Best Backup Utility - Program like Mac Time Machine for Windows?

Discussion in 'General Software' started by senorcarne, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. senorcarne

    senorcarne n00b

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    What is the best backup utility, and is there a program similar to OS X's Time Machine for Windows?

    Time Machine is a backup program that automatically copies every file, unless I exclude them, to an external hard drive. I can remove the hard drive, and when I plug it back in it automatically copies over any changes I made. Then, if my computer fails I can restore everything from the backup and it will be exactly as I have left it.

    I love Time Machine, but I also love Windows. As I'll be in college, using OneNote and doing homework, if I dont have my data on my laptop always backed up, if something goes wrong I could be in a lot of trouble.

    Also, if no such program exists, what is the best backup utility for Windows?
     
  2. drdeutsch

    drdeutsch 2[H]4U

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    Acronis True Image.

    I bought the full version and haven't regretted it for a second. Ghost is OK, too, but Acronis seems much more user friendly to me. It has everything I need and works very fast.
     
  3. Kil4Thril

    Kil4Thril 2[H]4U

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  4. DeaconFrost

    DeaconFrost [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It looks to me like Macrium is $39.99.

    It sounds like you need a file backup utility, rather than an imaging program. For that, I'd use SyncToy with an external drive. It can be scheduled, or run manually, and has several options on how to handle the files.
     
  5. leezard

    leezard [H]ardness Supreme

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    yup, sounds like file backup is what you need. Throw my vote for Cobian into the mix, been using it for years
     
  6. The-One

    The-One Gawd

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  7. DeaconFrost

    DeaconFrost [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It shouldn't be run in Windows at all anymore, and hopefully Symantec kept that option. I prefer to use it on a BartPE disc, so you are outside of the OS when imaging.
     
  8. silent-circuit

    silent-circuit [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It will image from within the OS or via CD. It can also do partial and incremental backups. It's a much more full-featured program than it once was.
     
  9. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris Wii was a Novelty

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    You can do a complete system backup with Windows Professional XP or Windows Vista Business or greater. I set up my Vista machine, then using the tools in windows, copied a disk image to my external drive.

    Windows 7 is going to have built in restore to default option, which will be great. Just pop the disc in, click restore to default, and in a few minutes have a fresh 7 install.
     
  10. senorcarne

    senorcarne n00b

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    Well it's not so much having a fresh install of Windows, or an image of anything, as much as I'd like to have all the latest data backed up seamlessly to another drive.

    I should have mentioned this, but I'd rather have the full-size files rather than compressed files like Acronis and Norton Ghost. I'm anticipating getting a 1 TB backup drive for the 320 GB laptop drive so space shouldn't be an issue with this method.

    Does SyncToy work well with Vista? I remember it came out around Windows XP's Power Packs and add-ons.
     
  11. MScrip

    MScrip Gawd

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    I use a program called Allway Sync.

    It's similar to SyncToy, in that you tell it 2 folders and it copies everything from one folder to another. In this case... one internal folder to one external folder. It can sync both ways... but I only have it do a "one way" sync, so it copies everything from my internal drive to my external drive. It copies new or changed files, and if you delete files, it deletes them on your external too. It's a mirror of your internal drive.

    I have it set up like this:

    C:\...\My Documents ---> P:\My Documents
    C:\...\Firefox\Profiles ---> P:\Firefox\Profiles
    D:\Websites ---> P:\Websites
    D:\Pictures ---> P:\Pictures
    D:\Music ---> P:\Music


    C: and D: are my internal drives, P: is my external drive. You create a "job" for every pair of folders you wanna sync. I have it copy all my files and folders, and even my iTunes Libraries and Firefox profiles... so every last detail is backed up! After it's done, I have an exact copy of the files and folders from my internal hard drives. Real files... not compressed files, images, etc. And best of all, it only copies new or changed files... it's not copying everything every time. So, it's pretty fast, only taking the time to copy new files. I run it after I dump a large bunch of pictures from my digital camera, and every few days so everything is backed up. It's better to have your files in two places instead of one, right?

    I tried SyncToy, but I found it sloooow. So I looked for other options. You can use Allway Sync for free... but if you use it more than a couple times a week, it yells at you to buy the Pro version. I ran it every day or so when I first downloaded it, and I quickly ponied up the $20 to shut it up. It's worth it. *The free version will only copy 20,000 files per 30-day period. My digital pictures alone are 23,385.... buy the Pro version!

    I'm an organization freak, so I often rename folders and move files around on my hard drive. After running Allway Sync, those changes are reflected on my external too. I backup every few days to a bus-powered portable USB hard drive, so I can carry an exact usable copy of my files with me wherever I go. And a couple times a month, I also backup to another Firewire external hard drive. Can't be too safe, huh? $20 is a small price to pay to easily mirror your data to an external hard drive. And if you're extra paranoid... use a Drobo or a RAID 1 solution as your external drive! And while you're at it, keep another drive in your safety deposit box! :)

    I feel safe knowing that as I add, change or delete files daily on my hard drive... in a few short minutes I have an exact copy of that hard drive for safe keeping. I just click the icon, grab a coffee, and when I return my files are backed up! Perfection!

    http://allwaysync.com/
     
  12. Joe Average

    Joe Average Ad Blocker - Banned

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    While I don't see where the OP mentioned the specific OS he plans to use, I'm surprised no one has mentioned Shadow Copies which has been around since XP SP1 appeared, then Server 2003, and everything since then. Of course it's not in Vista Home Premium (I swear, I wish Microsoft would stop fucking the customers over, bleh) but it is in Business, Ultimate and obviously Enterprise.

    It's worthwhile to check out, has a long proven background behind it and can fill the bill adequately unless the OP absolutely must use third-party software to handle it.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-vista/features/shadow-copy.aspx

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Copy
     
  13. DeaconFrost

    DeaconFrost [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Synctoy 2.0 works perfectly with both Vista platforms.
     
  14. number69

    number69 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I use Ghost outside of Windows, I boot off a bootable CD and point it to one of my external drives to either restore an image or to save an image to.

    Acronis is good also.
     
  15. The-One

    The-One Gawd

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    I don't believe the newer Norton versions especially version 14 can make an image while running off the CD(Out of windows). Am I wrong?

    I'm looking for a full fledged imaging prog that runs outside of windows for backing up my main OS drive. For my other drives, I just copy my Data files to a separate drive and then unplug it and park it.
     
  16. The-One

    The-One Gawd

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    What version?
     
  17. soekev

    soekev Gawd

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    I like Acronis to do hard drive upgrades because from within Windows, I can connect my new drive, do a drive copy, shutdown, disconnect the old drive, connect the new drive, and it's all done.

    With Norton/Symantec tools, they don't let you do it from within Windows, you need to boot up separately.

    Aside from upgrading my hard drives, I use Windows Home Server to backup all the PCs in my network.