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Computer Software => Windows => Topic started by: sheddyian on January 01, 2015, 11:42:41 PM

Title: Backups
Post by: sheddyian on January 01, 2015, 11:42:41 PM
Having worked in IT for far too many years, and having setup, tweaked and maintained various backup systems for employers, I'm ashamed to admit I don't currently have one in place at home for my various computers.  I keep 2nd copies of a few important files, but mostly it's down to luck  :-[

The other day I switched my main Windows 7 PC on, saw the BIOS screen then was met with rapid beeping but no errors displayed.  Investigating, I increasingly suspected the disk had failed, but it turned out that the boot order of the data disk and system disk had swapped.  Much relief, but realised I should have a backup system in place.  I was lucky this time, but next time?

I added a 2nd disk to my Raspberry Pi file server (always running), configured my laptop with Windows 7 Backup and scheduled weekly backups to the network device.  All went well.  I was on my way!

I then looked at the couple of occasional-use Windows XP machines, and for the first time ever I ran Windows XP backup.  It's obvious that a lot of work went into Windows Backup between XP and 7, because XP backup is abysmal.   No scheduling, no incrementals, you just run it to copy stuff.

I then went to my main Windows 7 machine, expecting to have a similar efficient setup as the Windows 7 laptop, but because that PC is running Win7 Home Premium, I can't use Windows Backup to save to a network device  :o

So I then looked at (free) 3rd party software, and tried a few.  None that I tried did what I want - which is to do a full backup, then incrementals for a time, then another full, then incrementals etc.  I want to be able to recover individual files, or the whole system.  (This is what the full function WIndows 7 Backup seems to do)

I didn't find any 3rd party solutions that did this.

So, my question - do you do backups?  If so, what software do you recommend?

Title: Re: Backups
Post by: c6em on January 02, 2015, 08:27:53 AM
Acronis True image.
Full back ups (both entire disk and partition), incremental backups, differential backups, scheduling, and ability to mount the image to recover specific files.

I don't use the scheduling part so cannot advise on how good/bad that part of the package is - I do mine manually as it depends how much new work I've done as to whether I backup.

As ever if you want all the facilities then you are going to be hard pressed to find a free one, so yes - you have to pay for it.
Title: Re: Backups
Post by: HPsauce on January 02, 2015, 08:55:59 AM
saw the BIOS screen then was met with rapid beeping but no errors displayed.
The error IS the beeping.
If you listen carefully there will be a pattern to the beeping of long and short beeps, sometimes in groups with short gaps, repeated after a pause.
Each BIOS manufacturer has its own pattern which you can find easily enough online.

The cause is usually a pretty fundamental error (not a disk which is detected later) such as no memory found.
Title: Re: Backups
Post by: Chrysalis on January 02, 2015, 09:54:36 AM
The reason why 7 backup's is so much better is the volume shadow copy system, its very similar to zfs where it can have a backup of a file without using extra space or resources.

3rd party software such as macrium use these features as well, by the way macrium reflect I recommend, is reliable and fast.
Title: Re: Backups
Post by: d2d4j on January 02, 2015, 10:56:35 AM

We use r1soft/idera for our backup solution.

I'm guessing this is overkill for domestic use, as it's enterprise class backups.

For domestic backups, we use cobian, which is free and does exactly what your wanting to do,  even has extras free like remote management etc... And can fully encrypt, compress etc

Just google cobian backup

I hope that helps a little

Many thanks

Title: Re: Backups
Post by: Ducky on January 02, 2015, 10:58:04 AM
I keep everything on a Synology NAS running in Raid5, although I should also backup this data I don't....... :o
Title: Re: Backups
Post by: Berrick on January 06, 2015, 07:53:43 AM

+1 for Cobian (look here ( a look. Its free (currently) donateware and offers the ability to configure full backups say on the Monday then incrementals or differentials on the other days. You can also set the number of previous backups to keep before they are deleted as well as using compression if desired.

It offers far more
Title: Re: Backups
Post by: sevenlayermuddle on January 06, 2015, 09:48:13 AM
My own backup system is home-brewed, using just some fairly crude shell scripts.   But here are the requirements I set myself....

Saved Data must be in plain form, and not depend upon any tools or utilities for retrieval, these tools may not be around in a few years when I want to retrieve.    Mine end up as .iso images, can be mounted as-is, or burned to a disc and read on any OS.

The system being backed up should not have access to the backups or at least, just read access.   This reduces the chances that malware on the protected system will trash itself and all the backups too.    Mine are performed by a separate server that has read-only access to the system being backed up.

To protect against disasters such as house fires, or burglary, it must be easy to get a copy off-site.   In my case, that's just a case of uploading my latest .iso to cloud and/or burning to a blu ray when important milestones are reached, or when I go away on hols.

The schedule that I settled on keeps one complete copy for each of the last 7 days, then one for each of the previous 12 months, then one for each year gone by.   
Title: Re: Backups
Post by: sheddyian on January 06, 2015, 12:35:43 PM
Thanks for all your replies on this.  I'd rather go for something (paid or free) that's had some recommendations from people who use it.

I shall have a look at the different suggestions and see which one(s) I like best, and reply on here


Title: Re: Backups
Post by: b4dger on August 30, 2016, 01:57:10 PM
...So, my question - do you do backups?  If so, what software do you recommend?

I appreciate this is an ancient thread(!) but I'm a slow reader :)

I'm a bit OCD about backups!
For many years I've been using and recommending SyncBack from 2BrightSparks.  I use the free version which does more than I need, but there are paid for versions as well.

You can take incremental and/or full backups. The files are copied using standard Windows copy, so you can access/read/use your backed up data.

I back my data up daily - I do this manually (a couple of clicks) but you can also schedule it.
I send my data to a few different PCs and external devices. You can backup or 'synchronise' (hence the name) which is useful if you use a laptop while out and about etc.

I would be lost without it and I'm always happy to spread the word about this great product!