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15 Dec 2011  

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by joflo723 View Post
As the subject implies, I'm trying to find the best way to 1) create a disk image for disaster recovery + 2) synchronize folders and files to protect against accidental deletion, erroneous save-overs, transferring to another computer, etc. I have a 1 Tb external hard drive which is plenty of space for me to use for both.

  • Can be either one program that performs both functions, or two separate programs.
  • I don't want automatic backups, since I plan to store my external drive in a fireproof safe soon.
  • I need the sync'd files to be browse-able (not contained in a single image file)...just like a flash drive basically.
  • I would like something that only backs up new files or ones that have been changed (to cut back on backup time...but maybe this is standard for syncing and mirroring programs. ??)
  • A nice GUI
  • Cost - free to low (I'd pay up to $30ish...but free would be great)
I was thinking of using Windows 7 Backup & Restore for the disk imaging, and then SyncToy for the file/folder syncing...but is this the best option?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Synctoy is among the better choices for file/folder.

If you are willing to spend 30, look at Second Copy, from Centered Systems. Free 30 day trial; excellent layout and GUI; intuitive; quick; under continual development for over 10 years. It is strictly file/folder for your personal data--a competitor to Synctoy.

Imaging for Windows: Windows Backup and Restore works if you can learn and live with its idiosyncrasies. Macrium Reflect Free is probably the more popular choice here.

I assume you know that most imaging programs allow you to drill into the created image file and extract individual files as needed.

Yes, any file/folder tool worth a damn will only backup files that have changed or are new since the last backup. The first backup might take hours---subsequent backups more likely take seconds or a couple of minutes.
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