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Windows 7: What is the best method for verifying that a backup was successful?

07 May 2014   #1

Windows 7 64 bit
What is the best method for verifying that a backup was successful?

I've tried many backup utilities. Everything from Robocopy to SyncBack to GoodSync to Unstoppable Copier to the good ole drag 'n drop.

When I'm done with a copy - even if the software says the copy was successful - I'll right click on the source and destination to ensure they match. Quite often they don't. It then becomes just about the most tedious task imaginable to find the culprit file or folders.

Here's an example of something which happened. I copy folder X from one drive to another using SyncBack. I then right click on the source and it says 11 files. I right click on the destination and it says 10 files. I then rename destination folder X to be Y. Then I perform a drag and drop of folder X from source to destination. Now when I right click, it says 11 files.

And none of these tools provide an adequate log which will show which files failed to copy. Is there some other software I could run which will find the files which don't match?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2014   #2
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64

Can you be more specific about which file goes missing?

Setup a small test with 10 files, and shows us the problem using images.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2014   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Have you looked at WinMerge?

WinMerge is an Open Source differencing and merging tool for Windows. WinMerge can compare both folders and files, presenting differences in a visual text format that is easy to understand and handle.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 May 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1

It sounds like you are cloning files. A more efficient way is to make a system image. The program that most use here is Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download It makes an image, confirms at the end that it is correct. An image is about 50% smaller than cloning. I have never had a problem with an image restoring.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2014   #5
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

There are various kinds of backups. Cloning makes an exact duplicate of a drive onto another drive. There should be no variation at all between the two drives when done. Cloning can be done only with entire drives, not just one partition on a drive.

Imaging takes a snapshot of your drive or partition, similar to a photo negative. The image can then be used to reproduce the original drive or partition on another drive or partition. As with cloning, the original and the reproduction should be identical. Some imaging programs (such as the paid version of Macrium Reflect that I use) have a feature that will verify an image one just made.

Folder/file syncing programs copy folders and files that you have selected. Most will treat an entire drive as a folder. They are faster and more efficient than cloning and imaging because they copy only folders and files that have changed since the last time you synced. However, they can't be used to reproduce system files; only cloning and imaging can do that. They are more work to set up but, once set up, syncing programs are much faster than imaging and cloning. One characteristic of folder/file syncing programs is most of them have a default setting to exclude files not needed on the destination, such as:

\System Volume Information\

This can cause confusion if comparing file and folder counts and sizes but really isn't a problem.

I use a combination of imaging and folder/file syncing to backup my computer. I use Macrium Reflect Free (here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect) to backup my boot drive, which has my OS and my programs on it, once a week and before I make any changes to it and FreeFileSync to backup my data drives every day.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2014   #6

Windows 7

I think you can restore. If restore is successful, so the backup is successful. BTW, my tool, aomei backupper with its latest version 2.0 supports file backup. You can try this and others.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 What is the best method for verifying that a backup was successful?

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