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Best Simple Free Backup / Sync For Windows 7?

Posted on 2011-10-13
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We have two Windows 7 laptops and a 1TB external drive.

We have been looking for a good, free, lightweight, simple program to sync/backup a few directories (My Documents, Outlook, et cetera) to the external hard drive once a day or so.

We tried GoodSync but exceed the free capabilities.  We really don't like the software that came with the drive.

Any other suggestions?
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Question by:gta2011
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LVL 12
ID: 36961398
Suggest you have a look here

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-backup-program

Have a look and test them out, and pick the one that offers the best fit for you.
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by:rindi
ID: 36961425
Cobianbackup should be fine for this:

http://www.cobiansoft.com/

or better, but probably overkill for your needs the free version of paragon's backup utility:

http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/index.html
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by:TraJohnson
ID: 36961920
I like SyncToy, its a freebie Microsoft tool, http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=15155.  You simply tell it the folders you want to sync and where you want the data copied to.  You can schedule it as well.  Another think you can do is just use the built in Windows Backup in the Control Panel.  You can specify what you want to be backed up and how often.  At the same time you can create a system image that you can use to restore your machine if the OS ever becomes corrupted.
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garycase earned 2000 total points
ID: 36964539
Microsoft's SyncToy (as suggested above);  2BrightSpark's SyncBack (what I use);  KarenWare's Replicator;  or even Windows 7's built-in backup all work very well.

With two laptops and only one drive, you can't really schedule a backup, as it will fail if the drive's not connected => although if the laptops are "stagnant" and you can leave the drive connected to one, you can simply share it on the network and access it via the network from the other laptop -- then you can set both backups to happen automatically.

http://www.2brightsparks.com/freeware/freeware-hub.html
http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp
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by:TraJohnson
ID: 36964562
Will any of those other backup apps let you manage the bandwidth availible to it?  Thats the biggest thing I wish SyncToy did so I don't saturate our WAN links during peak usage times.
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by:garycase
ID: 36964649
SyncBack lets you set the backup priority, which will limit the amount of CPU it uses to varying levels.   The lowest is "Idle" -- which will pause the backup whenever the CPU is busy doing other things.

However ... that's all based on CPU load ... the free and "SE" versions (I use SE) don't have any settings to control the network bandwidth ==> but the Pro version does have bandwidth throttling.
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by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 36968062
yup, SyncBack
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by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 36968131
There's also the built-in RoboCopy command http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy   http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc733145(WS.10).aspx  and there's a couple of free GUI front-ends to help with all the command-line options out there including RichCopy http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.04.utilityspotlight.aspx and RoboCopy GUI 3.1.2 by Derk A Benisch.  See the thing about RoboCopy is the one bundled in XP was subsequently updated and the updated one has additional options.   SyncBack won't set the datetimestamp of folders, only files, whereas later versions of RoboCopy has the /DCOPY:T

The thing to watch out for is without specifying the number of retries on error, it defaults to something crazy like 1000 retries at 1 min intervals so if you launch a command and walk away, any error and chances are 3 hrs later it will still be stuck retrying so you come back the next morning and it's nowhere near done, so it's a balance to be struck of do you want it to wait or anticipate any overnight during job network outages that would ladt more than a few minutes or should it "press on"
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by:MRSchexnayder
ID: 36968138
There are a number of options available to you, however, I believe that SyncToy (a Microsoft Powertoy) is probably your best option. Its free, easy to setup and easy to use. You can find it here:
http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=15155
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by:ocanada_techguy
ID: 36968178
couple tips about SyncBack, what they call "profiles" are "jobs".  The free version does make a log of the results but it's multi-page html and the next time that profile/job runs that log gets overwritten, so if you want to keep the result logs you'll have to set-up to copy them after each run.
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