Please assist: I have these very specific needs for Backup Software for Windows

AARRGGHHH

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Hello

I'm looking for backup software that will do the following:

1. Backup complete drives as files and folders (not images and not compressed files). Backing up the boot sector would be nice too but I know that may be asking for too much.

2. Backup files and folders in use by programs and Windows.

3. Perform differential backups (backup only new and updated files after an initial complete backup is performed)

I'll be doing this on Windows 7 SP 1 64-bit and Windows 8.1 64-bit. Carbon Copy Cloner does this perfectly (even the boot files) on my Mac, but that doesn't do me much good on my Windows machines. Right now, I use a Win XP live disk and an old version of Norton Ghost to make file and folder clones of my drives, but there's no differential option, so I have to assault my drives with a complete read / write every time I want to do a back up, which is going to shorten the lives of all of my drives. I need a more practical option. Free is preferred but reasonably priced with a free trial is acceptable.

Many thanks!
 

Kiril_Petkov

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Fist you want professional backup solution for free this is the hardest part of your issue. Second if you are using HDD to make you backups ofc this will shorten the lives of your drives there are special HDD for this.
About free solution try Acronis or Comodo, if you want deferential/incremental backup solution then you should forget to free version. Also making a backup strategy is essential. If you can afford LTO drive where the bacup you information would be the best.
 

mwryder55

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If you just need a current copy of the drive you could use XCopy. It is much faster than Windows copy and can be told to only copy files that are new or changed. I am not sure about the in-use ability as I never used it to back up drives while the computer was in use.
 

AARRGGHHH

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"Fist" I did not say it had to be free.



Yes, I mentioned that myself, but you did not say what drives I should be using.


I have tried them both. Acronis was not free. The first time a drive failed and I tried to recover my data, my Acronis image failed. So Acronis is out. The first time I used Comodo, I was setting it up, and a message popped up on my screen saying "Hi, I'm from Comodo Tech support, how can I help you?" Eavesdropping is an unforgivable sin, I immediately removed every Comodo product from my computer, I suggest everyone do the same.


Again, that's fine. As long as I can test drive a product, I'm okay with paying for it, I said that in my original post.


I have a backup strategy. I have backup software for OS X. I need backup software for Windows. No clue what that last sentence meant.
 

AARRGGHHH

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AFAIK, Windows can backup your C:\users\[name]\ directory, or can make a windows image, but cannot do a complete backup of the C drive (program files, etc...), cannot backup secondary drives, and cannot do differential backups. Please correct me if I'm wrong, and let me know how to do it, since if there's something built in, this would be ideal. Thanks!

PS: I tried EaseUS last night. It only does images, not files and folders. Both times I've used images in the past, they've failed on me.
 

AARRGGHHH

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Do you mean XCopy the .net program or XCopy the command line program? XCopy.net is only Win XP and older. I can certainly try the XCopy command, I'm also not sure what will happen on in-use files. How would I use that for a differential backup?

Thank you
 

mwryder55

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I was referring to the XCopy command. There are switches in XCopy that allow you copy folders and sub-folders along with skipping any files that are the same as those on the target. If you set up a batch file with the command(s) you can then use Windows Scheduler to run them at specific times.
 

AARRGGHHH

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Thank you very much. My concern is the images, since this adds something new that can go wrong. I prefer to backup the file system, I've had images fail on me twice in the past. Is there an options to use files and folders instead of images? Thank you!

 

AARRGGHHH

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That sounds useful, thank you! If it can copy files that are in use by programs and Windows, it will solve my problem. Thanks again!
 

AARRGGHHH

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Unfortunately, neither of those ideas worked. Windows Backup can only create images. XCOPY crapped out as soon as it saw pagefile.sys ("sharing violation"), it also crapped out when I tried to exclude pagefile.sys ("/EXCLUDE: PAGEFILE.SYS Can't read file: PAGEFILE.SYS.").

I can't accept that there is no software to do this on Windows...
 

AARRGGHHH

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I don't want pagefile.sys, just using it to explain that XCOPY didn't work. I don't use images because they add an extra complication, one more thing to go wrong, with the backup process. During restore, I have had images fail on me twice, making my backups useless garbage. I'm not going to let that happen a third time.
 

AARRGGHHH

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I did the backup correctly. Moderator or not, you're out of line accusing me of doing the backup incorrectly, you have no idea as to what went wrong. I've removed your reply as the "solution". I'll check out shadowexplorer, thank you.




 

randomizer

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That is because you're not meant to give the /EXCLUDE option the files that you want to exclude. This option expects the path to a file that contains a list of strings used to determine which files should be excluded. If the file path contains any of the strings in your exclusion list then the file will be excluded. It only needs to partially match, so ".SYS" will match PAGEFILE.SYS, but also any other path containing ".SYS".

I would not use XCopy for backups. At the very least look into using Robocopy. It has way more options for deciding what to copy and more options for handling transient errors (particularly good for copying over networks). XCopy has two ways to handle errors: blow up just skip the file.

If you need to keep historical versions of files then you probably need software designed for doing backups. I think you should probably seek out a proper backup solution either way, rather than spending hours or days trying to configure copy tools so that they copy the right files with the right security info. I don't have any specific recommendations if you don't want images though.
 
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