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Thread: Four Free Methods to Back up Essential Data in Windows

  1. #1
    Arun Kumar's Avatar
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    Post Four Free Methods to Back up Essential Data in Windows

    After losing some important data few days back, I came up with the idea to automate backup for all my essential files and folders. There were four free options available:



    1. Use the default Windows 7 backup. This could be scheduled to run on a specific day at a specific time. The only problem is that if your computer is off or sleeping during that specific time of that specific day, task scheduler may not run the backup process. Also, I do not like the backup window appearing out of nowhere even as I am typing something. The plus point is that you can back up to a secondary drive or to a network location so that the restore process is quick.

    2. Use some SAAS (Software as a Service) for backup. There are free ones like Mozy and ADrive that offer up to 2 GB free space. But then, you will have to download their software and set it up to back up files. The best thing is that you can set up continuous backup. This means that the software will be monitoring all the folders/files you have added to the backup set and as soon as any file or folder is changed, it is uploaded to remote server automatically. The downside is that these SAAS employ HTTP for data transfer and I am not pretty sure about the safety of my files on their servers. Further, the software keeps on running from the point you boot your computer to the point of shutdown - an unnecessary burden over resources if you are not going to change files in the backup set. But this is a good option over Windows 7 Backup combined with Task Scheduler because even if you forget manually backing up or turning on the computer during the scheduled task, you still have a latest backup somewhere in the cloud. I find it difficult to imagine how you would restore anything if necessary, using the HTTP file transfer only method provided by such SAAS.

    3. Using remote drive services such as SkyDrive; Google Drive; Comodo Backup or DropBox. You need to install a desktop software to create a sync folder and the software keeps on running from boot to shutdown. It keeps on checking for changes every few minutes so that it can upload/sync the changes. The amount of space provided by SkyDrive and Google Drive is 7GB and Comodo gives you 5GB. I am not sure about Dropbox. A problem I faced with such services is that they cannot back up files in use by other programs. Here too, the file transfer is HTTP but pretty fast in case of SkyDrive and Google Drive. Comodo is slow as it compresses files before transferring them to its servers.

    4. Another option is to create a DOS batch file and run it automatically during startup or shutdown. You can use COPY for files only and XCOPY for folders with subfolders plus files. The commands may cause prompts to overwrite files already existing in the backup location. You can suppress such prompts by using the /Y switch with the commands. And remember to run the command window minimized as it looks awkward when it pops up as soon as you boot up your computer or initiate shutdown.

    Let me know your preferred method of backup. Some of you might be using a disk imaging software or something like Nero BackIt etc. But they are paid options so I did not mention them here. I remember using a free volume shadow service to backup entire drives in XP. I can't recall its name as of now. Will look back into my logs and mention it some day.

  2. #2
    hackerman1 is offline Senior Member
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    Hi !

    Macrium Software

    Ive used it for years.
    It has a userfriendly interface and its very reliable.

  3. #3
    HappyAndyK's Avatar
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    I personally use Acronis - which is shareware; but there are many good free backup software for Windows available.

  4. #4
    Arun Kumar's Avatar
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    yes, hackerman1... I was talking abt Macrium Reflect. Here is a review I wrote about it: brighthub .com /computing /hardware /articles /60572.aspx

  5. #5
    Jake1 is offline New Member
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    I second that, Macrium Reflect is great. Also there is this new freeware: WinDataReflector.

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