How to backup multiple user accounts on Windows OS

I have seen several posts regarding problems attempting to backup multiple users, but none have said how to make it work, whether with WD or other software. 2TB MBL on home network with 3 PC’s.  Each PC (Vista and Win7) has 6 identical user accounts: admin, parents and 4 kids.  Can see files on any PC from any other PC, within account access restrictions.  Admin account is only account w/install permissions.  From admin account, cannot backup all users due to directory hierarchy restriction in SW.  Other users do not see mapped drive, so alternate vendors SW doesn’t work.  The very large public directories (all music and videos are stored there) are stored 6 times if each user runs backup SW separately.  Seems like there ought to be an easy solution for this common problem.  What am I missing?

To do the backup you need to install smartware on all of the computers and run the backup from each user.

Thanks for the reply, but I’m still not clear on exactly what I need to do.  I’m trying to walk before I run - all I am trying to do is get a basic backup for each user’s personal files and a single backup of the public directories working.  I’ll expand to DLNA and remote access later.  Also, before I install on every computer, I would like to get it working on one.

So, regarding my simplest need - getting each users files backed up - I have these questions:

Do I need to create user accounts on the MBL for each user account on the PC?  If so, do the passwords for the PC user account and MBL need to match?  How do I keep the large public directory from getting backed up with each user (6 times)?  Does the admin user need to remain logged in continuously for the public directory to get backed up (assuming the public backup is ties to the admin user)?  How to handle PC’s with multiple user accounts doesn’t seem to be addressed anywhere in the documentation.  This should be simple (I manage the home network of 9 wired and wireless devices with 5 different OS’s), but I cannot seem to get past step 1.

You don’t need to create a separate account for each user, Smartware will create a separate folder with the computer and user name. When you say the large public directory do you refer to the public shared folder inside the my book? Smartware will not backup that folder, only files from your computer can be copied. To backup all of the users just click the start backup button while logged in to each one of the accounts, nothing else.

Thanks again for the reply.  I think we are nearly there.  The public directory I am refering to is on the PC: the default Win7/Vista public directory that all user accounts can access.  Ours is nearly 200GB (4 kids, lots of music, photos and movies!), so multiple copies of it are a bit of a problem.  How do I get it backed up once and only once?  Thanks for your patience.

Smartware wont backup the public folder, by default only the user folders will be backed up. If you want to backup the public folder, on one of the computers you can select the option to do a file backup and select the public/user folders manually. Check the link below for the details.

I disagree, as does my WD software’s behavior, regarding the public directory backup.  In fact, from the knowledge base FAQ’s:

Answer ID3644 (Last Updated 04/03/2012) says: 

The following user folder hierarchies are the only allowed user folder hierarchies:

Windows Vista and Windows 7

  • Current user folder and files under: :\Users<current-user>
  • All Users folders and files under: :\Users\Public

At least this is how my SmartWare works, I know because I stopped setting up backups after the 2nd user when I saw the 2nd copy of the public directory (I was wondering why so much of the drive was consumed after only 2 users, so I looked using the Retrieve tab).  Would it work if I used file backup mode for everyone (selecting only that user’s directory [C:\users_username_]), except I could add the public directory to just one of the users?  Unless you have a simpler solution, I’ll try that tomorrow and see how it goes.  Thanks again for your patience and help!