Personal Backup

Hello Experts,

Can anyone recommend a good and reliable personal backup system?

I need to back one PC: MS Office files, text files, and couple of databases (Access, MS SQL, MySQL).  For the dbs, I can do my own script, so that's not vital.

APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAsked:
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a mirrored NAS like netgear or dlink w/usb connection if you need it just for local access.

Buffalo branded NAS also comes with a pretty good client license. If not, i use cobian to make a profile. alternating days and volumes if volumes are large, etc.  and cobian is freeware.


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Will SzymkowskiSenior Solution ArchitectCommented:
You could simply use the backup method in Windows 7 which is suitable for a single workstation backing up files and folders. It's also free!

Joe WinogradDeveloperCommented:
I've been using SyncBack from 2BrightSparks for many years:

I started with their SE version and then moved to their Pro version. They also have a Free version. Here's a comparison table for all three versions:

They all can do what you're looking for...even the Free one...backup files reliably! I use it to backup to a NAS, SD and CF cards, external USB and firewire drives, as well as to FTP to an offsite NAS. It utilizes the Windows Task Scheduler to schedule backups. I run numerous backup profiles during the day...every hour of every day...and other backups daily during the wee hours. It allows you to specify the number of versions of a file to keep, which has saved me many times. The Free version may meet your needs, but even the SE and Pro versions are reasonably priced. This is extraordinarily good software...I would not be without it! As a disclaimer, I want to emphasize that I have no affiliation with this company and no financial interest in it whatsoever. I am simply a happy user/customer. Regards, Joe
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Pete, what if the NAS unit goes down?
if due to a drive failure, the mirror would continue. you'd have to replace the bad disk eventually.  if due to NAS chassis failure, you could pull the drives and connect to a USB cradle. a NAS is slower compared to a USB linked drive so that's one thing to be aware of before getting into it. If your purpose is to use it just for scheduled backups then it'll be great. if you want to use it to push/pull files through like a local volume, it's really a dog in that respect. pete
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:

All SyncBack's products are affordable.  So, price here isn't an issue.

With that said, which do you recommend and why?  How are they with databases, and do you need the software to restore?
Joe WinogradDeveloperCommented:
I realize you addressed that question to Pete, but you make a really good point, and that's why I backup to an onsite NAS, an offsite NAS, a 128GB SD card, a 64GB CF card, an external USB drive, an external firewire drive, and a drive in the docking station. In addition, three other computers reach across the network to backup the primary production machine. All backups are for all data, except the SD and CF cards, which are too small to house everything, so I use SyncBack's capabilities for those two devices to backup just the most critical folders. Regards, Joe
Joe WinogradDeveloperCommented:
> With that said, which do you recommend and why?

As I mentioned earlier, I started with the SE version and it worked fine. I upgraded to the Pro version only because I wanted to support the company. At the time, I did not need any feature in Pro that wasn't in SE. I've been on Pro now for several years and I don't even know if I'm using any features in Pro that aren't in SE. I just took a quick look at the comparison matrix and the only thing that jumped out at me is the SFTP support in Pro (SE supports just FTP and FTPS).

I recommend the Pro version because 55 bucks is a small price to pay for what is among the most important pieces of software on a computer. Could you save 20 bucks with the SE version...or even all 55 with the Free version? Sure, but unless money is really tight, I'd go for the Pro of the Pro features might save you some day. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have retrieved an older version of a file...before I messed it up. :)  Of course, that feature is in all three versions.

> How are they with databases, and do you need the software to restore?

The backups are on a file level, so it doesn't really care if it's a will get <*.sqlite> files, <*.frm> files, whatever.

You do not need the software to restore...they are simply files that are copied elsewhere. Even the versions are simply in a folder called $SBV$ (stands for SyncBack Versioning) tell it how many versions of files you'd like to keep...the number to keep can vary by backup profile and there can be an unlimited number of backup profiles.

Regards, Joe
Thomas RushCommented:
A couple of questions before we can come up with a good suggestion:
1) How much data can you afford to lose?  Are you willing to use a solution
that might mean you need to recreate a couple hours of work?

2) How long can you afford to be down before your system is restored?
seconds, minutes, hours, a day?

3) Do you have a second location you can easily store copies of your backups (i.e., you work at an office and come home every night, or, you work from home, but have a relative who lives nearby and who is willing to store backup media for you)?

4) Given the software to make it happen, are you willing and able to set up a personal cloud, sending a copy of your backup data to a system located some distance away?  (possibly implementing a system where you back up to someone else's server, while they are backing up to yours)

5) What are your requirements for archive?  Might you at some point need to pull data from a backup made years ago (for instance, for a tax audit, in response to a lawsuit, or to discover and document fraud within your business)?
Amit KhilnaneyCommented:
Backup system personal or enterprise depends on your budget. I have single system. Backup options change when you have multiple systems etc.

What i have done is using Acronis True Image 2014 .  I treat my VM as files too

Keeping differential backup of important folders on a USB 3 external drive and a spare usb 3 external drive for keeping a backup of backup (Acronis has option for the same)

Acronis has various options to experiment with including real time backup i.e. it back ups every changed file , every few mins like time machine on apple.. i.e. file history feature etc.

It allows compression, emails alerts, and i am happy that investment is not bad as i was able to recover from backup due to Acronis...
Joe WinogradDeveloperCommented:
Hi APD_Toronto,

The comment by Amit prompts me to talk about another aspect of backups, which is cloning. In addition to file-level backups with SyncBack as I've discussed above, I also do full-disk cloning. I used Acronis previously for this...same product mentioned by Amit, but the True Image 2011 version, not 2014. Acronis is a fine product, but after some problems with the 2011 version, I decided to try something different for cloning rather than upgrading to a later version of Acronis. I've been using Casper for cloning ever since and am very happy with it:

I run it every evening in the wee hours on several machines to clone the hard drives (a mix of HDD, SSD, and hybrid). It has an intelligent cloning mechanism so that it copies only the necessary tracks. The first run takes a while, but after that, it's extremely fast. It can clone to the same size drive or to a larger one or even to a smaller one, as long as there is enough space on the smaller one to house the used (non-free) space from the larger one. It also has an imaging capability such that it creates complete disk image backups as files, which can be stored anywhere, meaning you can maintain multiple, full system backups on a single device. But I've never used this feature, as I prefer full-disk cloning.

Casper is not free, but it's reasonably priced and worth every penny. The same disclaimer applies again...I have no affiliation with this company and no financial interest in it whatsoever...simply a happy user/customer. Regards, Joe
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Sorry guys, so many other things in life came up, but I will open this question again as a new one when I am ready. Hopefully next week.

Thank you for your patience.
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