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  • Backing up and file syncing

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Backing up and file syncing

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      • #2212650 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        I’ve been doing all of my backing up to an external hard drive, and am now considering adding an online service. Also, now that I have a new laptop, I’m interested in file syncing.

        I’ve seen a number of discussions to the effect that backing up online and file syncing online are two different things. I understand that.

        So the question arises: what’s the best way to proceed if I want to do both? Do I simply get myself two services, one for each? Or is there a single service that handles both chores?

        Also, what services do people recommend, and, importantly, why?

        Any and all advice appreciated.

      • #2212702 Reply

        I’ve recently starting using Acronis True Image 2020. This lets you back up to both the “cloud” and to a local drive (I’m using an external USB disc). Seems to be working fine for me so far. Previously used Windows 7 Backup and Recovery, but only local.


        Don E.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2212734 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        So the question arises: what’s the best way to proceed if I want to do both? Do I simply get myself two services, one for each? Or is there a single service that handles both chores?

        Well, “the best” very much depends on specifics, such as version retention and amount of data, and if you have a suitable secondary storage location… and whether your requirements include budget constraints.

        There are lots of services that do both to some extent, including Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive (for Business).

        Then there are lots of services that do only one of those tasks well, and the other only minimally or not at all.

        Dedicated cloud backup services for business typically have stronger privacy/security and can do specific version retention, and usually have much better status reporting, but are also more expensive than the basic “consumer-grade” online storage and typically much more complicated to configure.

        Some of the best sync-only “services” aren’t really much of a service, just an orchestrator… See “Syncthing” for example.

        Those with lots of time (including for learning…), very little budget and ~monthly access to a secondary safe storage location (borrow a storage locker?) would probably be best served with one of the free sync-only tools (such as Syncthing for example) and local backups still.

        Anyone else… well, depends.

        Small businesses that already trust Microsoft, Google or some such with their data and have a monthly subscription anyway, probably get best value for money by using the same vendor’s cloud storage/sync solution. Might still do local backups or get a dedicated cloud backup service from another provider.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2212824 Reply

          Some of the best sync-only “services” aren’t really much of a service, just an orchestrator… See “Syncthing” for example.

          Agreed.  I use Syncthing, and I like it a lot.  I use it in Linux, but there’s a Windows version also.  It’s more of a “free program” than a service, per se, though the developers do have a global discovery server if you wish to use it (also free).  I use it to sync my three main PCs, the desktop (best keyboard/mouse/monitor, lots of storage, reasonably fast), my G3 laptop (big and heavy, desktop replacement/gaming when not at home, used mainly when plugged in), and my Swift laptop (small and light, slow, long battery life).  They each have their role, and when I am at home, I use any of the three, and I want them all to have the same main data set.  The desktop has way more storage than either laptop, so syncing ALL data is not going to work, but each laptop has at least 1TB of space, which is enough for all of my “main” data set, for now at least.

          The sync schema ties in with my backup schema.  My desktop and Swift laptop have LUKS encrypted volumes to hold the personal data, and that’s a big partition (half a terabyte or so).  I use Veeam to make image-type backups, but the partition that contains the encrypted volume will always appear to be completely full of incompressible data, so it will take a very long time to image it, and use a lot of space on the backup media.  It’s not ideal, but I want any personal files I may create or modify on any one of the three PCs to be backed up.

          I didn’t mention the G3 as having a Luks volume, and it doesn’t.  I use the G3’s UEFI firmware to create a strong SATA password, which (when used on a self-encrypting drive like my Samsung 850 Evo) encrypts the data securely without needing an OS-level solution.  Linux isn’t even aware of the encryption, and it doesn’t need to be for it to work.

          That means I can image the data volume on the G3 without incurring the penalties inherent with a software-encrypted volume.  I can back up the entire G3 with Veeam, and because I synced the three data volumes, all of the data that changes on the desktop or Swift ends up in the G3’s backup.  For the Swift and desktop, only images of the system (root) partition and /home are needed.  I only keep non-personal data in /home, with symlinks to the data volume for browser profiles, email profiles, documents, pictures, and the like.

          If disaster strikes the Swift or the desktop, I can restore the operating system easily, and then the rest of it will sync back from the other two PCs.  If disaster strikes the G3, I have the full backup.

          There’s no actual paid service involved.  Veeam is free for home users, and Syncthing is free for everyone.  It’s true that this doesn’t include a “cloud” backup, but my internet is too slow for that to be of any use anyway.  Upstream is 2 megabit, and it’s the best offered where I live (and for more money than people who have 100 times the upstream speed have reported here).  I’m a cloud skeptic in general, but I might consider something like Backblaze if I had the speed.  I don’t know if that service would meet my needs, as I haven’t had reason to investigate it, but I’ve seen it by virtue of their hard drive reliability reports.  Enterprise-grade is out of my price range.


          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2262102 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        Sorry I’m so tardy in thanking people for their responses. I had a bad case of the flu (guess I have to be thankful it was that, and not coronavirus), and simply was not up to dealing with the computer. I may now have more questions, especially regarding Syncthing, but that will have to wait for me to get my head on straight.

        So for now, let me just say thanks.

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