Backup software for HDD and Cloud

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  1. monkeyfish

    Backup software for HDD and Cloud

    I've been looking at using google drive to backup photos and such should the house burn down. I already use an external HDD for local backups, but do it manually. I'm looking for some recommendations for software that would handle backing up files to the external drive and a cloud service. But I'd like to stay away from using, say, googles own drive software, because I might decide to use dropbox, or MS, or whoever (or utilise all of the above for maximum storage). I want a single backup program to rule them all, and running in win7, please. Any ideas?

    1. Capt.Brar
      IT Angle

      Re: Backup software for HDD and Cloud

      I use free Microsoft Sync Toy to create backup into local Google Drive folder and let Google take care of the rest.

    2. Stu J

      Re: Backup software for HDD and Cloud

      Cloudberry Lab - local and cloud backup in one, $30 for the desktop edition. 14 day free trial.

      1. AdamT

        Re: Backup software for HDD and Cloud

        Upvote for Cloudberry (and their technical support). I've used it for a couple of years running off WHS (and now from Server 2012 Essentials) to backup to Amazon S3 but it now supports loads of other destinations too. So kind of a double backup really: PC -> WHS/Essentials -> S3

  2. ZenCoder


    Free file sync will compare folders, and well do whatever you tell it to do.

    Plug in your external, run your task, and any changes to your google drive, dropbox, or whatever other folders you setup will be made to the same folders on your external.

    1. Mr_Pitiful

      Re: FreeFileSync

      Tried this today!! This caused very strange issues

      Win 7 ultimate crashed with 99% CPU usage & 7.82Gb of memory usage

      Really weird as I've used other cloud backup facilities in the past

      Event viewer logged errors I've never seen before, will check on them tomorrow!

      Nothing special about my home setup, just a Win 7 ULT box, with Google Docs attached

      Had to uninstall it after a reboot into safe mode!

      Now stable after removal

      Will try this in the VM at a later date

      Thought it was safe as it was posted on El Reg!!!!!

      Please be careful people!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FreeFileSync

        Google drive only gives you 15Gb of storage for free

        My family pics folder currently is over 150Gb, where on earth do I put that?

        1. tony

          Re: FreeFileSync

          > is over 150Gb, where on earth do I put that?

          Without paying over the odds my solution was to burn a bluray with the a full backup, kept in the office. incrementals are then dropboxed until the free space is used then the process begins again.

          The risk of losing home & office the same night is something I can live with.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward

    Try Owncloud, you can set up your own file sync service on the server of your choice.

    Some assembly required-

    Easy to set up and manage, particularly on a Linux box, a little more tricky to get running on a Windows box

    1. Blane Bramble

      If you have your own hosting and want full control, definitely check out ownCloud

  4. Alan Sharkey

    Allway Sync

    I use Allway Sync. It can use the Windows Scheduler as well as manual backups.


  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. TheGrew

    I wrote a few blog posts on this topic over at . These days I have settled in a mixture of Time Machine and Rsync.

  7. Shak

    Crashplan and a good friend does it for me. The single app will backup to multiple targets, including local, external and remote drives. Windows, Linux and web clients (for remote file retrieval) rounds up what I see as a pretty complete solution.

    1. David Dawson

      +1 for crashplan.

      I back up desktops to a server/ NAS combo using it, and then to a second remote NAS.

      I signed up for their pay service/ remote cloud thing too, so it all streams up to the interwebs. Took a few weeks to get synced properly, but it worked really well.

      Got a dropbox daemon running against a section of it (documents), so I can get the benefits of that system as well.

    2. damian Kelly

      Crashplan plus good friend plus G4 mac mini does it all for me for free (ignoring bandwidth and power). On the downside Crashplan no longer support the powerPC macs but it still works. I use it for half a dozen macs and two windows machines.

      QNAP boxes can run a copy too, which is handy.

      As a slight aside though just Crashplan does not protect against iPhoto library corruption. From harsh personal experience the package based file structure and incremental backups dont work well together. So while I had tested crashplan to restore an entire iPhoto libray what I didnt realise was the library slowly slowing down (and eventually loosing photos) was being accurately backed up. When I figured it out I had a nightmare rebuilding it all.

  8. jdtayloruk

    What about Pogoplug, unlimited online storage and you can use the Pogoplug backup software to back up to the cloud, and send files from say your mobile to your local hard disk and backed up from there. Also, Arcnois true image, if you are prepared to pay, will let you back up to the cloud through their own service or your hard disk.

    The first, I'm not fully sure if that''s what you want but Arcnois trueimage sounds to me like what you may be talking about.

    1. OttawaCynic

      If you're looking, it's spelled Acronis True Image ;)

      I use it, It's not TOO expensive but, to paraphrase Winston Churchill "It's the worst backup software there is except when compared to all the others"

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        ...the worst backup software there is except ...

        The thing that annoys me about Acronis and all the other "user friendly" systems is you can't find out what they do from any documentation. When you fire up and give a backup name do you need to include the date? will the next one ask you again, append to that one, make a delta, make a new one by auto-increment the first name? what? say you want to use a physical device for backups, does it have to always be there? can you move the backup set to another bigger drive in 2 years time? or does it have to do it.

        Seems to me the only way to find out is to try it and waste a lot of time.

        1. sam bo

          Re: ...the worst backup software there is except ...

          "Seems to me the only way to find out is to try it and waste a lot of time."

          you don't have to follow through with your experimentation. start a backup - look at the filename it produces, dates etc, etc. stop it and try whatever other variation you want. it shouldn't take long at all.

          you only waste a lot of time if it takes longer than reading the manual.

          1. JaimieV

            Re: ...the worst backup software there is except ...

            And any backup software that you haven't validated that you can backup with, then tried a second backup to see how that works, then tried a restore from each doesn't really count as backup software.

            Never trust a single backup. Unless you have your important things in at least three different locations, you don't have them at all.

            Being largely Mac based, I use Time Machine to a NAS (homebuilt HP Microserver with FreeNAS9) for those and rsync to the NAS for the others, then the whole NAS is ZFS-replicated to another similar NAS, and then all the actually important stuff is duplicated to external hosts (friends and relatives computers) using Crashplan. Three or four copies of everything, all automated.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloudberry explorer pro + Amazon S3/Glacier

    Beats everything else.

  10. The Infamous Grouse

    Everyone will have their own take on this, but I have a dedicated net-top PC that acts as a file and print server and also a destination for automatic and manual backups from my other machines. It in turn runs Carbonite, which copies all of those backups to the cloud. CrashPlan is an oft-suggested alternative to Carbonite although I have no experience of it.

    Running a whole other machine for backup may seem like overkill but for me it's great. I need something to be running as a print server anyway and it neatly sidesteps the main limitation of a basic Carbonite account, which is that you can only backup one machine and no external drives. By copying everything to a single internal drive on this machine I get the benefit of local and cloud backup at the same time.

    For mirroring backups between various machines and the server I used to use FreeFileSync, but stopped recently when its author started using the OpenCandy adware bundler as part of the installer. I've now switched to SyncBack Free which does a similar job without the risk of crapware. Either can be run from a GUI or automated via a built-in scheduler, Windows Scheduler or batch files.

    As an aside: for anyone whose backup strategy involves copying files across a Windows network I strongly recommend using UNC paths (\\servername\folder\) for the destination rather than mapping shares to a drive letter. The current versions of CryptoLocker that are doing the rounds will enumerate anything with a drive letter and will happily encrypt all of your backups as well as the original files. No doubt later incarnations will attack shares directly but for now using UNC offers a modicum of protection. Most backup software will let you specify paths to shared folders in this way.

    1. simmondp

      +1 for Carbonite, similar solution here, with just over 1TB hosted at Carbonite, 20 years of home video and 40 years of photos.

      Had to do a full restore when two disks in my RAID failed (large power glitch) and got everything back!

  11. Wanda Lust

    Replicate and Archive

    For photos and the like, what is often called 'fixed content', the traditional backup tools aren't that smart - i.e. copy stuff, ad-infinitum, somewhere else & then trawl through a horrendous catalogue to get stuff back.

    Replicate off your PC/Mac using one of the cloud sync providers, pays your money and takes your choice from Google, Amazon, Dropbox, etc, all of whom will sync a simple folder structure to their cloud.

    Archive bundles of images, e.g. when your SD Card fills or monthly folders if your photo sync software organises its library like that, to Glacier - there's quite a few utilities that'll do that for you. The idea is that Glacier's the insurance copy.

    My personal opinion of the backup world is that it's rarely fit for purpose but, hey, that's a whole other debate.

  12. Paw Bokenfohr

    I use...

    ... Centred Systems Second Copy:

    You set it up with a load of tasks to be run according to whatever schedule you like (daily, hourly, weekly, when an item changes in the folder, manual) etc and in whatever way you want - to do a replicative copy, or to simply add/update files and not remove deleted files on the backup etc etc.

    In your case you'd probably set it to daily do an Exact Copy from the folders you want to back up to your external hard drive etc.

    Moderately reliable, had few issues with recent versions (been using it for over 10 years).

    Also - can I be cheeky and suggest that you consider JottaCloud too? Sign up from an invite (like mine: ) and you get 10GB for free, and get an extra 5GB from anyone else you sign up too. With Jotta, it's just like Dropbox and Google Drive, but it's based in Norway, not the USA, and also has a built in backup function if you want to use that as well as the "regular" sync folder like Dropbox and Google Drive.

    1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      Re: I use...

      Wow - I used Second Copy about ten years ago to sync Palm files and calendars between two systems on our home network (Windows something) and really liked it. One of those little gems that Just Worked, and which let you do what YOU wanted, rather than what THEY wanted.

      After a foray into Apple, then settling on Linux, never used it again. Good to see it's still around.

  13. M Couchman

    Crashplan? One program that will back up both to a USB drive, another PC, even a friend's computer over the internet, or the cloud.

  14. Ronald van Raaij


    Duplicati is a free backup client that securely stores encrypted, incremental, compressed backups on cloud storage services and remote file servers. It works with Amazon S3, Windows Live SkyDrive, Google Drive (Google Docs), Rackspace Cloud Files or WebDAV, SSH, FTP (and many more).

    Duplicati has built-in AES-256 encryption and backups can be signed using GNU Privacy Guard. A built-in scheduler makes sure that backups are always up-to-date. Last but not least, Duplicati provides various options and tweaks like filters, deletion rules, transfer and bandwidth options to run backups for specific purposes.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are the current thoughts on BitTorrent Sync?

  16. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Will The Apple's Time warp hard disk enclosure-thingy wifi doable network making device work with a Windows machine?

    Shame? Innit?

  17. John Robson Silver badge


    Bvckup is dead simple, and is being well developed atm.

  18. PaulH

    Two things to consider

    For two-way systems like Dropbox, Owncloud etc, what happens when there is a conflict? Do you just lose the oldest one?

    If you delete or otherwise destroy a file (e.g. write an empty file over a document with the same name, suffer disk corruption) can you restore the original, or does the bad/deleted file get propagated to the other locations?

    1. Skoorb

      Re: Two things to consider

      You normally get another file everywhere called <FILENAME> (PC NAME'S CONFLICTED COPY YYYY-MM-DD HH-MM-SS).extension or something similar.

  19. Mr_Pitiful

    My opinion

    External HDD, placed in the glove box/door of your car, unlikely to loose both!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: My opinion

      I think I'm about to fall for trolling..

      Car interiors get very cold and rather hot, although a hard drive might survive for a while you may have to wait for a few hours for the thing to cool down or warm up before being able to safely use it. You would probably be wise to keep it in a plastic sealed bag for a few hours if bringing it from a cold car to a warm moist home to avoid condensation.

      Vibration, they will survive a lot when powered down but call me old fashioned I don't see it as a good ingredient for backup longevity.

      Encryption, the stuff in your glove box is normally considered worth nicking so you may want to protect the contents.

      I have fallen for it haven't I, you weren't really serious were you,

      were you?

  20. petur

    Get a (QNAP) NAS

    Ditch the USB drive, get a proper NAS like a QNAP one, which can handle your local backups, and then sync to one of the many cloud providers they support (dropbox, amazon, elephant drive, symform, ...)

    I don't sync to the cloud however, I sync to a set of encrypted eSata drives that cycle their presence at work (read: offsite backup by storing the drive at work in my desk)

  21. C. P. Cosgrove

    Secure and cheap

    The original poster wants safe and secure off-site back-up in case his house burns down - entirely understandable.

    Apart from the initial outlay, this method is effectively free. Two external HDs of appropriate size and keep one of them in a friend's house. Do a back-up and swap it with the one that is in the friend's house.

    I looked at cloud storage, and once you get beyond a few Gb it starts getting a little pricey for the private user. I've got about 450 Gb of photos alone floating around my system. It may well be a different situation for a business. A local company I worked for once upon a time - haulage and warehousing - had a fire one night which totalled their offices and the warehouse complex. Because of back-ups, they were working again as soon as they had a couple of PortaCabins put on site.

    Chris Cosgrove

  22. TReko

    SyncDocs and SyncToy

    I backup to Google Drive and also locally. Two backups are better than one. Local is always faster, too.

    Syncdocs backs up everything to and from Google Drive. It works on external drives and network paths. It can also encrypt sensitive folders and allows scheduling.

    SyncToy is good for local backups, is free, and has all the options you will need to backup and restore stuff to an external hard drive.

  23. nords

    Been there, do this

    Map your cloud storage to a drive letter and then the backup becomes a matter of copying files locally, from C:\ to the mapped drive. So then just let Google Drive or Dropbox do what they do well - talk to their servers and use another program to handle the local copying.

    I have this setup and I am using Bvckup 2 as a copier. I've been using it since it was in private beta and I can't recommend it high enough. It can update files using delta copying (skipping over unchanged parts) and cut down backup to a fraction of time. An incredible little program.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Been there, do this

      Yes Bvckup 2 is "An incredible little program" and well worth a look. I use it to watch folders and copy file changes to my external hard drive and to my SkyDrive folder (I've got 45Gb somewhere up there, which is enough for me). If required Bvckup 2 will create an archive of deleted files from watched folders which I do for the external hard drive but not for SkyDrive. Bvckup 2 is a very light, fast copier with no obvious system overhead. Actively developed and free at the moment.

  24. Hairy Drumroll

    +1 for Crashplan

    Multiple destinations (inc Cloud, USB, network share, friends computer), file versioning, unlimited cloud space, runs silently in the background, mobile device apps to browse archive (if you back up to their servers), pricing seemed reasonable to me.

    Carbonite does all of these things as well, but I read that seeding large volumes can take a lot longer as the speed is shaped after a certain amount. This may no longer be the case, but it was at the time I looked into it.

    1. Stacy

      Re: +1 for Crashplan

      I've been using Crashplan for a while now - I have 700+Gb backed up (pictures, music, documents and disk images of the machines in the house) to both a drive in home for fast on site back up and their cloud should anything bad happen to the house.

      I did a test restore from it during the trial period and whilst it is not quick it did work as it should. Hopefully I will never have to use it in reality, but if I do I think that speed of restore will not be my biggest concern :)

      1. JC_

        Re: +1 for Crashplan

        +1 for CrashPlan, too. The storage is 'unlimited' and for the 500GB we're using it's well worth the £45 / year, IMO. Very easy, proper versioning, no manual work required.

        One thing is that uploads are somewhat slow; the FTTC connection we have should allow at least 16mb/s but it's never gone over 4.5mb/s. Apparently it was a lot worse earlier in the year, so at least they're improving.

  25. Ken Veasey

    Take a look at Backblaze it costs 95 US dollars for 2 years unlimited back up.

  26. busycoder99

    How about rolling your own?

    1. Install a small server in your basement or rent a VM and put OwnCloud or Zimbra on it.

    2. Mount your cloud server as a drive on your computer using WebDav.

    3. Store all your files in this folder

    4. Use the OwnCloud app or ZDrive to get your files on your mobile devices

    5. You will have a lot more storage than all the other services combined.

    1. madgabz

      Re: How about rolling your own?, and watch your precious data burn up in a fire , or just vanish when the burglars' been around!!! The topic said offsite backups as well....

  27. Chris Walsh

    Good experience with Acronis True Image

    My experience with Acronis True Image (TI) 2014 is very good. My main PC uses TI to backup daily incrementals and a monthly full backup to a QNAP drive. It only takes 2-3 minutes every morning to to the incremental and I can mount any daily image from anything back to 3-4 months ago when I first set it up. You can set a quota so that it doesn't consume all the NAS drive space (I've set it to 1GB and it is only still consuming 700GB including 3 full images) but I know it will start dropping the full image from several months back once that 1GB quote is reached. It supports bare metal restores too.

    I use Windows 8.1 with a 250GB SSD drive. NAS is QNAP 412 with 3x2GB hard disks.

  28. Adam 1 Silver badge

    Been thinking of using BitTorrent Sync to remove the whole cloud element. It seems to do a nice job keeping the phone and computers in sync, backing up photos automatically as soon as it finds WiFi etc. The main problem with it that I can see as a backup solution is that there is no built in mechanisms to notify you if the remote device went offline for a week. I would also rather a way of leaving it encrypted at the remote server.

    EDIT: also one of the few backup tools that is really easy to setup, just pick the folder and share the secret code with the other parties. Everything else just works.


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