Backup Software Recommendations

Gary James wrote on 1/5/2015, 1:24 PM
Over the past few years I've tried several backup programs with mixed success. First there was the free Areca backup from Sourceforge. Then Nova backup, which was pretty fast but I later found out had the most awkward and unusable approach to restoring single files. And finally Acronis True Image, which I was very happy with until I recently upgraded to version 2015. This version had the worst user interface and would not save the changes I made to the advanced settings. Worst off was the complete lack of qualified tech support. In the process of following their troubleshooting lead they created a new Administrator account on my PC, and then True Image 2015 became so unstable it destroyed all my previous backups. With their guidance I reverted to v2014 only to have that work one single time, and then completely stop working. No version of Acronis will now run on my PC without giving a completely incomprehensible error message. Now, the only way they'll talk to me is if I pony up big $$$$ for a premium support account. Well, they can stick their paid support up where the Sun don't shine.

Any recommendations for another backup program that's good for both file and disk level backups? I don't need cloud backup capability.


Arthur.S wrote on 1/5/2015, 1:38 PM
I've been using the free syncback for quite a while now.

Don't think it'll do all that you want Gary, but maybe one of the paid for versions will. All I can say is that it's never let me down. ;-)
larry-peter wrote on 1/5/2015, 1:42 PM
I'm using Macrium Reflect (free version) for OS disk clones/images and Backup4All for my weekly backups to external USB drives. Pretty basic stuff, but haven't let me down.
john_dennis wrote on 1/5/2015, 2:42 PM
I still use GHOST 15. I haven't installed any version on the system since Drive Image 7. I do full image backups and restores with a standalone boot CD which is just a copy of the original GHOST installation CD. I've never had a failure of any kind.

My main system:
Motherboard: ASUS ProArt Z790-CREATOR WIFI
CPU: Intel Core i9-13900K - Core i9 13th Gen Raptor Lake 24-Core (8P+16E) P-core Base Frequency: 3.0 GHz E-core Base Frequency: 2.2 GHz LGA 1700 125W Intel UHD Graphics 770 Desktop Processor - BX8071513900K
GPU: Currently intel on-die video adapter
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 64GB (2 x 32GB) 288-Pin PC RAM DDR5 5600 (PC5 44800) Desktop Memory Model CMK64GX5M2B5600C40
Disk O/S & Programs: WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD WDS100T1X0E - SSD - 1 TB - PCIe 4.0 x4 (NVMe)
Disk Active Projects: 1TB & 2TB WD BLACK SN750 NVMe Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 Solid State Drives
Disk Other: WD Ultrastar/Hitachi Hard Drives: WDBBUR0080BNC-WRSN, HGST HUH728080ALE600, 724040ALE640, HDS3020BLA642
Case: LIAN LI PC-90 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Case
CPU cooling: CORSAIR - iCUE H115i RGB PRO XT 280mm Radiator CPU Liquid Cooling System
Power supply: SeaSonic SS-750KM3 750W 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Drive Bay: Kingwin KF-256-BK 2.5" and 3.5" Trayless Hot Swap Rack with USB 3
Sound card: Realtek S1220A on motherboard. Recording done on another system.
Primary Monitor: ASUS ProArt 31.5" 1440p HDR10 Monitor PA328QV
O/S: Windows 10 Pro 10.0.19045 Build 19045
Camera: Sony RX10 Model IV

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Gary James wrote on 1/5/2015, 3:05 PM
I had completely forgot about Ghost. I also owned Ghost v15. It would not create a file backup for me. I created a backup with a single file. And it ran and stopped and didn't give any indication of failure. But when I checked, the backup was empty. Previous versions of Ghost had worked fine, but not 15. So I dumped that one too.
cohibaman#1 wrote on 1/5/2015, 3:13 PM
You could look at Macrium software, it seems to look similar to Acronis True image. they have a 30 day free trial so you could give it a test run before you buy. A couple of members on this forum seem to swear by it. Their site has lots of information and there are tutorials on YouTube demonstrating the use of their software. Support seems to be genuine & helpful for the product.
riredale wrote on 1/5/2015, 3:33 PM
Since the mid-90s I've used maybe a dozen different backup programs. Used Acronis10 for the past 7 or 8 years, but about a year ago switched to Macrium, which has a very similar look and feel to the old Acronis.

There must be some unwritten law that says successful software must go through iterations every year so that, in time, it suffers from bloat and sinks of its own weight. That was my impression of Acronis and the reason I switched.

By the way this topic comes up every six months or so. Do a search on this site and you'll find a lot of discussion.
Kit wrote on 1/5/2015, 4:41 PM
I use Macrium free version. I backup my system almost every night and restore once or twice a month. It works very well for me. I've used Acronis and much prefer Macrium.
PeterDuke wrote on 1/5/2015, 5:05 PM
"There must be some unwritten law that says successful software much go through iterations every year so that, in time, it suffers from bloat and sinks of its own weight. That was my impression of Acronis and the reason I switched."

It is not so strange really. Something like backing up isn't in the same league as video editing when it comes to innovations. The company wants to continue making money so they fiddle with the interface and add unnecessary bells and whistles and of course the "cloud".

I started with Acronis True Image 9, which I was very happy with. Then I upgraded to 2010 (version 13) because it didn't work properly with Windows 7. The interface changed for the worse but it was still usable. The interface of the standalone version in particular was a bit clunky, so I subsequently upgraded to 2014. I liked it even less, so I went back to 2012.

I don't want software thinking for me when to do backups and I don't want to be reliant on the cloud. I just want something simple and reliable. I have played with a few other products but there was always some niggle that left me with the devil I know.

Erni wrote on 1/5/2015, 6:10 PM
I currently have an SSD with 120GB and frecuently becomes full.
I buy a new SSD for windows and programs, an Samsung EVO 840 with 240GB.
With the new SSD comes a Samsung soft, Data Migration. I use it and, voilá, the pc works perfectly with the new SSD without re register nothing. Very impresive for me.
I don't know if Data Migration works for other HDs.

My two cents.

GeeBax wrote on 1/5/2015, 7:20 PM
I think the first thing to determine is whether you are talking about 'backing up' your software or your OS.

My view is that they should be completely separate. I clone my OS drive using Casper, which leaves me with a drive that can be instantly changed for a faulty OS drive and I can be back up and going in minutes.

But for my data, I keep that on a separate drive and back it up to yet another drive using TeraCopy, which copies and verifies.
Gary James wrote on 1/5/2015, 9:14 PM
I need something for file backups. I use Windows 7 Pro built-in Backup utility to create weekly System Image backups. But having a system image Backup, backup, wouldn't hurt.
diverG wrote on 1/6/2015, 6:51 AM
Macrium displays a splash screen is similar to W10 preview when booted from the recue disc . Also seems to load a USB3 driver set which makes for a speedy recovery from external storage.

Sys 1 Gig Z370-HD3, i7 8086K @ 5.0 Ghz 16gb ram, 250gb SSD, 2x2Tb hd,  GTX 4060 8Gb, BMIP4k video out. (PS 750W); Vegas 18 & 19 plus Edius 8WG DVResolve18 Studio. Win 10 Pro (22H2) Bld 19045.2311

Sys 2 Gig Z170-HD3, i7 6700K @ 3.8Ghz 16gb ram, 250gb SSD, 2x2Tb, hdd GTX 1060 6Gb, BMIP4k video out. (PS 650W) Vegas 18 plus Edius 8WG DVResolve18 Studio Win 10 Pro (22H2) Bld 19045.2311

Sys 3 Laptop 'Clevo' i7 6700K @ 3.0ghz, 16gb ram, 250gb SSd + 2Tb hdd,   nvidia 940 M graphics. VP17, Plus Edius 8WG Win 10 Pro (20H2) Resolve18


MozartMan wrote on 1/6/2015, 7:38 AM
Another vote for Macrium Reflect software. Works great with UEFI and GPT. It is free for personal use.
Gary James wrote on 1/6/2015, 10:00 AM
I've downloaded the Trial version of Backup4All, and I'm running a couple of test backups to see how it performs. I have to admit I really like the idea of creating a backup file that's readily accessible by any modern .ZIP utility. This is the way the free SourceForge Areca backup worked. But it had difficulties with long file paths and only offered a really lame way of specifying custom file Inclusions and Exclusions. It completely lacked any sort of Folder / File tree to define initial file filtering.

Initial tests indicate that the first full backup is running very close to the time it took Acronis backup to write its proprietary backup database file.
larry-peter wrote on 1/6/2015, 10:28 AM
@Gary, that's one of the reasons I ended up with Backup4All for my weekly backups. I backup to external drive and BD with it, and can take the BD to any machine and unzip the elements I need. For me it's been great.
Barry W. Hull wrote on 1/6/2015, 12:37 PM
Gary, you might want to take another look at Nova backup. Their latest version is a bit more intuitive than earlier versions. I've used it through multiple versions. I have needed a file on several occasions, and it has always worked for me.
Gary James wrote on 1/6/2015, 3:50 PM
Barry, the problem with Nova Backup (off hand I don't know what version I had, but I bought it about 18 months ago) is that in the course of generating incremental backups, it creates a series of separate incremental backup files. This by itself isn't an issue. What is an issue is that I found out in order to restore a single file from the "series" of backup files, Nova backup expected me to select the specific file out of the series where my missing file might be found. Nova backup had no overall index of where specific files are stored and not stored. The more I looked at the program, it became clear that Nova backup was optimized to perform a bulk restore of ALL files. A talk with their tech support people reinforced that opinion when they confirmed that I would have to manually "search" through all their incremental backup files for my missing file.
Len Kaufman wrote on 1/6/2015, 8:49 PM
My favorite is "GoodSync." Not very expensive (about $30) and it does what I want it to. What I like is that the backup up file is a copy of the actual file; not a compressed version requiring some special software to open.

There is a free version, but I found the paid version met my needs.
VidMus wrote on 1/6/2015, 9:46 PM
I use Casper.

It works!
PeterDuke wrote on 1/6/2015, 11:02 PM
I use SuperCopier for data. Simple, but doesn't delete files from the backup that are no longer in the source. You can do another full copy in due course to fix that.

I also use SyncToy, with similar results.
PhillB wrote on 1/7/2015, 4:44 AM
I've just switched to Acronis True Image 2015 and its driving me nuts. I've used Macrium reflect free and paid versions and both work really well. Doing a little research there's a serious number of people that are unable to restore using acronis. It also can't seem to cope very well with running diskfrag between incremental/differential backups.

The only reason I switched was because I'm now using a Drobo 5D Raid and macrium doesn't support virtual drives/windows shadow copy.

Macrium is simple straightforward and works, gets my vote every time.
Gary James wrote on 1/7/2015, 7:48 AM
To those of you who suggested I try Macrium Reflect for file backups ... all I can say is: I did and it's awful.

I downloaded and ran the trial for v5.3 Standard Edition. Being totally unfamiliar with the program, my first impression is that it has one of the most unintuitive user interfaces I've ever worked with. There's stuff all over the main window that provides no clue as to what needs to be selected, and in what order. Also there's no tool-tip help on any of the controls that would be helpful in figuring out what they do. I ended up going to the online help on the web site to figure out where to start. This is when I decided the program is a complete waste of time.

The first and foremost requirement in any backup program that supports File and Folder level backups, is the ability to select the Files and Folders to be backed up. Macrium Reflect has the lamest support for this I've ever seen in a "paid for" backup program. You literally have to manually select or enter every single folder you want to backup. Yes it has a "Include sub-folders" option, but that's only useful if you want everything below a folder backed up. Every other commercial backup program I've seen has an Explorer like File / Folder treeview with checkboxes to quickly choose your backup file set. Other programs also support Exclude and Include filters to further refine the file selection process. The Macrium Reflection file selection support is worse than what I've seen in many free backup programs. At least I found this out in the Trial version before buying.

PixelStuff wrote on 1/7/2015, 8:08 AM
Although I'm using CrashPlan right now, you could take a look at Cobian Backup. It used to be pretty decent freeware. Basic looking, but good features.

Kit wrote on 1/7/2015, 8:55 AM
Apples and oranges. For files and folders I use FreeFileSync. I use Macrium reflect for making images of entire partitions and it is very good at it. It's easy to mount an image and pull out individual files using Windows Search should the be required but I use it for backing up my system so usually do a full system restore. Acronis went downhill when they started offering features to back up files and folders. Two different jobs in my opinion.