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Best Free / Near-free Backup software with differential / incremental for home use.

Posted on 2009-07-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Hello,
  What is an easy to use, possibly free software for backups? Basically I'd like the differential or incremental backup to occur daily for a few directories.  The initial backup (really just a copy of the primary HD) will be about a 250 GB, but then I would imagine that it would be minimal daily with a few days a month have about a gigabyte of new info to backup. I have a few setups too, between internal and external drives.

Thanks,
JE
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Question by:justearth
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evan021702 earned 600 total points
ID: 24795430
If your are using Windows you can just use the built in Backup Tool . Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup.
What I typically do is create a mapped network drive and create a scheduled task to run the backup and post to the network drive on my file server.  Then for redundancy I used tape software to backup my file server.  
You can create two jobs, one Full and Once incremental / differential.  When you run the backup wizard on the last windows click the advanced button and select the backup type.  
I have never done it but you might be able to use a tape drive with this software as well.
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by:evan021702
evan021702 earned 600 total points
ID: 24795445
Also here are some free tools to do an image based backup of your system for quick restoring:

http://lifehacker.com/5303067/five-best-free-system-restore-tools
 
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Author Comment

by:justearth
ID: 24795478
Hello,
Thanks for the info, what is the advantage for imaging a drive? Does that work with differential backups? I started the windows backup but it save files a .bkp and I wasn't sure how I would access that after the backup was complete. I like the files to be accessible in the backup drive and the differential / incremental backup to 'add to' and/or 'overwrite' whats already there. I hope this might make a little more sense. I used handy backup in the past but no longer have a license.  

Thanks for your help,
JE
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 640 total points
ID: 24795493
If using XP Home, the Backup tool is not installed by default but can usually be found on the XP CD and installed from, if I remember correctly, NTBackup.msi

As for imaging, I would recommend Acronis True Image.  It can do incremental backups.  Imaging has the advantage that if your hard drive fails you can easily restore the entire disk.
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Author Comment

by:justearth
ID: 24795592
I have the window Backup tool but it wouldn't allow me to back up saying I didn't have enough space. The source is half the size as the capacity of the destination. Also, what is the file it creates? When it crashed there was like a 4 GB .bkp file? Is that something it creates in addition to the files it will backup?

Thanks again,
JE
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 640 total points
ID: 24795650
The symptoms you describe sound like you are trying to backup to an external drive that is formatted as FAT32 - FAT32 has a limit of 4GB - 2 bytes for a maximum file size.  If you convert it to NTFS, you can resolve this problem (NTFS has no realistic limit).

CONVERT X: /FS:NTFS

(Where x is the drive letter of the external drive).
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by:ComputerTechie
ComputerTechie earned 240 total points
ID: 24795736
If you want free image backup tool I have to recommend driveimagexml http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

It create a single file of your harddrive if there enough room on the destination location.
You can view and extract files out of the backup as needed.

I do agree with leew on the Acronis True Image thou i think it a better product and have used it for years from personal use to Professional use.

CT
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Author Comment

by:justearth
ID: 24795768
You are correct. I find that a little hard to believe, I assumed since it was a 750GB harddrive that is was NTFS. Thanks! Also, are the individual files then accessible after the backup using the windows tool?
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by:evan021702
evan021702 earned 600 total points
ID: 24795870
You should be able to select what files you want to restore.  You do not have to restore the full backup.  So if you just want to restore My Documents you would just simply select that folder to restore from the wizard.
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 640 total points
ID: 24797031
If you use NTBackup, you would need to use the tool to review the files backed up and select the ones to retrieve.  If you used Acronis, you would "mount" the image and then be able to browse it for the individual files you wanted to restore.
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by:SelfGovern
SelfGovern earned 120 total points
ID: 24802587
If you have an HP-branded tape drive, it should have come with a free single-server edition of Data Protector Express... this will do everything you need, including helping with tape rotation schemes.
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Author Closing Comment

by:justearth
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thanks
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