What is a good backup utility?

Started Feb 24, 2008 | Discussions
OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Re: Ben you're killing me! (nt)

So does sync toy do what I am looking for? Just back up selected folders? I guess I could got to the MS page and see what it says. But these guys all seem to be marketing against each other bragging about the complexity.

digitalshooter wrote:

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vpeters Forum Member • Posts: 97
Re: Ben you're killing me! (nt)

Syncback will do exactly what you want and it's free for the basic version (which is all you will need). I've been using it for more than a year on both XP and Vista machines to basically keep them, and also several external hard drives, synchronized. You can set up a profile so that it only backs up certain folders and only replaces files if they have changed. Best of all, it copies files and folders as is and does not use either compressed or proprietary formats. You'll love it. Check it out at http://www.2brightsparks.com

Victor
--
vpeters

lswab Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: What is a good backup utility?

Try Second Copy, by Centered Systems

I used to use an older version at work. Saw that it was quite cheap, so bought it for home.

Does just what you're asking - copies files to another location/disk. But also has the option to verify the files afterward, save more than one copy (or not), compress files, encrypt files, etc.

What I like about it is that it leaves you with files that you can use directly - no need to restore an entire disk, or read some sort of "restore volume". The compressed, encrypted files can be read with winzip.

It has a scheduler built in, but I use the command-line version, run from the task scheduler, which has the ability to wake the computer from sleep.

OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Re: Ben you're killing me! (nt)

vpeters wrote:

Syncback will do exactly what you want and it's free for the basic
version (which is all you will need). I've been using it for more
than a year on both XP and Vista machines to basically keep them, and
also several external hard drives, synchronized. You can set up a
profile so that it only backs up certain folders and only replaces
files if they have changed. Best of all, it copies files and folders
as is and does not use either compressed or proprietary formats.
You'll love it. Check it out at http://www.2brightsparks.com

Thanks, thats what I was looking for.

Victor
--
vpeters

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OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Re: What is a good backup utility?

lswab wrote:

Try Second Copy, by Centered Systems
I used to use an older version at work. Saw that it was quite cheap,
so bought it for home.

Does just what you're asking - copies files to another location/disk.
But also has the option to verify the files afterward, save more than
one copy (or not), compress files, encrypt files, etc.

What I like about it is that it leaves you with files that you can
use directly - no need to restore an entire disk, or read some sort
of "restore volume". The compressed, encrypted files can be read with
winzip.

It has a scheduler built in, but I use the command-line version, run
from the task scheduler, which has the ability to wake the computer
from sleep.

That also sounds good, I will check it out.

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LongTimeNikonUser Senior Member • Posts: 1,350
EMC/Dantz Retrospec

I'm surprised but maybe not so that the Top Ten Reviews didn't include this software.

This is really a whole series of applications ranging from single user to server, with add-ons for SQL Server and Exchange (if you don't know, never mind ...)

See the Express HD version here: http://www.emcinsignia.com/products/homeandoffice/retroexpresshd/

That version is only $49.95, same as some of the other software listed in the Top Ten. It is disk to disk only. The "professional" version also does disk to CD or to tape, and can back up a few other computers on a small LAN.

What I like about Retrospect is that it maintains a log of each backup, and keeps all previous copies of a file, if I want that. That way, I can restore not just the current version of a file but a previous version, if the the current version is corrupted. (happens ...)

Check it out.

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Urbanito Veteran Member • Posts: 4,105
Re: Sync Toy by Microsoft free (nt)

Hi Ben:
Thank you. You can use compressed or uncompressed. I use uncompressed.

And if you need to restore, it is very easy. What I recommend is to read the excellent instructions and to "play" with the system as much you can, creating test backups, using the scheduling facility, letting the computer on standby or idle during the night in order the back up do not disturb your work. There is a feature called "awake" the computer to start back up. You even can program it to delete previous backups, preserving the last one, or two, or whatever you decide,

in order yo always have a fresh and complete one. Even if you program incremental backups, the software always start with a first full backup and then the incremental ones. If you decide to keep the latest 3 backups and than erase the first one, it will start again with a full backup. I am sorry if I didn't make myself understand, but my English is bad.
Kind regards,
Joao

Graham Regular Member • Posts: 379
What is a good backup utility? Try Cobian Backup

Try Cobian Backup - free and truly excellent

http://www.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cobianbackup.htm

Graham

OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Re: Sync Toy by Microsoft free (nt)

Urbanito wrote:

Hi Ben:
Thank you. You can use compressed or uncompressed. I use uncompressed.
And if you need to restore, it is very easy. What I recommend is to
read the excellent instructions and to "play" with the system as much
you can, creating test backups, using the scheduling facility,
letting the computer on standby or idle during the night in order the
back up do not disturb your work. There is a feature called "awake"
the computer to start back up. You even can program it to delete
previous backups, preserving the last one, or two, or whatever you
decide,
in order yo always have a fresh and complete one. Even if you program
incremental backups, the software always start with a first full
backup and then the incremental ones. If you decide to keep the
latest 3 backups and than erase the first one, it will start again
with a full backup. I am sorry if I didn't make myself understand,
but my English is bad.
Kind regards,
Joao

Thanks for the detailed description. This is the sort of information I was seeking. I have this on list to try. I am going to choose one or two free downloads and play with them and make a final choice. Today is photo day, going to drive out to a place where they have spotted snowy owls. I hope this fog clears off before I get there.

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OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Recovering from Acronis now

I downloaded and installed the 15 day trial of Acronis 11 home. After three reboots, in the try and decide option, it manages to create a save zone on my external HD.

Next I tried a simple back-up, but it was garbage. First of all , it does not want to just back-up, it wants all sorts of bells and whistles. Then it creates them in a stupid format that is not human readable. But worse of all, it needs to have a back up folder at the destination. Whatever for? It should just copy the folders I wanted copied. No matter, I sent it to one of my test folders and lo and behold, gibberish.

So next I attempted to uninstall it. Took two uninstalls to get rid of the program, but it left behind its safe zone. Thats a 100GB chunk of my external that is worthless to me now.

So I am attempting to recover this using tools in the control panel. It looks like I will end up with a 100gb partition, hopefully one I can access.

Good lesson here, I don't need a system recovery program thats this unintuitive to use.

The built in Vista system recovery Will have to do. Now I Will try a simple (is there a simple) back up.

I also tried the Sync Tool, but it would not download for some reason. Probably the web site was too busy. However, that one did not appear to have the ability to schedule back-ups.

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OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Ok, got my hd back

Guess I got a free partition from the try out. Vista was able to convert it back to a free space and then formatted it and gave it a new drive letter. Tried saving and reading stuff to it and it seems to work fine.

So much for back up utilities. I will try one of these per day until I find one a like. Next time I will not allow anything so crude as stealing part of my hard drive space for some hidden archive.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 21,009
Re: EMC/Dantz Retrospec - problem

What I like about Retrospect is that it maintains a log of each
backup, and keeps all previous copies of a file, if I want that. That
way, I can restore not just the current version of a file but a
previous version, if the the current version is corrupted. (happens
...)

Hi,
I got a LaCie external HD, 1TB, with a Retrospect software.
After I installed Retrospect, my CD/DVD drive stopped working or was v.erratic .

Most of the times it would not recognize any CDs at all, sometimes, it would show a CD contents but would not allow anything to open.
I uninstalled Retrospect and everything went back to normal.
Rgds

OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Re: EMC/Dantz Retrospec - problem

Marcamera wrote:

What I like about Retrospect is that it maintains a log of each
backup, and keeps all previous copies of a file, if I want that. That
way, I can restore not just the current version of a file but a
previous version, if the the current version is corrupted. (happens
...)

Hi,
I got a LaCie external HD, 1TB, with a Retrospect software.
After I installed Retrospect, my CD/DVD drive stopped working or was
v.erratic .
Most of the times it would not recognize any CDs at all, sometimes,
it would show a CD contents but would not allow anything to open.
I uninstalled Retrospect and everything went back to normal.
Rgds

Thanks for the warning, thats two down.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 21,009
Re: EMC/Dantz Retrospec - problem

Ben_Egbert wrote:

Marcamera wrote:

What I like about Retrospect is that it maintains a log of each
backup, and keeps all previous copies of a file, if I want that. That
way, I can restore not just the current version of a file but a
previous version, if the the current version is corrupted. (happens
...)

Hi,
I got a LaCie external HD, 1TB, with a Retrospect software.
After I installed Retrospect, my CD/DVD drive stopped working or was
v.erratic .
Most of the times it would not recognize any CDs at all, sometimes,
it would show a CD contents but would not allow anything to open.
I uninstalled Retrospect and everything went back to normal.
Rgds

Thanks for the warning, thats two down.

You're welcome.

I guess the scope of problems depends on the PC configuration, mine is a purpose-built photo/video unit. Others may not experience this problem.
But in my case, I did.

Rgds

blackhawk13 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,742
Re: Recovering from Acronis now

Ben_Egbert wrote:

I downloaded and installed the 15 day trial of Acronis 11 home. After
three reboots, in the try and decide option, it manages to create a
save zone on my external HD.

Next I tried a simple back-up, but it was garbage. First of all , it
does not want to just back-up, it wants all sorts of bells and
whistles. Then it creates them in a stupid format that is not human
readable. But worse of all, it needs to have a back up folder at the
destination. Whatever for? It should just copy the folders I wanted
copied. No matter, I sent it to one of my test folders and lo and
behold, gibberish.

So next I attempted to uninstall it. Took two uninstalls to get rid
of the program, but it left behind its safe zone. Thats a 100GB chunk
of my external that is worthless to me now.

So I am attempting to recover this using tools in the control panel.
It looks like I will end up with a 100gb partition, hopefully one I
can access.

Good lesson here, I don't need a system recovery program thats this
unintuitive to use.

The built in Vista system recovery Will have to do. Now I Will try a
simple (is there a simple) back up.

I also tried the Sync Tool, but it would not download for some
reason. Probably the web site was too busy. However, that one did not
appear to have the ability to schedule back-ups.

-- hide signature --

That's why I said to use it to clone the OS HD only!

I experimented with Acronis, XP x64 and my box for about a month until I got it to see things my way.

Read the documentation for SyncToy as if you configure it wrong it can shred your files to ribbons. Test it carefully before trusting it.

-tyrants and cowards hide behind censorship-

digitalshooter
digitalshooter Forum Pro • Posts: 19,604
Wrong about sync toy mine is scheduled for 8:42 pm every night! (nt)
-- hide signature --

Thanks,

Digitalshooter!

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Vernon D Rainwater Forum Pro • Posts: 14,517
Re: Recovering from Acronis now

Ben_Egbert wrote:

I downloaded and installed the 15 day trial of Acronis 11 home. After
three reboots, in the try and decide option, it manages to create a
save zone on my external HD.

Next I tried a simple back-up, but it was garbage. First of all , it
does not want to just back-up, it wants all sorts of bells and
whistles. Then it creates them in a stupid format that is not human
readable. But worse of all, it needs to have a back up folder at the
destination. Whatever for? It should just copy the folders I wanted
copied. No matter, I sent it to one of my test folders and lo and
behold, gibberish.

So next I attempted to uninstall it. Took two uninstalls to get rid
of the program, but it left behind its safe zone. Thats a 100GB chunk
of my external that is worthless to me now.

So I am attempting to recover this using tools in the control panel.
It looks like I will end up with a 100gb partition, hopefully one I
can access.

Ben, it has been several days since I reviewed the Manual for Acronis 11 so I may not remember the details. Your description sounds like you may have set up a Secure Zone by your comments about the Partition.

Also, did you select some type of Compression or just accept the default. The best I remember in that area of setup, there is a choice for NONE (for NO Compression) regarding Compression which of course would use more disk space but who cares about that in order to be able to read the Folders and Files normally with Explorer, etc.

I agree that most of these type programs have so many optional features that seems to only make them more confusing when NOT needing to use them.

The Manual provides a LOT of discusses (and pages) regarding different Backup Types. What usually is needed for any of the various (do it all) software is to review the Manual and identify ONLY those features (or functions) that you want to use and concentrate ONLY on those features and (unfortunately) usually do not accept any Defaults without being cautious to review if they are what you want to use -- for your needed purpose.
--
Vernon...

Good lesson here, I don't need a system recovery program thats this
unintuitive to use.

The built in Vista system recovery Will have to do. Now I Will try a
simple (is there a simple) back up.

I also tried the Sync Tool, but it would not download for some
reason. Probably the web site was too busy. However, that one did not
appear to have the ability to schedule back-ups.
--
http://www.pbase.com/roserus/root
Ben

OP Ben_Egbert Forum Pro • Posts: 20,228
Re: Recovering from Acronis now

Vernon D Rainwater wrote:

Ben_Egbert wrote:

I downloaded and installed the 15 day trial of Acronis 11 home. After
three reboots, in the try and decide option, it manages to create a
save zone on my external HD.

Next I tried a simple back-up, but it was garbage. First of all , it
does not want to just back-up, it wants all sorts of bells and
whistles. Then it creates them in a stupid format that is not human
readable. But worse of all, it needs to have a back up folder at the
destination. Whatever for? It should just copy the folders I wanted
copied. No matter, I sent it to one of my test folders and lo and
behold, gibberish.

So next I attempted to uninstall it. Took two uninstalls to get rid
of the program, but it left behind its safe zone. Thats a 100GB chunk
of my external that is worthless to me now.

So I am attempting to recover this using tools in the control panel.
It looks like I will end up with a 100gb partition, hopefully one I
can access.

Ben, it has been several days since I reviewed the Manual for Acronis
11 so I may not remember the details. Your description sounds like
you may have set up a Secure Zone by your comments about the
Partition.

It was mandatory in the try and decide section. Can not even run try and decide until a secure zone is started.

Also, did you select some type of Compression or just accept the
default.

I accepted the default, but the user interface did not have any options I could find. I have a very hard time finding stuff because the names for operations are never what I expect them to be.

The best I remember in that area of setup, there is a

choice for NONE (for NO Compression) regarding Compression which of
course would use more disk space but who cares about that in order to
be able to read the Folders and Files normally with Explorer, etc.
I agree that most of these type programs have so many optional
features that seems to only make them more confusing when NOT needing
to use them.
The Manual provides a LOT of discusses (and pages) regarding
different Backup Types. What usually is needed for any of the
various (do it all) software is to review the Manual and identify
ONLY those features (or functions) that you want to use and
concentrate ONLY on those features and (unfortunately) usually do not
accept any Defaults without being cautious to review if they are what
you want to use -- for your needed purpose.
--

I read the first 20 pages of a much longer document and also looked in the index, but the index did not have headings that indicated it would be talking about turing off compression. Fact is, I was not even able to find much about simply backing up.

I got my hard drive back now, so no big problem. It was a very good exercise in hind sight because it allowed me to see that this is a program for an IT type, which I clearly aint.

Vernon...

Good lesson here, I don't need a system recovery program thats this
unintuitive to use.

The built in Vista system recovery Will have to do. Now I Will try a
simple (is there a simple) back up.

I also tried the Sync Tool, but it would not download for some
reason. Probably the web site was too busy. However, that one did not
appear to have the ability to schedule back-ups.
--
http://www.pbase.com/roserus/root
Ben

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Vernon D Rainwater Forum Pro • Posts: 14,517
Re: Recovering from Acronis now

Ben_Egbert wrote:

Vernon D Rainwater wrote:

Ben_Egbert wrote:

I downloaded and installed the 15 day trial of Acronis 11 home. After
three reboots, in the try and decide option, it manages to create a
save zone on my external HD.

Next I tried a simple back-up, but it was garbage. First of all , it
does not want to just back-up, it wants all sorts of bells and
whistles. Then it creates them in a stupid format that is not human
readable. But worse of all, it needs to have a back up folder at the
destination. Whatever for? It should just copy the folders I wanted
copied. No matter, I sent it to one of my test folders and lo and
behold, gibberish.

So next I attempted to uninstall it. Took two uninstalls to get rid
of the program, but it left behind its safe zone. Thats a 100GB chunk
of my external that is worthless to me now.

So I am attempting to recover this using tools in the control panel.
It looks like I will end up with a 100gb partition, hopefully one I
can access.

Ben, it has been several days since I reviewed the Manual for Acronis
11 so I may not remember the details. Your description sounds like
you may have set up a Secure Zone by your comments about the
Partition.

It was mandatory in the try and decide section. Can not even run try
and decide until a secure zone is started.

Also, did you select some type of Compression or just accept the
default.

I accepted the default, but the user interface did not have any
options I could find. I have a very hard time finding stuff because
the names for operations are never what I expect them to be.

The best I remember in that area of setup, there is a

choice for NONE (for NO Compression) regarding Compression which of
course would use more disk space but who cares about that in order to
be able to read the Folders and Files normally with Explorer, etc.
I agree that most of these type programs have so many optional
features that seems to only make them more confusing when NOT needing
to use them.
The Manual provides a LOT of discusses (and pages) regarding
different Backup Types. What usually is needed for any of the
various (do it all) software is to review the Manual and identify
ONLY those features (or functions) that you want to use and
concentrate ONLY on those features and (unfortunately) usually do not
accept any Defaults without being cautious to review if they are what
you want to use -- for your needed purpose.
--

I read the first 20 pages of a much longer document and also looked
in the index, but the index did not have headings that indicated it
would be talking about turing off compression. Fact is, I was not
even able to find much about simply backing up.

I got my hard drive back now, so no big problem. It was a very good
exercise in hind sight because it allowed me to see that this is a
program for an IT type, which I clearly aint.

Vernon...

Good lesson here, I don't need a system recovery program thats this
unintuitive to use.

The built in Vista system recovery Will have to do. Now I Will try a
simple (is there a simple) back up.

I also tried the Sync Tool, but it would not download for some
reason. Probably the web site was too busy. However, that one did not
appear to have the ability to schedule back-ups.
--
http://www.pbase.com/roserus/root
Ben

Ben, your comments and experience so far makes me even more thankful that I can continue, and have continued to use Norton Ghost 2003. The manual for it is also rather large. When first getting it, I tested all functions that I contemplated using and found a few issues and notified Symantec.

The features I needed and use are in use now for over 4 years and has worked perfectly and is applicable to only around 5 to 10 % of the total volume of the Manual

Also, your comments makes me think that I should download and do an actual trial "Test Drive" of Acronis 11 and see if I can identify the parts that would be usable for the "average user" along with any issues that may be important.

Over the many years, I have done "shake downs" on many software packages especially since I was responsible for Systems Design, Programming, Testing, Implementation with the users, etc; for Computerized applications for many years when I was in "Corporation Employment for over 25 years" that doing so is not a "big deal (or chore) for me to do. Most of the time, it actually is fun for me.
--
Vernon...

blackhawk13 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,742
Re: Recovering from Acronis now
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You CAN clone a disc without creating a "secure zone". Acronis worked fine until I tried to get it to do the more advanced backups. It's HD clone is good enough!

-tyrants and cowards hide behind censorship-

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