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Windows 7: Best Backup Software for Win7 and Mac

25 Feb 2015   #1
Trailerman

 
 
Best Backup Software for Win7 and Mac

Hi

I wonder if I could beg some advice.

I'm trying to setup a private cloud on a large QNAP or Synology NAS, and put in place a system to backup our 3 Windows 7 machines and 1 Mac to it, ideally using software which backs up continuously. I just want a basic application which runs discretely, doesn't hog the system and is flexible enough to back up custom sets of data, whole drives etc. Ideally I'd prefer it to backup files in their native format rather than encrypting or compressing them, just so they can be restored more easily.

To be honest, I'm struggling to find a single solution that does the job. True Image 2015 supports Mac but the Mac software is basic volume imaging only, Retrospect seems to be dieing a death, QNAP's Netbak Replicator is PC only, and I'm not a big fan of Time Machine ... etc. Lots of others are PC only, and I'd prefer to have one piece of software to get my head around, so ideally it needs to run on Windows and OSX.

I thought Qsync (QNAP's file sync software) might be a possibility, but I've had a few dodgy experiences using sync software to backup: Synology's sync application (Cloud Station) deletes files on the NAS if they're deleted locally for example, which defeats the object.

Is anybody aware of a solution which runs on Mac and PC and will backup to NAS, ideally QNAP or Synology? I've spent the best part of 2 days trawling around the internet looking for the correct product, but so far have not come up with anything that ticks the relatively few boxes I have.

Any suggestions very gratefully received.

Thanks in advance

Jules


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25 Feb 2015   #2
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Before suggesting any products, I would first like to address continuous backups. For a backup to be continuous, the media it is kept on (generally, a HDD) has to be connected to the computer at all times. Keep in mind not all data loss is due to drive failure; it can also be caused by viruses and other malware, user error (such as accidental deletion), theft, natural disaster, hardware failure (such as a PSU shorting out and frying everything, including the drives), etc. For data to be reasonably safe, backups should be kept separate from the computer and connected only when updating the backup. Also, since the media a backup is kept on can also fail, you should have more than one kept in separate locations. While only one backup is better than none, minimally acceptable backup scheme would include an onsite backup and an offsite backup with both being updated frequently. An onsite backup can be as simple as an external HDD kept separate from the computer, such as in a drawer. An offsite backup can be a second external HDD that you take to work with you and keep locked up in a desk drawer or keep at a trusted neighbor's or friend's house.

That said, for windows, I use Macrium Reflect Free (here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect) to image my OS and programs drive/partition on each of my machines. Images can be easily used to restore an OS and programs to the state they were at when the image was made. One can keep multiple copies of images if desired (actually, doing so is a pretty good idea).

While images are necessary for restoring the OS and programs, they are inefficient and too bulky for backing more than a tiny amount of data. I prefer to backup data with FreeFileSync, a folder/file syncing program. Instead of taking a snapshot of all of your data the way imaging would do, one the initial backup has been made, a folder/file syncing program, when used in mirror mode, will compare the data on the source drive (either all of it or just preselected folders) with data on the destination drive and will then either copy to the destination drive or delete from the destination drive files that have been added, changed, or deleted from the source drive. The result is essentially an exact copy of the original drive. Since only files that have been added, changed, or deleted since the previous backup, backups are much faster than imaging. I average five to ten minutes a day to backup my data drives in my computer (I have three). Also, the data on the backup is easier to access since the drive is essentially a clone of the original drive.

Another feature of FreeFileSync I like is the ability to send deleted files to a Versioning folder or drive. That way, if you accidentally delete a file, you can recover it from the versioning folder or drive.
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 Best Backup Software for Win7 and Mac




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