Storing a directory path in a variable

Hi all - first post at!

I've been developing a small backup utility that relies on the 7-zip command line utility. It all works well but I'm hoping to streamline it a bit, as well as making it easier to update because it may be used in multiple locations and networks.

So my first question is, is it possible to store a directory path as a variable? For example, I'd like to be able to put C:Documents and SettingsUser NameDesktop into the variable %backupDir% but I've been able to use it as such. I'd like to use that to change to the directory i'm backing up via the cd command:

cd %backupDir%

I've tried using CHDIR as well, to no avail. I've tried using quotes, using %20 instead of spaces, tried using %userprofile% for the first part of the path and I haven't had any success using variables instead of absolute or relative paths. Please help?

The second question I have is regarding error catching. Is it possible to use batch to monitor the 7-zip utility and to cancel it if it encounters an error? or do I have to let it run the entire way and then cancel the results at the end?

Thanks for any help you may be able to ovver
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