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Simple complete backup system

Steve_Brady
Steve_Brady asked
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Hello,

Is there a backup program which will simply backup those files which have been modified or created since the previous backup rather than requiring a backup of the entire HD?  I'm not just referring to My Document files but to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that has changed on Drive C.

I use a laptop with a 60 GB HD and I have an external 250 GB HD for backups.  The external drive is full because I am constantly creating folders for new backups.

The optimal system for me would be to connect to the external HD each evening, click a button and go to bed and then when I wake in ther morning, know with assurance that everything is backed up and current.

Thanks,

Steve
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Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
It's called a DIFFERENTIAL backup.  Or an INCREMENTAL - but typically, DIFFERENTIALS are better.  Check out my backup comment, now a web page on the subject of backups:
http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/backup.asp

As for software that does it, the included XP BACKUP tool does it (NTBACKUP, available with XP Pro and XP Home on the Upgrade CD; if your computer came with XP Home, then you would need to download the tool - here's a web site with a link as well as tips on backing up.
http://www.winxptutor.com/ntbackup.htm

Another product that is pretty good, but I really don't use because NTBACKUP works just fine for me is Cobain Backup - http://www.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cobianbackup.htm
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
Using NTBackup, you can schedule the backups to take place so you don't even have to click a button.  Of course, if you PREFER to click the button, you can do that instead of scheduling.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
The approach I prefer is the following:

(1)  First, separate your system and data into two partitions.   With this arrangement you can restore the system partition (if it ever gets corrupted by bad updates; viruses; malware; etc.) and have NO impact on your data.

(2)  Image the system partition on a regular basis => but this does not need to be done very frequently;  just when you've made significant program changes/updates and/or it's been a while and you don't want to have to redo the Windows updates since the last image.     I have my system set to automatically do this once a month.

(3)  Backup the data with an automated backup program that does just what you suggested => only copies new and modified files.   SyncBack works very well for this (and is free).   I have my system set to automatically do this every night => but you could do it any time as it only takes a few seconds or minutes (depending on how much has changed).   If you prefer to "click a button" you could do that;  but in that case I wouldn't even "go to bed" => it will be done in less time than you can put your pajamas on :-)

This approach is described in more detail (focused on a desktop system, but the concept is the same) here:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21582113.html
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
There's nothing wrong with garycase's suggestion - other than in my mind, it's a more involved and time consuming plan with only marginal benefits and some risk.  When you have a tool that can backup files with a differential backup AND your system is already installed, going through the process of adjusting partitions can be dangerous and/or time consuming.  When you start over, repartition.  Until then, just use a backup tool.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Whether the benefits are "marginal" or not is in the eye of the beholder.   The first time someone who's organized like that needs to restore their system => and loses NO data in the process without having to do any copying from backups they quickly become a fan.

There IS some risk of resizing and adjusting the partitions => but with the right tool (as leew knows I prefer Boot-It, as I described in the link I posted) it is easy; and if you simply make a complete image of your CURRENT partition before you start, that risk is eliminated.

But I certainly agree it's easier if you organize it that way in the beginning.

Commented:
among all backup sollutions, there are only several really reliable. True Image and Norton Ghost are the most popular nowadays, but to my mind Ghost looses it's positions little by little, some years ago it was very good, but now there are too much poor opinions on it, i use true image and i think it is the most convenient backup prog. here you can read a full review this two progs, it's a comparison of them:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/drive-imaging-reviews.htm

i make a schedule backup once a week, so i have an ext. usb drive, which i bought specially for backup. i make a full image of my main partition where windows installed and some needed staff which is situated on the other partitions. also you can make a special partition named Acronis Secure Zone. It's a special hidden partition for storing archives on the computer system itself. For archive security purposes, ordinary applications cannot access it. but i think it's really needed if you store your image on the same HD where your system installed.

http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

I recently bought Ghost 10 and it has incremental backup facility with a schedule you put in so it can change the original backup by whatever has changed since last backup automatically - as mentioned above - the download version is the same price as the CD so you can have it ASAYL for about £40 or less -- for the optional years access its another £5 or £6.
I always liked ghost with the .gho files and this one is much hungrier but it can restore from previous versions too.

Commented:
Hi

I have been using ViceVersa from http://www.tgrmn.com/ for about six months in exactly the way you want to.  I back up to rotating external hard disks and I have *never* had a problem.  Try the 30 day trial, I doubt if you'll change afterwards.

Commented:
I have a similar setup and use a program called second copy (www.secondcopy.com) it runs in the background and can copy/move files in the background while your working. You can create different profiles with different rules. There is even an option to keep copies of deleted or modified files.

If you using a usb drive just make sure its mapping to the same drive letter otherwise your profiles wont work.

The only limitation I have found is that it wont copy files that are open

Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Most synchronization utilities also have the "can't copy open files" restriction => including the free version of SyncBack.   But SyncBack SE, which has a very modest licensing cost, WILL copy locked files => so if your e-mail client, etc. is still open, it will still backup the data.   As I noted before, I'd definitely give SyncBack a try => even if you don't separate your system and data partitions.   It will still do a perfect job of keeping you well backed up with no intervention on your part (other than setting up the backup profiles).