutorial--it will work for any backup scheme.

    It can be made to run automatically with the Task Scheduler. Detailed instructions on this tutorial:
  3. Is there any way that this can be set up as a direct synchronization between the NAS and a VPN network folder, by-passing my computer? What I am envisioning is a software that I install on the NAS, then I enter my credentials of the VPN in the software, and the software automatically syncs through the internet to the VPN network folder.

    I do have a cloud connect account that might be another possibility I could look into, but I likely cannot place items on the VPN network on the cloud.

    I am probably spelling out my ignorance of networking, and one would probably need an operating system to do this, but it's worth asking. I don't like the notion of having to need my computer there as a gateway, since I travel and am not always home.

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