Best Backup software for 2020

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  1. Posts : 291
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #11

    I apologize. I should have explained in more detail rather than ask a meaningless 'generic' question. The following applies to both my wife's and my own PC.

    In both cases the PC's single hard drives are partitioned into several logical partitions. C: contains the system files including program installation folders (program.... folders). The additional logical partitions E: and F: on both PCs contain only data files (word docs, excel files, downloads, My Images, etc. I've even moved the Firefox and Thunderbird profile folders to E: for easy backups. This was done ages ago and I forgot you could not know the hard drives were so partitioned.

    The external HDD are purely for backups in both my wife's and my laptops.

    My wife is technophobic and therefore I would like to automatically 'image backup' her entire physical HDD to her external hard drive once a week. Incremental backups are fine here. I use image backups because it would allow me to restore her entire HD (OS and data) if it went south. Also, since I can "view" the image backups and restore individual data files when necessary, this has worked fine for me as her 'tech support' person. Her usb external HD is permanently connected to her PC because she never moves her PC from its desk.

    My situation is different. I constantly move my laptop around the house so the external usb HD (also only used for backups) is only connected when needed. Indeed I have 2 external HDs for my own backups that I rotate for extra security. So in my case I do make an occasional image backup of C: and more frequently make image backups of my data partitions. Why do I make image backups of my data files? Not sure why. I started doing this because I discovered I could view the individual files even in the image backups and I therefore could restore even individual data files when necessary. Is there a disadvantage to image backups even for data partitions?

    Anyway, what brought this entire topic up was that I discovered that on my wife's PC her backups had all failed. For the past 2 years! I don't know why they failed. So, I quickly made a full backup on her external drive. Went well.

    I am now looking for an automated solution for her PC since I'm not checking her backups regularly. Looking for that is what prompted me to ask the generic question about backup software. I use Macrium Reflect and occasionally EaseUS on my own PC but don't know if problems have recently arisen with these. The backups that failed on my wife's PC were with an automated setup using an old paid version of Acronis. So I'm looking to switch her to something else.

    I hope that better explains why I asked.
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  2. Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #12

    I'd switch her to Macrium, making one image file of all internal drive partitions. Save it to her external. If she needs to recover personal data, fish it out of the image file.

    The only thing you might have to check is the logical partition thing. I don't recall that it matters to Macrium. Someone else may know. I never use them and they seem to have gone out of style with current Microsoft operating systems.

    Acronis has a rather poor reputation on this forum, as regards both their support and the reliability of the software. I used it 10 years ago and gave up when it decided it didn't want to recognize an image it had created days earlier. Who needs that?

    For your PC: pretty much the same as your wife. You can continue to use imaging for data backup if you want. I don't. I don't want to introduce a layer of complexity (imaging itself) between me and a second copy of very important files. That may not bother you and it's your call.

    I'm not aware of any problems in Macrium regarding scheduling or automation, but I use neither. I want to keep my head in the game and stay alert, so do it all manually on demand.

    I make an image monthly. Full only, not differential. Takes 7 or 8 mouse clicks to start and about 5 minutes to complete. My system files change fairly slowly. There's no reason to make images more often in my case.

    I run a separate data backup program 2 or 3 times a day. Two mouse clicks. Typically takes about 90 seconds to 2 minutes to complete for 95,000 files. I make or modify perhaps 20 or 30 files a day, so I can't afford to backup only weekly.

    Which brings up a possible issue: if you insist on using an imaging program for data backup, then you are (presumably) forced to run it quite often for data backup alone. I assume you'd want to have that "automated and on a schedule", rather than manual on demand.

    I couldn't get myself to do that. I'd be afraid I would be lulled into complacency, thinking all was well when it wasn't----as your wife found out with Acronis. I'd rather not do that when I can run an uncomplicated manual data file backup program with literally 2 mouse clicks that is effectively nothing other than a drag and drop direct copy. But that's all your choice. 99% of people don't back up anything at all in any way whatsoever.

    Data backup programs can back up email or bookmark folders as separate operations from standard data backup if necessary. I leave my bookmarks and email on C and back up just those folders separately from my D drive "all data/all folders" backups.
    Last edited by ignatzatsonic; 09 Jun 2020 at 14:48.
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  3. Posts : 7,116
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
       #13

    Macrium Reflect Free does all you want including scheduled backups. Keep away from Acronis backup software which is poorly engineered and supported.
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  4. Posts : 291
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #14

    ignatzatsonic said:
    I make an image monthly. Full only, not differential. Takes 7 or 8 mouse clicks to start and about 5 minutes to complete. My system files change fairly slowly. There's no reason to make images more often in my case.
    I do the same (manual) on my laptop. But my full backup takes more like 30 minutes, not 5 minutes and my laptop has a 1Tb ssd and a fast USB 3. How do you manage 5 minutes on a full backup?
    ignatzatsonic said:
    I run a separate data backup program 2 or 3 times a day. Two mouse clicks. Typically takes about 90 seconds to 2 minutes to complete for 95,000 files. I make or modify perhaps 20 or 30 files a day, so I can't afford to backup only weekly.
    Again, I'm amazed at the speed. Is this the Linux data backup program? To an external hdd or to the cloud? Can you explain with more details? I prefer to avoid the cloud. I only have a single hdd in my laptop, so backing up to a second hdd on the laptop itself is not an option for me.
    ignatzatsonic said:
    I couldn't get myself to do that. I'd be afraid I would be lulled into complacency, thinking all was well when it wasn't----as your wife found out with Acronis.
    I do manual backups on my laptop too, primarily because my backups are to an external hdd and therefore cannot be automated scheduling since the external usb hdd only becomes available when I attach it. Human nature being what it is, automated backups would be more likely to occur more regularly.... I would use them if this was a desktop.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Steve C said:
    Macrium Reflect Free does all you want including scheduled backups. Keep away from Acronis backup software which is poorly engineered and supported.
    Thank you Steve. I plan to move my wife's pc to Macrium as soon as I discover if the free Macrium will let me do automatically scheduled backups. Since she never moves her laptop from her desk, its external usb hdd (for backups) is always attached. The only reason I used Acronis on her pc is because of the automated scheduling feature. I now have to check if the free version of Macrium permits me to set up an automated backup scheduling. The paid version of Macrium at $69 is too expensive just to acquire that one scheduling feature. On my own laptop, I do manual backups to an external hdd but my wife needs the automatcally scheduled backups for hers. Thank you for helping.
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  5. Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #15

    see comments:

    Curious said:
    I do the same (manual) on my laptop. But my full backup takes more like 30 minutes, not 5 minutes and my laptop has a 1Tb ssd and a fast USB 3. How do you manage 5 minutes on a full backup?

    I don't think you need the paid version of Macrium to get scheduling.

    To back up my system, I use Macrium. The boot drive is an ordinary 2.5 inch SSD. ALL partitions combined are 35 to 40 gb. Saved to a second internal SSD. The resulting image file is 20 to 25 gb. When I saved to a spinning hard drive, total time was about 8 minutes. Your difference is presumably due to less occupied space on C or a slower CPU. My Intel CPU is middling by today's desktop standards. It's 4 year old tech.

    Again, I'm amazed at the speed. Is this the Linux data backup program? To an external hdd or to the cloud? Can you explain with more details?

    I use Free File Sync, a free Windows download. Data totals 95,000 files, 860 GB. Performance of this program is no different than its competitors.

    First time backup of that many files would of course take hours. Subsequent backups take far far less time because only new or modified files need be copied. When it runs, the program scans the source drive, which takes about 10 seconds. Then it scans the destination drive, which might take 70 seconds. Then it compares source to destination and copies anything new or modified to the destination and deletes anything no longer on the source from the destination. That might take 10 or 15 seconds.

    I said 90 seconds to 2 minutes. If today I had 20 gb of new video files to back up, that backup might take 8 or 9 minutes. But that's unusual. It's all dependent on how much new or modified
    data has to be backed up.

    From internal D to internal E. D is an SSD. E is a spinning Western Digital 3 TB.

    See my specs. They are accurate.

    I refuse to use the cloud----I don't want to rely on an Internet connection and I don't trust privacy issues.

    You are of course limited in what you can do if you are dealing with a machine that must rely on external drives. That's one reason I don't own laptops. The portability factor is their only advantage and means nothing at all to me.

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  6. Posts : 7,116
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
       #16

    Curious said:
    I do the same (manual) on my laptop. But my full backup takes more like 30 minutes, not 5 minutes and my laptop has a 1Tb ssd and a fast USB 3. How do you manage 5 minutes on a full backup? Again, I'm amazed at the speed. Is this the Linux data backup program? To an external hdd or to the cloud? Can you explain with more details? I prefer to avoid the cloud. I only have a single hdd in my laptop, so backing up to a second hdd on the laptop itself is not an option for me. I do manual backups on my laptop too, primarily because my backups are to an external hdd and therefore cannot be automated scheduling since the external usb hdd only becomes available when I attach it. Human nature being what it is, automated backups would be more likely to occur more regularly.... I would use them if this was a desktop.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you Steve. I plan to move my wife's pc to Macrium as soon as I discover if the free Macrium will let me do automatically scheduled backups. Since she never moves her laptop from her desk, its external usb hdd (for backups) is always attached. The only reason I used Acronis on her pc is because of the automated scheduling feature. I now have to check if the free version of Macrium permits me to set up an automated backup scheduling. The paid version of Macrium at $69 is too expensive just to acquire that one scheduling feature. On my own laptop, I do manual backups to an external hdd but my wife needs the automatcally scheduled backups for hers. Thank you for helping.
    The free version of Reflect does automatic scheduled backups - I've being using it for a while. Note they keep having a sale usually c. 40% off - bag a paid for version then if you need the features.
      My Computers


  7. Posts : 291
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #17

    Steve C said:
    The free version of Reflect does automatic scheduled backups - I've being using it for a while. Note they keep having a sale usually c. 40% off - bag a paid for version then if you need the features.
    Good to know. That's what I will use for her backups. I have used Macrium for years on my own PCs. But always manual.

    - - - Updated - - -

    ignatzatsonic said:
    see comments:
    Now I understand. I have a fast machine but I rarely use incremental or differential backups. Not sure why, but when I do manual backups I just go ahead and do new full backups, usually only of the data partitions. That's why it takes longer. For some reason I've always felt uncomfortable with incremental or differential backups (always need to look up their difference.....). I probably should start using them instead of the unnecessarily time-consuming multiple full backups. But by the time I connect the usb drive and check how much free space remains available on the backup drive, I just go ahead and click on a new full backup. Stupid of me. Just old lazy habits.
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  8. Posts : 25,032
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #18

    Curious said:
    ...For some reason I've always felt uncomfortable with incremental or differential backups (always need to look up their difference.....)
    I find they are as reliable as a Full backup (and certainly faster to make). They do require you to have made a Full first though, and keep it in order to do a restore.

    Differential = all the changes since the Full. You only need one Differential and its Full to do a restore.

    Incremental = only the changes since the previous backup, so you need the Full and all subsequent incrementals to do a restore.
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  9. Posts : 291
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #19

    Bree said:
    Differential = all the changes since the Full. You only need one Differential and its Full to do a restore. Incremental = only the changes since the previous backup, so you need the Full and all subsequent incrementals to do a restore.
    I'll write this down. It makes linguistic sense but easy to confuse (for me). Thank you Bree. Interface won't let me 'thank' you again on the website.
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  10. Posts : 1,904
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #20

    For being ABSOLUTELY (!) sure ; better make more then one backup , with different software and place these backups on different HDDs ( intern and extern !) .
    If a backup fails , you can always try the other(s) , if a HDD, or partition dies , you can always use other backup from other HDDs/partitions.
    Im using Macrium ( number 1 !) , Aomei, Todo , Paragon, Active Bootdisk , every 5 days I make a few backups .
    Before ( !) you upgrade to newer Windows , backup extra ...........this way your always safe , no formatting anymore ..........!
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