Backup Software

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Akin

Member
Oct 22, 2022
12
1
Greetings all!

Does anyone have any suggestions for a decent backup software that works like the old SyncToy did?
I used it to backup my Desktop and my entire D drive to an external drive. It would copy over all changes and delete the old versions.
I've tried numerous modern backup programs and so far I've never found one that I like. The one I'm currently using doesn't delete the old versions, so it actually eventually fills up the external drive.

Basically, I want it to keep a mirror image of what I tell it to monitor.

I know there's got to be something out there that works... it doesn't even need to be free, as long as it does what I want.

Thanks!
 
I think you could use robocopy. Just need to use Task Schedule to run it when you want it to.

I use Macrium Reflect for my backup needs as I make image backups. Depending on your needs, you might be able to use it or something like it. They have a free trial, so you can test it out to see if it could fit your needs. I think Windows has something built in (though they seem to be pushing the backup to OneDrive :/)
 
For file-by-file backups I use the hugely versatile SyncBackPro (alongside my Macrium Reflect for full-disk images.)

There's a free version of SyncBack called SyncBackFree which is still very versatile, and would certainly meet your needs as a SyncToy substitute.

(The 'Pro' version of SyncBack can work with the Cloud-storage schemes - S3 etc. - and of course it has other bells & whistles, but I used the free version for years to do similar backups to the ones you (the OP) have described.)
 
Sorry, I should elaborate a bit. I'm not interested in making some kind of image, I've never had luck with those and for this purpose, I just want something that goes through the entire HDD file-by-file every twelve hours or whatever and if anything has changed, it mirrors the change on to the backup drive. Changes, deletions, new versions, whatever. So many programs seem like they would do what I want but they actual go through folders, not entire drives. I could probably set my D Drive up with everything in a folder, but that seems silly to me. I just want to back up the whole drive.

SyncToy stopped working for me some time back. I know it still works for some people, but for me, no luck. I believe it would still run if I manually launched it, but I could no longer set it up on a schedule or anything. I had it set top run on b ootup and every twelve hours thereafter.

It was quite irritating when it stopped working.
 
Windows has a feature for developers, which I have used before in Java, that will notify a running app of EVERY change to a specific directory (or sub-directory under that directory.) Someone could probably make a "journaling backup utility" based on that approach, but I have never looked to see if anyone has. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/fileio/change-journals

What you probably really want is a backup utility that can do what are called incremental backups. The way that works is you make a full backup every so often (depending on how much you change things) and then you make incremental backups that only backup what has changed since the last full backup. The problem with incremental backups is they usually need to be applied, one after the other, on top of the full backup, to get you back to where you were. This has two downsides: 1. it will take more time; and 2. if you have multiple incremental backups, you have for failure points.
 
I know you aren't looking for a cloud solution, but I gave up trying to keep up with local backups quite some time ago, and use BackBlaze to back up my machines. BackBlaze intelligently figures out what to back up, and monitors the drive(s) for changed files, etc., They just upped their rates, but now will save files for up to a year, instead of 30 days, so there's that. BackBlaze has saved my bacon on a couple of occasions - I lost a C drive on a Windows machine and was able to recover all the data for my installed programs, and I lost an external USB drive with over 50,000 images and I was able to restore every single one of them, including ones that I had edited just a day or so before the drive crashed.
 
I think you could use robocopy. Just need to use Task Schedule to run it when you want it to.

I use Macrium Reflect for my backup needs as I make image backups. Depending on your needs, you might be able to use it or something like it. They have a free trial, so you can test it out to see if it could fit your needs. I think Windows has something built in (though they seem to be pushing the backup to OneDrive :/)
In reply to your Post. I too use Macrium Reflect for imaging & backups on my Windows PC's. The program interface can be daunting for initial users but the application does its job well. I'm imaging to external HDD's. For ubuntu (backups) I use Timeshift, again very effective in what it does but be careful of which files/folders that you select to backup
 
Check out FreeFileSync, https://freefilesync.org/manual.php?topic=realtimesync for an overview. I don't use the real time sync feature but use the base program quite a bit. As the name suggests there is a free version with near full functionality. I use it enough and find it useful enough even without using real time sync that I opt for the donation edition which adds a few extras.
 
This page from @Steve might be useful although it's three years old. At the time he was endorsing sync.com and sync thing. I haven't used either of them.


Also, for what it's worth, I still use Sync Toy periodically on Windows 7.

May your bits be stable and your interfaces be fast. :cool: Ron
Steve’s use case was syncing two computers, and his methods work great for that. I want to sync one computer to an external HDD, so, totally different use case.
 
I know you aren't looking for a cloud solution, but I gave up trying to keep up with local backups quite some time ago, and use BackBlaze to back up my machines. BackBlaze intelligently figures out what to back up, and monitors the drive(s) for changed files, etc., They just upped their rates, but now will save files for up to a year, instead of 30 days, so there's that. BackBlaze has saved my bacon on a couple of occasions - I lost a C drive on a Windows machine and was able to recover all the data for my installed programs, and I lost an external USB drive with over 50,000 images and I was able to restore every single one of them, including ones that I had edited just a day or so before the drive crashed.
I already sync to the cloud as well. But, I like to have a local backup as well as a cloud backup…
 
Sync is not a backup. Backup might be a sync. You don't want sync because there is only one PC. You want a backup, so use a tool that does backups.
 
Sync is not a backup. Backup might be a sync. You don't want sync because there is only one PC. You want a backup, so use a tool that does backups.
SyncToy, of course, was a backup and not a sync. That’s why I used it and was hoping to find a modern replacement.
 
SyncThing has settings when you configure the folders to sync (which can be modified after). Each folder can be set for 'send receive', 'send only', and 'receive only'. Depending on which of the 3 you enable it will sync differently, both ways or either. There are also options on a per folder basis for versioning schemes and cleanup. SyncThing will not create the equivalent of an image backup, it is for file backups.

While SyncThing is not technically a backup, if configured correctly it can serve as a good file backup. In my case I use it syncing to a Raspberry Pi with an external HDD over a LAN. My sync folders are all set for 'send receive' so an addition or deletion on either side will be 'mirrored' to the other. While syncing to my laptop can only occur when my laptop is powered up, I have a NAS on my router which syncs one of the NAS folders through a LAN that syncs 24x7 via wifi.

I configured SynThing some time back and haven't had to touch it since. For a while I even had it syncing pictures from my cell phone. Setting it up was somewhat confusing to me, but I used test folders and files to sort it out. As already mentioned it works great and reliably with lots of options. If you haven't, install it and play with test files and folders. For me, the send/ receive options were the most confusing part- but that's just me. The documents explain it as do drop downs while you make the settings.

I only sync a few folders that change from my laptop. I run periodic images with Macrium Reflect to a portable USB drive. So far no issues with Macrium, and I like that a backup image can be mounted and run in conjunction with Virtual Box. I have the paid version of Macrium so I am not sure if the free version allows running an image.

Hope that helps and answers some questions. If SyncThing sounds like it will serve your needs by all means give it a try. Playing with test files and folders is a safe way to test it out and will make it easy to abandon the program if it doesn't work out.
 
SyncToy, of course, was a backup and not a sync. That’s why I used it and was hoping to find a modern replacement.
SyncToy is backup or sync according to which you ask it to do. I still use it for on-demand backup of the church laptop, which is only powered-on a few times a week.