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Windows 7: Looking for a good way to mirror + backup personal files


15 Dec 2011   #1

Win7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
Looking for a good way to mirror + backup personal files

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. ??)
  • Needs to be able to handle long file names
  • 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!

Jo

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

15 Dec 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 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!

Jo
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.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2011   #3

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

I use the built in Windows Backup and Restore, since I can just use the install disc to run the restore process. It can be used to created images or just backup certain folders. As stated above Macrium Reflect is VERY popular. Both would be worth looking at.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


15 Dec 2011   #4

Win7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post

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.
Thank you for that information. I'll check out Second Copy.

Yes, I do understand that most imaging programs allow you to extract individual files...it just always seems so tedious. Plus, it won't work if I take it to another computer that doesn't have that backup program installed, correct?

Jo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2011   #5

Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center 64bit, Windows 7 HP 64bit
 
 

I use Macrium Reflect Free for the OS and SyncToy for my data files. In SyncToy I use the Echo option as any changes done to my data files are then updated on the back up. I run it on a manual basis about once a week.

Jim
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2011   #6
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Actually I would recommend you use both Windows own imaging and Macrium. Maybe more of one than the other. A full system reimage is the acid test so hedge your bets is my advice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2011   #7

Win7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Petey7 View Post
I use the built in Windows Backup and Restore, since I can just use the install disc to run the restore process. It can be used to created images or just backup certain folders. As stated above Macrium Reflect is VERY popular. Both would be worth looking at.
Thank you for responding. This may need to be a separate thread, but you mentioned the actual restore process, which made me wonder...let's say I have a mirror image of my disk, and my hard drive fails. Is the process really as simple as just reinstalling windows, and then using the backup and restore utility to get your computer back to how it was before the hard drive died?

Jo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2011   #8

Win7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Actually I would recommend you use both Windows own imaging and Macrium. Maybe more of one than the other. A full system reimage is the acid test so hedge your bets is my advice.
Thanks. What does one do that the other does not?

Jo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by joflo723 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Actually I would recommend you use both Windows own imaging and Macrium. Maybe more of one than the other. A full system reimage is the acid test so hedge your bets is my advice.
Thanks. What does one do that the other does not?

Jo
Nothing worth mentioning, to the extent they are infallible.

The problem is, both are fallible.

It's like a soldier carrying two guns. A fallback position.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Dec 2011   #10

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by joflo723 View Post
Thank you for responding. This may need to be a separate thread, but you mentioned the actual restore process, which made me wonder...let's say I have a mirror image of my disk, and my hard drive fails. Is the process really as simple as just reinstalling windows, and then using the backup and restore utility to get your computer back to how it was before the hard drive died?

Jo
Its actually even simpler than that. Have the location of your backup plugged into the computer. Boot from the Windows 7 Installation or recovery disc. After selecting your language options, click Repair Your Computer. Select System Image Recovery. It's pretty simple from there. Once you select the image to be recovered it will take 30 or so minutes (depending on image size) to restore the image to your computer. You can then restart the computer and boot into Windows normally. Your computer will be exactly as it was at the moment you created the system image. Remember, in order for this to work the hard drive you are restoring the image to has to be the same size or larger than the original.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Looking for a good way to mirror + backup personal files




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