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Thread: Backup software - what do you recommend?

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Backup software - what do you recommend?

    So I've decided to try and tidy up my own backup plan as it as quite laborious to the point I wasn't doing it to plan, and I've been weighing up options both for storage and software.

    Like I imagine most people do, I have different 'types' of data, some frequently-changing and in need of regular, versioned backpups, and other stuff where a simple mirror will do, some of which is kept locally more for convenience than anything e.g. DRM-free game files, software, etc. And keeping 30 copies of 10GB+ game files is a waste of backup space.

    Currently I use a combination of Cobian and FreeFileSync but I'm open to alternatives and don't mind paying but would much rather it be a one-off payment rather than a subscription (I've looked in the past but am yet to find anything better than the free stuff I already had). Oh and I also do the odd drive image just-in-case but keeping a ton of large drive images seems a bit wasteful when the majority of the data on C: is easily replaceable.

    I also don't really like Windows' own backup utilities - the Win7 file backup one isn't bad but much prefer Cobian despite it being effectively deprecated. As for the Windows image backup, it's failed me one time too many with backups seeming to complete properly but refusing to restore when they're most needed, being in a horrid proprietary format and having a bizarre permissions system meaning they don't seem to be recognised properly (or not without some work) if you move them between drives - and a backup that's so prone to breaking is pretty useless IMO. Oh and you can't actually 'see' the backups on the drive without messing with permissions, and you have no idea which backup you're looking at, what computer it was from or anything, unless you had the foresight to make a separate note of all this - using filenames and visible directories would be far too simple...

    I've said this before - I like the idea of tape backups for archiving but really can't justify the cost of an LTO5 drive over just buying a bunch of HDDs given the bulk of the backup data doesn't change frequently.

    So what does everyone use? Cobian has been great but is a bit slow and is no longer maintained, sadly. I'm after something similar, able to backup to e.g. differential/incremental archives, not just being a fancy file copy utility which dumps everything into a disorganised mess with strange file names and/or the necessity of using the exact same version of the program to restore said archives. Yes, backup software creators - restoration being possible (particularly when stressed) is actually an important feature!!!

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    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    Veeam Agent for Windows Free edition
    Absolutely awesome, just like any of Veeams products (no I don't work for them!)
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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    Veeam Agent for Windows Free edition
    Absolutely awesome, just like any of Veeams products (no I don't work for them!)
    I am a huge fan of Veeam for Data Centre usage, however I must caveat your comment based on my experience.

    I have a 100% failure rate for 3 different full restores on Home PC's using Veeam Agent free edition. In all cases, there were no errors reported with backups - the restored just failed (probably CRC check IIRC) part way through. I recovered my files by using the backup file browser. Where the backups were stored, I have had no problems reported with disks before those backups at any point before or in the over 18 months after the restores failed. I have no idea why the restores failed yet the backups were supposedly "fine"

    I stopped using it after that. I used the built in Windows backup. System Image has always been fine but file history is flakey - It's fine now but I had loads of trouble on older Windows 10 versions with backups not working for the usual BS Microsoft reasons but it never warned me there were problems.
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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    I'm a fan and actively use the following in varying scenarios:

    - Acronis True Image. Personal is more than adequate for your needs. Workstation is very powerful, but probably overkill for most.
    - Aomei Backupper - similar idea to Acronis but cheaper - Free edition available to try (Note is also free for commercial)
    - EaseUS Todo Backup - the weaker of the 3, but very active development, have suggested many things to them in the past and they've listened & implemented much to my amazement. My grumble with them is each edition is vastly different in GUI design, so once you get familiar with say version 4, 5 comes out and looks completely different. They also have a free edition to try or use forever.

    Whatever you get I highly recommend getting one that supports restoration to differential hardware if you are going to do system backups. It really can save your bacon.


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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    I've used Acronis and EaseUS but now use Macrium Reflect and find it's got the best combination of speed, features and ease of use for me (many volumes and partitions with different needs) - the boot media/tool is handy too.

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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    Thanks for the suggestions. Veeam is one I've spotted a few times while searching and seems very well-featured but I'll also take heed of badass's warning about restorations - has anyone else encountered anything like that? Also, out of the files you restored, were any of them corrupted or unrecoverable? I'm not too bothered about an automated restore being flaky as long as the files and folder structure are intact.

    I do actually use EasUS's free version for occasional system images and I'm tempted to buy the full version out of support rather than really needing the additional features!

    I get what you mean about restoring to (and from) different hardware too - something Windows' own imaging utility has failed me on multiple times - once when it was a last-resort backup and I had to use some third-party software to manually extract what I could IIRC. The restoration system just doesn't seem very resilient or tolerant to hardware/permissions changes.

    I'll definitely have a play with some of these and see how I get on!

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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    I've restored from EaseUS once and it was OKish, but slow. I've restored from Macrium several times (including to new hardware) and it's been perfect, almost trivial (OK, impending computer meltdown in 5..4..). Neither had any corruption.

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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. Veeam is one I've spotted a few times while searching and seems very well-featured but I'll also take heed of badass's warning about restorations - has anyone else encountered anything like that? Also, out of the files you restored, were any of them corrupted or unrecoverable? I'm not too bothered about an automated restore being flaky as long as the files and folder structure are intact.
    None of the files I restored were corrupted or unrecoverable. Personally I would have preferred if there was an option to ignore and continue. Even better would have been a report at the end about which files might have been affected. This was a couple of years ago but I'm, in the thrice bitten, remain shy mindset when it comes to backups. In an enterprise context, I have never had any problems with the virtual side and I've done hundreds of restores/test restores.
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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    I re-evaluated my domestic backup philosophy after being swamped with data. I view the PC install as disposable: it doesn't take long to reinstall windows and install whatever it is I need to use.

    Customisation and data on the other hand, is irreplaceable. Most of my data is stored on my NAS. BTRFS snapshots on that and an rsync jump to copy the job load over to another disk (don't replicate your I/O errors with RAID), which is also snapshotted. Smaller data is then rsync'd offsite, larger data is periodically put onto an external drive and put in a drawer at work.

    That leaves stuff on my PC, for that I just use a combination of Windows File History and VSS/Recovery, seems to work quite well.

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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    Quote Originally Posted by badass View Post
    I have a 100% failure rate for 3 different full restores on Home PC's using Veeam Agent free edition.
    Odd, I have performed system restores a number of times using it, going back to early beta builds....all have worked without issue (apart from one machine which corrupts the system recovery screen when booting from USB, although was still able to restore it blind)

    Had you kept your system recovery disk up to date?
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    Re: Backup software - what do you recommend?

    I personally recommend to use EaseUS, It's amazing and easy to use backup software.

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