SyncBack is 2BrightSpark’s freeware backup solution. I have been using their freeware product for a couple of years now and have been exceptionally pleased with both its flexibility and its reliability.
I just recently upgraded to their paid-for product (SyncBackSE) and I couldn’t be happier. The reason for the upgrade was prompted by my desire to back up open files as well as to make my backups run a little bit faster.
But for simple backup needs, the freeware product is an excellent choice.
I had tried Window’s built-in backup solution, as well as complicated solutions using batch files and WinZip’s command line interface. The Windows solution is simply terrible – if you don’t think so, try restoring a file some time. It simply didn’t do what I wanted when I wanted.
The Winzip option worked quite well, but changes to it always required a little bit of programming and, to be honest, I don’t need most of my files zipped anyway. Xcopy worked for some stuff, but exclusion lists became a real hassle.
Enter SyncBack – You can do everything through the GUI interface, including selecting folders and subfolders, you can exclude/include files based on criteria or explicitly choosing them, you can choose to zip all files as individual zip files (very handy for a lot of large files – you don’t end up with a super-large zip) or just zip entire folders into their own zip files.
You can keep directories in synch or you can use it to back up your files – and yes there is a difference between the two functions.
And it interfaces elegantly with Window’s task scheduler to allow you to run any profile or group of profiles on any schedule you desire.
I have both my main computer and my wife’s computer back up all out data files to my server computer at 3 am every morning. Once a week, the server computer copies all those files to a separate partition for safekeeping after having made a backup of the copy it just replaced!
It sounds like overkill, but anything I value is stored on 3 separate physical hard drives and I can usually retrieve anything up to just under 3 weeks old if I damage it on my main machine.
This may sound like overkill, but I’ve got enough unused capacity on my server machine to handle it and I *really* value my digital pictures and other items that cannot be easily reproduced. So why would I take the chance since there is no expense for me and I have only my data integrity to gain.
And for the anal retentive out there, yes, I make periodic backups of REALLY critical stuff to CD ROM and store them off site.
Anyway, if you are looking for a free or inexpensive backup solution, SyncBack is an excellent choice.