About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

February 9, 2010

Backup Software

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:21 am

Over the past nine years I have talked about different items related to backing up your personal files or data files on your computer.  At that time I wrote about where to back up your files.  Three years ago I talked about what files you should regularly backup.  From both of those columns I only slightly brushed what to use to backup your files.  So today that is where we will look.

The major issue with backing up your data has not changed.  One day, sooner or later, you can count on it; your hard drive will fail.  If you are a computer user it will happen.  A newer computer is less likely to have this issue, but the age of the computer is no guarantee that you won’t have that big headache.

I am going to mention three different products I have found most useful for backing up my most essential files.  You know me.  One of my preferences is that the applications are free and all of these are.

The files I choose are my columns, tax returns, training manuals, a couple of books I have been working on for years (which may never be finished) and on…ad infinitum.  Basically I backup my “Documents” and “Music” folders.  The music is everything on my iPod which would be a long hard process to recreate.  I back them all up on my external hard drive in a TrueCrypt partition so that no one can read, edit or delete them if they find the drive.  (I told you about TrueCrypt last year.)

The first backup application has been built into Windows starting with XP and has now been updated in Windows 7.  I hate to say this, since I am a huge Microsoft supporter, but I don’t care for either one.  They will not allow me to backup my files on an encrypted drive, i.e., a TrueCrypt drive.  There may be a workaround or trick to do so that I am unaware of.   If you know one let me know.  I have never been able to make them work to my satisfaction.

Next, was a real favorite of mine also from Microsoft called SyncToy 2.1.  I have used several versions of this one before and it is slick.  This is a very good program and I highly recommend it.  I like SyncToy but I prefer the next application.  SyncToy writes additional files to your backed up files which are harmless, but why have them?

The final program, Karen’s Replicator is found at  I don’t know Karen personally although I have communicated with her via email in the past.  She writes some excellent free programs.  I use several of them on a fairly regular basis.  She also has a good (sometimes geeky) newsletter which I suggest you subscribe to.

All three of these apps work about the same; however, I’m sticking with Karen’s.  With the others, if you have a problem you cannot really talk to the creator.  With Karen’s you can.  Regardless, I have never had even one problem in the five plus years I have used her apps.

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