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  1. #1
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    backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    Does anyone know of good inexpensive or free software to backup files and folders on my Vista OS. I do not like the backup that is installed with Vista. I used an 80 GB external hard drive for my nightly backup on my personal computer and the 80 GB was filled up in less than a month. I know that I am obsessive about backing up my data; I have learned the hard way that too much backup is better than not enough.

    I found some software on a web site called vistadownloads; however, I'm not familiar with this web site and am cautious about installing it.

    Anyone have a suggestion for me?

    Thanks!
    Barbara<div align='center'></div>

  2. #2
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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    A lof of people here in the lounge use Acronis TrueImage.

    I am going to move this post from our Windows Vista forum to the Software Finds and Wants forum, as that is where we discuss third party software products.

    StuartR

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    Depending on your definition of "inexpensive" I'd say that Acronis TrueImage is inexpensive because of its ease of use and the long term mileage you'll get from it. Making an "image" backup of an entire drive takes usually in the area of 15-30 minutes, even to an external drive. That's everything - operating system, data files and so on. Selected files can be restored if necessary.

    Now, on the order of free stuff, if you Google you will find so much backup software that it's impossible to read it all let alone try enough of them to discover what you really like. However, if you truly want to backup ONLY some files and don't want to pay, Karen's Replicator is trusted by many and often recommended here in The Lounge. I don't use it myself because it was just a bit too much trouble setting up the file selection process and by that time I had decided that imaging was easier and very fast.

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    Hi Barbara,
    I will aslo vouch for Acronis TrueImage Home.

    As for your 80 GB drive filling up very quickly, there can be a few reasons for this. Are you doing full or incremental backups each night? If the former (full), then the disk will fill up very quickly. If incremental, then possibly the first FULL backup is taking up more space than required.

    Vista's System Restore and Shadow Copies (while much more usefull than XP's Restore Points) can consume disk space very quickly. Prior to running a full backup, I always run Disk Cleanup (Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup) with the option "Files from all users on this computer" and then select the appropriate drive. Once Disk Cleanup has scanned the drive, then select the "More Options" tab and "Clean up" the System Restore and Shadow Copies. This will remove all but the most recent Restore Point.

    This procedure may also remove the Hibernation File (which is fine if you don't use the hibernation feature) which also consumes disk space. To make sure that this file is removed, have a look at this MSKB article . This same article also tells you how to re-enable the hibernation file if you require it.

    Removing the hibernation file and removing all but the most recent restore point will make your full backup much smaller. Hope this is of some help.
    John
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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    Thanks to both of you for your replies. I read the documentation on both recommended backup software programs and decided Karen's was sufficient for my needs. I'm much more comfortable using software recommended by the Lounge "pros" than simply choosing one by guess-work.

    Thanks for your promptness in replying.
    Barbara<div align='center'></div>

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    Thank you, John, for your information. I thought I was only backing up files that had changed since the last backup but I'm not sure that is the case. I spent some time with my Dell Tech person and he managed to confuse me even more. I didn't know to delete the System Restore points or how to turn off Hibernation. I will certainly do that and try again. How can I choose to only backup changes to my files?

    Reading the window in System Backup, it states that only files that have changed will be backed up; I don't see a space to choose between a full backup or the other. The Shadow Backup, etc. is confusing to me. I don't understand why my computer has been divided between two hard drives: C and D and the D drive is half-filled (it is 10 GB drive). Is that the Shadow? What is its purpose?

    Vista is still a mystery to me; you'll notice that my nickname in this lounge is "Novice" and it is well-deserved...but I'm trying hard and learning a lot!
    Barbara<div align='center'></div>

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    I have been using the FREE app called SyncBack from http://www.2brightsparks.com/
    Michael

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    "How can I choose to only backup changes to my files?"

    I don't use the Vista backup application Barbara, so I won't comment on that. I don't use Karen's Replicator either and I'm not sure whether or not it is compatible with Vista. Perhaps someone else can comment on this.

    Your D: drive is a utility partition where Dell has included a "factory restore" procedure. This partition has nothing to do with restore points or shadow copies. I wouldn't worry too much about that partition now, but it is there in case you ever want to restore your computer the exact same state is was when Dell delivered the computer. Probably not a good idea to delete it or store other information there.

    As for being a "novice", don't worry about that. We were all novices at some point in time.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

  9. #9
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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    I'd like to venture one more opinion on the subject of backup, Barbara. Well, maybe it's TWO opinions because the first thing I would say is that I don't use any backup program provided by the Windows operating system, including system restore. I can't speak for Vista (yet) but in the past the MS programs have proven to be less than satisfactory, and I think that's an understatement. System restore ONLY takes care of operating system stuff and doesn't protect YOUR data at all.

    Now, on the subject of backing up only "changes" to important data, here's a link you might like to read: Incremental/differential backup differences There are Loungers who will disagree with me on this, but it just ain't worth it in my opinion. When you do these kinds of backup, YOU take on the file management responsibility of having to look after several layers of backup, the added space for storage and the time spent IF you have to restore files from such a system.

    With the tremendous improvements in speed of modern day backup programs, it's far simpler, consumes less space and very, very fast to backup EVERYTHING you want to backup, in its entirety, every time. You will find if you search The Lounge, where I've said in the past that here's MY chosen backup strategy. Once per week I use TrueImage to make an image backup of my entire hard drive. It takes only a short time to backup the whole hard drive and I can restore individual files from those images if necessary. I do these images to an alternating two external USB hard drives.

    Every night, at 1 AM I have a scheduled (automatic) backup of selected files that I think are important enough to backup each day. These are files such as my browser bookmarks, email files, word processor documents, Quicken financial files, spreadsheets, etc. I think you get the idea! It so happens I use Backup Now to do this (NOT free!), but if you think Karen's Replicator suits your needs, that's a great selection too! I can only "testify" that I've NEVER lost anything and in almost 30 years of PC use, I've had plenty of days of problems.

    We all wish you good luck in this...

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    "System restore ONLY takes care of operating system stuff and doesn't protect YOUR data at all."

    That's not the case with the Vista version Al (at least with Vista Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise). Have a look at this article (in particular the System Restore and Shadow Copy section). Vista's System Restore is much more comprehensive and useful that the XP version.
    John
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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    That's absolutely true. Vista's "System Restore/Shadow Copy" utility is far superior to anything that preceded it. The scheduled backup for files and folders is also quite good and it does just backup "new and/or changed" files after the first backup is run. Since I too use True Image Home 10, I agree with Al that to use Windows backup or Karen's "Replicator" would be anti-climatic since anything/everything is accessible for restoration from the True Image backup file(s).

    Now.. having said that, I must confess that the new Vista backup of the complete system (btw, the utility is called, 'CompletePC Backup' for both files/folders and total system) is VERY good. It is extremely fast too. For example, I ran it the other night out of curiosity and it backed up my complete system (23 gigs used space) in less than 5 minutes. And, the big plus is that is works much like True Image Workstation 9.1 with the Universal Restore addon. In other words, you can restore your system even if you have replaced the motherboard or even to a totally different machine, with one qualitification. The HDD of the machine to which you will restore the image must be of equal or greater size than the original.

    No, I am NOT discarding True Image... <IMG SRC=http://www.the-highway.com/Smileys/drop.gif>. But I am now going to use Vista's "CompletePC Backqualificationup" utility to do a backup of my system on a monthly schedule. It should be noted, however, that as far as I know, the ability to backup the complete system with "CompletePC Backup" is ONLY available in Vista Ultimate Edition.
    Jeff
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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    It is thoughtful answers like this that keep me recommending Woody's Lounge to all my computer buddies, Al. I appreciate your thoughts and find that they echo the decisions I have made about backing up. Having multiples copies of document changes isn't a help to me; it is confusion. Thank you again and all the other folks who responded to my question.

    I've installed Karen's software and I think I'll really like it. It is very versatile and easy to use. It will be awhile before I can judge how well it works, but I'm giving it a try. The generosity of web people in sharing their software for free is amazing and I have downloaded many little programs that are so handy, like StripMail and Audacity.

    Thanks again.
    Barbara<div align='center'></div>

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    John,
    Intersting you mentioned it. I don't have Vista, but I've read about Shadow Copy and "Previous versions" etc. And since this thread is about Premium, I was expecting someone to mention that it's not the same as in Business, Ultimate or Enterprise. I.e. it's there but you can't restore (Previous versions). Shadow copy, however, is used by both System Restore and Previous Versions. System Restore and imaging etc. is, of course a different matter, from Previous versions. First thing I thought when I saw Barbara mention this "filling up".

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    Big Al, thanks for sharing your backup strategy again; it's a good reminder.

    One question: Why do you use Backup Now for daily new and changed files, since you already have TrueImage for your weekly image backup?

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    Re: backup software (Vista Home Premium)

    <hr>Why do you use Backup Now... <hr>
    Because I use it to backup only SELECTED files, amounting to just under 2 gig, whereas my full image weekly back is about 25-30 gig (the whole drive). The nightly procedure takes about 2 minutes to backup those files so I'm never without some protection, right up to "almost" real time.

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