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  1. #1
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    Simple ways to back up your most precious files




    BEST UTILITIES


    Simple ways to back up your most precious files


    By Lincoln Spector

    Backing up your PC on a regular basis is the only sure-fire way to protect both your system software and your data. There are many backup options; here's why separating system backup from data backup can make your computing life a bit easier.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/best-utilities/simple-ways-to-back-up-your-most-precious-files/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    For years now I have used Microsoft Rich tolls Rich copy. I have made a .cmd file from rick copy and set a task to run it every day. It will purge deleted files and copy's large files very quickly.
    Also weekly I make an Acronis backup image of my c drive.

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    You've probably heard this many times already...what do you think of Acronis? Have you reviewed it before? Have you had to extract files/folders and were you successful? Many Thanks. Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkagitBayTom View Post
    You've probably heard this many times already...what do you think of Acronis? Have you reviewed it before? Have you had to extract files/folders and were you successful? Many Thanks. Tom
    It works just fine as does that feature in Macrium Reflect and EaseUS ToDo. However, each has the shortcoming of requiring proprietary software to mount their respective images. Somewhere there should always probably be a one to one file backup that can be accessed by any ordinary Windows explorer or Linux file explorer. Such backups are easy to synchronize and keep up to date on a much more frequent basis without nearly as much hassle as imaging and incrementals (unless the data set is sufficiently small to not matter as much).

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    Thanks, Lincoln
    I agree. You want to backup your data in a way that makes it immediately available in the event of a problem. Simple copy or Zip are the only ways to go. Imaging is great for systems but if you need the system running to access your files, the backup has just failed you. Same with the many backup programs which store your backup in some obscure proprietary file format. It will fail you in practice.

    I'd also note you want the backup to not be on the same drive as your system.

    I've been using Cobain quite happily for some years. Its been very reliable. I do use a schedule because when I left it manual before, it got forgotten too often. I have it run at dinner time so I don't need to leave the system on all the time. It only takes a couple of minutes to do the days changed files. I also have it automatically do a full backup every 30 days.

    I'd agree Cobain isn't wizard-based but didn't find it hard to get to know and I like some of the options. You don't have to manually select each folder to back up but instead add the few folders you don't want included.

    Another tool I use for the really important files where there are a lot of versions, like key documents or spreadsheets, is called File Hamster. Just add those files or folders to the list and tell it where you want them to be stored. Ever time you hit Save, it makes a copy to the alt location. While File Hamster is not presented as free, it will default to a free basic version after the trial period. Well worth paying for though.

  6. #6
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    Hi Lincoln and Forum Members,

    The easiest to use, simplest to set up, most automatic (if you want it to be), least intrusive, file backup program I ever ran across is "Second Copy" by Centered Systems. (centered dot com)

    I have used it at home and on the networks I'm in charge of since the year 2000, and I never saw a bug.

    It supports all versions of Windows including 8, in 32 and 64 bit systems.

    Files are backed up in native formats or zips - your choice on a folder by folder basis.

    Keep or overwrite previous file versions, your choice on a folder by folder basis.

    It does files and file structures, not disk images. There are plenty of good programs for that, both paid and free.

    If you need help, they answer quickly and clearly, in language anyone can understand.

    They offer a free trial.

    It is very cheap. $29.95 (single user) currently with no annual renewals needed - you own it forever.

    Centered is a very small outfit, and has won best software of the year awards several times. Their customers range from individuals to large corporations. They do not get the fame they deserve.

    Ignore this software and you are missing out on a very good thing.

  7. #7
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    I have been using 'Second Copy' data files backup program for years....works perfectly, lots of control, and easy to do.
    I have a second hard drive and Second Copy copies data from C: to backup drive (J: but could be any drive letter) automatically according to my settings....by data type and frequency I choose. Inexpensive as well. Highly rated for good reason.

    http://www.secondcopy.com/

    Doug.S

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Karen's Replicator. It's part of Karen's Power tools. It's easy to use and has all sorts of options including being able to back up to network drives. I found out about it years ago because our office used it to back up everyone's individual station folders to our server. I've been using it ever since. My set up is a SSD for my operating system with two one terabyte hard drives in the case. One of them is my primary storage and Karen's replicator duplicates all the files on it to the second with no trouble at all. It's beautifully simple because it just works and best of all, it's free!

    http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp

    D Nev

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    Always appreciate learning about good backup programs, but every time I go to use one I end up with one major unanswered question. WHAT should I backup? - I have a D: drive where I put all my personal data creations. That's an easy one: Backup up D: - But my C: drive also has a major folder that contains unique data, Users, and a subfolder bearing my name. Should I backup the entire Users folder? It appears to have all kinds of important application data, coming from programs I would be certain to reinstall if I ever needed to reformat or factory-recover my drive. Do I want to backup the entire Users (my name) subfolder, or just the part of it with my name? - Any other C: drive folders I should be backing up? - TIA for any help.

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    I like Backer from Cordes Development - http://www.cordes-dev.com/english/overview.html . It is a file replicator and you can set up filters to copy forward, backward or both based on file size, date, etc. Very powerful. It is my primary file backup program. You can try it for free as long as you like, but the free version nags you a bit.
    Bill Meacham
    bmeacham98 AT yahoo.com

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    2 Star Lounger bmeacham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr4939 View Post
    Do I want to backup the entire Users (my name) subfolder, or just the part of it with my name? - Any other C: drive folders I should be backing up?
    Yes, backup C:\Users\<yourname>. Also back up anyplace else on C: that you store data files in.

    If your backup software allows you to exclude folders from C:\Users\<yourname>, you can exclude C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\Local and C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\LocalLow.
    Bill Meacham
    bmeacham98 AT yahoo.com

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    I've never really understood backups. Never understood what to backup. I've been reading Fred Langa Lists since Win 98. Still never made any sense to me. So my first attempt was with Windows one Care or something like that. I still have a 16gb file that I can't recover. Tks Microsoft. I didn't attempt a backup again for a few more years. To date I have tried four different programs. I could never recover any files from them. A little gun shy you might say. Also my first four images never worked either. I'm apparently doomed. I do however copy my documents, my music, and my pictures to an external hard drive. I'm not sure what else needs to be copied/backed up. I do an image every month. I hope they will work when I may need them. I'm just an old guy that doesn't understand the terminology.

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    Have you ever looked at Gene Backup Manager by Gene-Soft? I have been using it since 2010. I have it set to do a data back up every day at a time when I am not using my PC (~35GB backup takes 1 hr.). I keeps the last 6 days and does a weekly each week and keeps the last 3 weeks and does a monthly once per month. The latest version which I am considering upgrading to allows quarterly and yearly backups. Each back up can select what ever files / folder you choose. So I only back up some seldom used files on a monthly basis. I back up to a TB USB drive. It has the capability to back up multiple PCs on a network. I do not encrypt or compress files so it is easy to find back up data and retrieve it. Latest version also allows back up to an alternate drive if primary is not connected or is full.

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