Backup Software?

Any recommendations on personal backup software? I’d like to back a growing photo collection and photo catalog setup, as well as music files, etc. Instead of just copying them over all the time, it’d be nicer to have backup software only backup and compress the files, etc. I have a large external drive, now I need to figure out the best way to copy to it.

So, what exists for the average user that is fairly inexpensive, and that doesn’t get in the way? Doing a quick search yielded a lot of ads and old reviews it seemed.

I use Acronis True Image 10 Home and it works great for me.

I’ve been using Ghost 9.0 (part of SystemWorks 2005 Premier) and it does a great job. Just because Symantec is annoying me more and more, though, I’d want to recommend you go with Acronis. The new SystemWorks 2007 Premier includes Save & Restore, which is a new program based on Ghost, but it seems to do more. Or you can just get Save & Restore on it’s own.

Acronis is black magic. You can even download and buy it online.

Do backups while playing Oblivion. No reboots. Don’t know how it does it, but it works.

What kind of backup HARDWARE do you have? When you have a 120 gig hard drive, even DvDs arn’t a very good medium choice. Is there some ultra-high density format for backup data now?

I use cwRsync. Totally free. Works great. Doesn’t do graceful background backups, and takes a while because it examines the whole directory tree every time you do a backup, but it’s scalable (handles 100 GBs and millions of files without breaking a sweat) and reliable. Took a bit of juggling to get the options right, but it wasn’t hard.

I have four SATA 160GB drives in my main system – two in RAID 1 as C:, two in RAID 0 as E:. It’s crappy NVidia motherboard RAID, so I wouldn’t do it again, but it’s actually pretty solid. I have all my main files on C: so I have automatic redundancy from the mirroring, then I use rsync to periodically back the files up to E:, and sometimes to an external 160GB drive that I keep in a fireproof safe. Definitely the best backup situation I ever had.

I think that I will probably go with a 3Ware or other rock-solid RAID controller in my next machine, and skip the RAID 0 altogether. I like knowing that I’ve got automatic and continual redundancy for all my most important files (including all my coding projects), and I don’t want to lose that. The RAID 0, though, is no big deal.

Tape drive back ups cant still be the most reliable longest lasting way to back stuff up these days… or are they?

Probably not for home users. At the office we use 400gb LTO tapes. The write speeds are very fast, unless you’re dealing with a lot of small files. I store my mp3 collection in a digital locker at That way if there is a fire and/or my harddrive gets tanked, I can restore them all.


Yeah but is that realistic for someone that has 100gb of MP3s?

I just use Synctoy and an external hard drive. Super-easy, and with it copying everything over as individual files, it’s less risky than a utility that compresses everything to a single image file that can be corrupted. And easier to go grab an individual file if something happens to the original.

No compression, but (1) MP3s, videos, and pictures are already compressed, and (2) if you really want compression, you can just turn on file-system compression on the target drive.

External USB hard drives are the way to go for home backups, perhaps with DVD-RAM as a second backup for very important stuff.

External harddrive and Acronis.

I use Acronis because that’s what I’ve been using for some time now, but the similar programme from O&O is really impressive and scored like Acronis in our latest review - both beat Ghost, are avaliable to try and are cheaper too.

Hey Hanzii, have you tried out the Symantec’s new “Save & Restore” product? I’d be interested to know how it matches up to Ghost (and TI).

Sorry no. I know we reviewed it (but I only edited the review), but since I recently changed jobs I can’t look up the review. It didn’t score as well as Acronis True Image or O&O DiskImage which the reviewer liked even more than True Image.

You might want to check out Microsoft’s new command-line imaging tool, imagex, which is part of the new Windows AIK. It does file-based images, as opposed to the sector-based images of Ghost and it’s rivals, making the images smaller and allowing for more flexibility, including reduced file size, multiple images in the same file, and the mounting of an image as a folder in an existing operating system.

They are working on a GUI frontend using AutoIT over at the CD forums in this thread here: ImageX as a backup tool

Link to Technet article on ImageX: What is ImageX?

I have a 160gb of mp3s. You can go to and look for Dispatcher in the list. I have somewhere around 20,000+ songs uploaded. I have a few thousand more I need to send up.

The nice thing about the service is that you can get at your music from anywhere, stream it, or download tracks, and it applies the cover art.

Sure, it might take awhile to download all my music again, but it’s not like I’m expecting my harddrive to fail every week.

And it has no capacity limit, so I don’t need to upgrade backup hardware as I get older and my collection gets larger and larger.

I’m not saying it’s superior to using a dedicated backup medium with an offsite storage place (Like your office). But it’s convienient and a good option.


Do you use the free service? I am curious if the 39.99 a year is really worth it.

I pay for it, but I paid before they made the entire thing free. The free service is pretty complete. I’d start there and upgrade if you think you like the features and want to pay for them.


I tried Acronis, and it seems okay. It seems to break down the backup into almost dvd sized chunks. I do worry that they could be corrupted. Later tonight I’ll try to update the backup files, and see how that goes.

I currently have a 500 gb external hard drive for backup. A lot of my photos can change at times with new keywords, etc., so it’d be nice to not continually copy all the directories each time. Music is also a pain keeping track of.

I also make sure the photos I take are backed up to DVD, and keep them in roughly 4 gig folders to let me easily rip them to DVD. I don’t fully trust either the hard drive or DVD backup, so its nice to have both.

Acronis can be set up to make incremental back-ups and thus only back-up what’s been changed.