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    Free backup programs — not from Microsoft

    By Lincoln Spector

    The ideal backup routine should be reasonably easy to set up and as automated as possible. Windows 7 offers a reasonable backup tool, and Win8 has a much better one; but there are also non-Microsoft backup apps that are both more powerful and easier to use. Here are three good options.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/best-utilities/free-backup-programs-not-from-microsoft/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

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


    Viewing 8 reply threads
    • #1501115

      Hi Lincoln,
      I think your missing one good backup option that I’ve been using for years. Karen’s Ware: Karen’s Replicator. It’s not fancy but it does a nice job of backing up to local and networked drives. It may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the “newer” software but it’s done a remarkable job for us. Our office even had a bat file that set in motion a backup every time one logged into the local office network. And best of all, it’s free!

      • #1501120

        I’m surprised that you did not include the free versions of the venerable Acronis TrueImage in the article. Both Seagate and Western Digital provide somewhat crippled versions of the Acronis TrueImage software for use on systems equipped with at least one of their drives. This free version will essentially do all of the things provided by the applications suggested in the article. As almost every system with an external drive, has at least one Western Digital or Seagate/Maxtor drive, this application is free to almost everyone. I’ve used Paragon in the past, but like TrueImage much more.

        • #1501428

          I got a version of free Acronis recently and it wouldn’t work on Win8.1
          I’ve also tried the Seagate version and it didn’t have the features.

      • #1501254

        Hi DNev. I am looking for a replacement for Karen’s replicator. I can’t make it work with Windows 8.1 and a friend can’t make it work with Windows 7. I particularly want a BU program which will allow me to restore individual files or folders and will replicate changes I make to my data. ie. If I delete or move a file or folder the action will be replicated in the backup. I would appreciate if you could tell me how to use Replicator with Win 7 and 8.1. Sorry, I seem to have made a mistake. My first attempt at posting. Do the recommended programs allow allow recovery of individual files and folders.

        • #1501545

          Hi DNev. I am looking for a replacement for Karen’s replicator…. I particularly want a BU program which will allow me to restore individual files or folders and will replicate changes I make to my data.

          What you are requesting is replication, not backup. I always use Robocopy for replication, but it may be a little complicated for you. I suggest you open a thread under Maintenance or Other Applications and ask for help with Karen’s Replicator.

          The backup programs mentioned all allow you to restore individual files.

          cheers, Paul

        • #1514487

          It’s called Karen’s Replicator and it will do exactly what you are asking for. Search for KarenWare.com and you will find a bunch of nice software including Karen’s Replicator. Sadly Karen passed away but someone is trying hard to keep her software available. They’re doing this by donation so if it works for you I would encourage you to send them a few dollars.

          Another product I have use is from Salty Brine Software (http://www.saltybrine.com/) They have a couple of products that I have used with much success, though they are not free. One is called FolderMatch and the other is FolderClone. I think both will do what you are asking for and the interface may be a little easier to use. It even warns you that if you want to replicate and you delete a file you will lose the backup copy too because it will delete it in the process of syncing the files.

    • #1501423

      Thanks, Lincoln. I was using Win7’s Imaging tool but don’t find Win8’s meets my needs. I’ve been using AOMEI and it does concern me that it just keeps filling the drive. I’ll give EaseUS a try.

    • #1501430

      Typically, this review focuses on the features of the BACKUP processes with scant mention of the RESTORE processes. It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles the backup processes have, if the restore processes are hard to use, inadequate, offer insufficient control etcetera, then… you know the rest.

      Doing a backup is not an end in itself – it’s the means via which the user can do a restore!

      I have lost count of the number of times people have contacted me after doing a ‘restore’ and ended up in an even worse situation than they were already in. That includes two of the recommended products, MS backup and Apples Time Machine.

      If someone has to do a ‘restore’ then they’re probably stressed. Now they are faced with doing something they’ve probably never done before, hence more stress. When people are stressed they will make mistakes, more so if they’re also tired. A good restore process should a) try to prevent such mistakes, and b) provide a way to undo the mistakes. Do any of the products recommended do that – in my experience, probably not!

      FWIW : I use Macrium for System Backups and Good Synch for Data Backups – neither are free.


    • #1501809

      I’ve never had to use a back-up to restore files, so I’m talking theoretically here – I have the old Norton Ghost – it has the facility for a rescue disc, and backs-up to a USB Passport drive.
      It also automatically deletes old back-ups – keeping three.

    • #1501825

      I’ve used Syncback Free
      for at least 6 years and found it convenient and easy to back up to multiple locations and different types of media.
      I used in the past, Karen’s replicator and it worked well, also.

    • #1502437

      A good backup should automatically delete older full and incremental images depending on how many you want to maintain for the size of the backup drive. Smart sector imaging is nice (where it only copies the occupied sectors in a full image).

      It should have a verify function as well.

      Compression, email notification/logging, password and encryption protection is nice too.

    • #1507798

      Just testing EaseUS. Nice interface but it has zippo help and some of the settings are not obvious.
      The scheduled File Backup didn’t run automatically, apparently because I hadn’t started the program. It is running as a Service so I’m not sure what the issue is. I have the user login set on the schedule.

      When I launched the software today, Disc Partition ran immediately even though it wasn’t scheduled for another couple of days and didn’t have an outstanding event.

      Any suggestions? I’m on Win8.1

    • #1508952

      I suggest you open a new thread asking for help with EaseUS, under Security and Scams.

      cheers, Paul

    • #1515031

      I have used Acronis and Paragon backup for a period. Now I am using Aomei Backupper free edition. In comparison with the former two, functions are powerful and saved much money for me.:cool:

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