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Windows 7: Reliable backup software for Windows 7?

27 Aug 2015   #1
classic35mm

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
Reliable backup software for Windows 7?

I am looking for a good backup program for Windows 7 Pro (64 bit). I recently upgraded from Windows XP Pro SP3. On that OS, I used HP SimpleSave software for my backups. HP SimpleSave did one full backup the first time I installed it, and after that, it would backup changed files every time my computer was idle for 5 minutes. And as this article notes, "The backup is simply the duplicate of the original files, making restoring very fast and easy." I liked HP SimpleSave's simplicity.

I doubt that HP SimpleSave is natively compatible with Windows 7 -- and even if it is, I'm not even sure where to get it (except from the original external hard drive).

Do you know of good, reliable backup software for Windows 7? I'm particularly looking for software that will backup modified files every time my computer is idle for a certain length of time. Sort of a pseudo-continuous incremental backup.

Thanks so much for your time.


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27 Aug 2015   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Do you want to back up JUST your personal data files?

Or your Windows installation?

Or both?

Or "everything on all partitions in my PC"?

Or "everything on this one drive in my PC"?

Or?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2015   #3
classic35mm

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

I want to backup JUST my personal data files, not my Windows installation. I'd like to be able to specify the particular drives/partitions/directories where those personal data files reside.
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27 Aug 2015   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Do you want a free app or do you mind paying say $30?

If the latter, Second Copy from Centered Systems is excellent. Easy to understand and use, been around for over a decade. Lots of functionality with a highly polished interface.

If the former, there are at least a half dozen choices that do pretty much the same thing. They would differ in their interfaces and how easily understood they are to someone who has never used them before. They all can include or exclude whatever files or folders you choose.

Here's several free apps:

Syncback

FreeFileSync

Allway Sync

FBackup

Synchromagic

Karen's Replicator

I use FreeFileSync without any problems, but it is not the easiest to understand for the uninitiated. I've got it set up to run with a single mouse click.

One mouse click backs up ALL of my data on my D drive.

A separate mouse click backs up ONLY my Thunderbird Email on my C drive.

Another separate mouse click backs up ONLY my browser bookmarks on my C drive.

You could also use an imaging program such as Macrium or Aomei or Paragon. Certain versions of those programs include a data backup capability separate from the imaging capability. I do use Macrium, but only for imaging, so I can't comment on how well the data backup works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2015   #5
classic35mm

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for your time. I'm ok with paying a small amount if it gets me a reliable data backup solution, but free is always good too.

I'm looking at FreeFileSync, which you suggested, now. Do you happen to know if it is possible to set it to run data backups automatically? A single click is good, but I'm worried I might forget or neglect to do even that.

One thing that was really nice about HP SimpleSave was that it would only backup modified files when the computer was idle for 5 minutes. It was nice that the backups would never happen while I was actively using my computer, modifying files, etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2015   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by classic35mm View Post
Thanks for your time. I'm ok with paying a small amount if it gets me a reliable data backup solution, but free is always good too.

I'm looking at FreeFileSync, which you suggested, now. Do you happen to know if it is possible to set it to run data backups automatically? A single click is good, but I'm worried I might forget or neglect to do even that.
You should at least examine Second Copy. The last I heard, they still had a 30 day free trial. If you like it, you send them 30 by check or Paypal and they send you an activation key that you apply to the trial version and continue running it.

I don't think FreeFileSync has "built-in" scheduling, but I'd assume you can run it via Windows Task Scheduler--which I've never used.

Personal opinion: I don't like "automatically" for backup purposes. It takes your head out of the game and you get complacent---assuming everything is being backed up as you want when that might not be true. I'd much rather do it manually, at will, immediately when I say so---while I can watch the progress on screen and examine the results for confirmation.

I've got about 90,000 data files. In a typical day, I make a few new files, delete a few files, and modify a few existing files. I run FreeFileSync anywhere from once to 4 or 5 times a day. It typically takes 10 seconds to 70 seconds to complete. This on a stock Intel i5-2500 machine--a mid-range machine by today's standards.

The only time it would take longer is if I had (for instance) made a new image file of my C drive with Macrium. Such files are about 18 GB in size. In that case, FreeFileSync might take 3 minutes to complete--only because it takes that long for an 18 GB file to copy from drive D (data drive) to drive E (backup drive).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2015   #7
classic35mm

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Yeah, you have a point about complacency in automatic backups. I actually make my own manual backups every few months (i.e., manually copying, with Windows Explorer, my documents folders to a second external drive, separate from the external drive I use for automatic backups). Although, probably I should be doing these manual backups much more often, to avoid complacency, like you said. But I don't have time to manually click a button five times a day, even if each process only takes 10-70 seconds to complete.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2015   #8
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by classic35mm View Post
But I don't have time to manually click a button five times a day, even if each process only takes 10-70 seconds to complete.
Hmmm.......I make hundreds of mouse clicks per hour. Guess you are quite the busy guy if you can't fit another one in.

Well, then you must rely on scheduling, even though you can continue to use the PC during those 10 to 70 seconds.

Good luck. I don't know offhand of any backup apps that allegedly include scheduling. I imagine there are some, but I can't say how well the scheduling functionality works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2015   #9
classic35mm

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

It's more that I think I would find it rather distracting to have to remember to click the button 4-5 times each day. I'm liable to forget or be distracted by the question of, when was the last time I clicked to backup? It's not that I don't have time for a few extra clicks since I, like you, click hundreds of times every hour.

Thanks a lot for your time. I really appreciate it, and please don't take offense by my scatterbrained nature when it comes to backups.
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