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John Walker

Recommendations for a simple (Free) File Back Up Program Please

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Hi All,

 

I have previously used Seagate Manager to back up files to my external drives.  It was a basic system but did all I need. Unfortunately they didn't update it from Win 7 and it doesn't work fully with Win 8, 8.1 or 10.

 

So.....  any recommendations for a very basic back-up program please?

 

[a] I want to choose which files/folders are backed up and which destination they are backed up to.  

 

I want files to be backed up without compression etc - an exact copy is required.

 

[c] I don't need system files, emails or settings backed up.  Mainly all my image and video files are all I require backed up.

 

[d] I want to back up manually - auto back ups not required.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

John

 

ps, I was recommended GFI Back Up but I can't get past the opening as it requests Administrator password and Domain etc.  Haven't a clue where to find these as I don't think I've ever set them up.

Edited by John Walker

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I've used Drive Image XML for a few years to do (I think) what you desire. I don't know that is has been updated but does seem to run on Win 10. I am just now switching to Macrium Reflect (home, free) but have only used it a few times - so not much knowledge on regular use. I use iMatch by PhotTools for my DAM database and quite a few of those users have gone with Macrium Reflect.

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I use FreeFileSync to maintain a duplicate of my library folder structure and content. I switch the backup drive each week. I also have my library on a pair of mirrored drives in my computer. The offline backup lives in our motorhome and travels with us on our journeys! I used to  use SynchToy and that worked fine as well.

 

When I add a new backup drive into the cycle I make a one-off copy of my library drive(s) and then let it synch each night to maintain the copy up to date.

 

I have had occasion to copy a folder back and it was straightforward as the data copy is not compressed, just literally a duplicate.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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Microsoft SyncToy does the job for me, no compression, directories and files clearly visible. Only backs up changes ( there are options) and you select what to back up. It remembers your preferences.

 

I previously used a program that was too clever by half and now cannot access encrypted stuff on old drives.

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Microsoft SyncToy does the job for me, no compression, directories and files clearly visible. Only backs up changes ( there are options) and you select what to back up. It remembers your preferences.

 

I previously used a program that was too clever by half and now cannot access encrypted stuff on old drives.

 

 

That was why I went the same file synch route. It is effiicient and no complex restore process. May use more disk space, but hey, disks are pretty cheap these days.

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Thanks for all the replies so far.

 

Question about SyncToy.  Does it also remove deleted files from the back or are they just left there taking up space?  

 

John

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Thanks for all the replies so far.

 

Question about SyncToy.  Does it also remove deleted files from the back or are they just left there taking up space?  

 

John

 

From what I can recall - need to do a backup some time soon - it does delete backed up files if originals deleted. However there are options, you tell it what you want it to do. 

 

One drawback, it's not fast, but maybe that's due to my hardware and tendency to wait too long between backups!

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I had a peek at SyncToy. Looks interesting.

 

Just wondering, what are the advantages of using a "manager" program like this over backing up manually (which is what I do now)?

Edited by John Mitchell

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I had a peek at SyncToy. Looks interesting.

 

Just wondering, what are the advantages of using a "manager" program like this over backing up manually (which is what I do now)?

I'd hesitated to ask the question, but I'm in good company so I ask it as well.

I just copy images over to the backup drive every couple of weeks.

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I had a peek at SyncToy. Looks interesting.

 

Just wondering, what are the advantages of using a "manager" program like this over backing up manually (which is what I do now)?

I'd hesitated to ask the question, but I'm in good company so I ask it as well.

I just copy images over to the backup drive every couple of weeks.

 

 

I usually backup images manually every night, which is not an onerous task in my case since I'm not exactly prolific.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Usually software dedicated have more option. Probably the most important is that they made incremental back-up. You can set the time and when must done. So you can set the software to make a back up every day at midnight every day or once a week or hourly and so on. Naturally you can start the backup when you want in example if you have new images and want to have on fly a copy backed. The feature more important is incremental back up the software copy only the new files or the modified files. For example you have in your folder file a, b, and c. you add in the folder file d. When the backup software start scan the folder find the file d and copy only this file to the destination doing nothing to the other files both in original folder and in destination. This is only the basic function, but to answer you, Mark and John I think that these tool can check if the files are modified. If in your folder you have file a b and c and you rework file b the software notice the change and backup the new version. Try to think when you have 20000 photos if you modify ten pictures you must remember which are to save it or you are at risk to have an outdated backup. Last usually the software creates some hashtag to control the integrity of the files. If you want to save only, say, the raw probably you can copy manually, but when you start to have jpeg tiff more than a version like a color and a b&w photos a software that do the job is more efficient. You can run the program when you want but also you can schedule when it must run and avoid the laziness; sometimes happen to delay the back up only to find that then is too late...

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In mid flight when Alberto produced his comprehensive reply.

 

Advantages - It will automatically back up the the folders that you choose, including any renaming or deleting that you have done. You don't have to think about it, just tell it to get on with the job. In my case I back up my documents, photos, music and web pages. SyncToy first looks for the changes that have occurred since your last backup and then copies/deletes/renames accordingly. 

 

If what you do works for you then why change?

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Thanks very much for the detailed replies. Think I'll download SyncToy and give it a try. A couple of quick questions, though. Is it possible to disable SyncToy altogether and go back to manual backup? Does SyncToy slow down your computer at all? I've tried backup file "managing" software in the past that have come with various external hard drives and usually found them annoying and tough to get rid of.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Thanks very much for the detailed replies. Think I'll download SyncToy and give it a try. A couple of quick questions, though. Is it possible to disable SyncToy altogether and go back to manual backup? Does SyncToy slow down your computer at all? I've tried backup file "managing" software in the past that have come with various external hard drives and usually found them annoying and tough to get rid of.

 

I scheduled SyncToy and subsequently FreeFileSync to doa synchronisaation each night after I went to bed. The way I use them they don't synch in real time. I didn't want that as I didn't want them loading my computer and to give more control, so I can restructure folders, move files around on my data discs and only when I have finished for the day (and it is stable) does it get reflected in my backup. I still take a system image backup of my boot disk but on a weekly or more occasional basis (say weekly or when I make some set up changes), I don't keep any data of importance on my C: drive (that is not in the cloud or on my web server)

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I don't know synctoy I saw briefly a page about it. For what I understand Synctoy don't support schedules so you can use it how you want. You backup the folders when you want. The advantage is that it has three option.

Synchronize you have a carbon copy destination folder.

Echo. Update in one direction. If you change or delete a file in your original folder the same happen in the destination, not viceversa as in synchronize.

Contribute. Same as echo with the difference that if you delete a file in your original folder synctoy don't delete this/these file/s in the destination; is an option to avoid wrong deletion.

 

As I said I don't know this specific program but as general rule usually the pc is not slowed down, only warning, Expect a long first run. Every program the first time you launch a backup must check all the files in the folder and then copy. This depend on the data you have to save can require a lot of time, but then is all really fast.

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The point about a long first run is a good one. It is why I make make a straight copy first as I know all the folders that will be in the set to be synchronised.

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Thanks again everyone,

 

I decided to go with SyncToy.  Very easy to set up and have already backed up 5 years worth of images on yet another external drive - now backing up on 3 external drives plus BackBlaze cloud type backup.

 

It might seem like overkill but the thought of losing all that work and all my family images and videos doesn't bear thinking about.

 

This gives some idea of the program in use.  There are probably better videos but this gave me enough of an insight.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdeWQkZDUVM

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Oh dear, it seems that I have been confusing SyncToy with FreeFileSync. This reviewer thinks FreeFileSync is the better of the two.

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Oh dear, it seems that I have been confusing SyncToy with FreeFileSync. This reviewer thinks FreeFileSync is the better of the two.

I looked at 'FreeFileSync' John and it does look good but I didn't like the user reviews at the bottom of the main review - some comments made me wary. Have now backed up all my sensitive files with SyncToy. I did an experiment and changed the name of just one file among 170,000. I then ran a scan and it found the change in seconds and updated the destination file. Looks like SyncToy will cover my requirements. Thanks again everyone from a very satisfied forum member.

 

John

Edited by John Walker

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Totally agree SyncToy - used for the past few years

 

No great bells and whistles but it does what is required!

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