Advice on backup software

I bought a Western Digital 120 Gig external drive to use as a backup drive for my home system, and I'd like to use something nicer than Windows backup to do the backup. Here's what I'm looking for:

  • Ability to backup 3 systems.

  • Scheduled backup

  • Reasonably priced

Bonus if it only stores a single version of files that are shared across the systems.

Comments (16)

  1. If you are looking into alternative solutions to Microsoft’s backup tool, providing Microsoft with a description of the 3rd party solution does will lead to a better backup tool for everyone.


  2. I’ve heard VERY good things about Veritas NetBackup Pro

    Joel on Software also recommends it.

  3. Personally, I keep all important files and documents under source control. This gives me versioning capabilities. For backup, I just backup the underlying store of the source control using windows backup – full backup schedule is once a week. Burn it. Once a month, I take a burned set off site.


  4. moo says:

    Symatntec Ghost. Its invaluable.

  5. moo says:

    I keep all files on a seperate high quality low speed and temperature drive, PGP drive 256bit encrypted, backuped up to DVDRW, smeared with butter, wrapped in tinfoil and burried in the back garden.

  6. moo says:

    Alternatively you can just store it on one of those new fangled P2P backup systems like Gnutella.

  7. Joe Fung says:

    Hey Eric,

    It’s me, Joe. Building on what the first poster said, Veritas definitely knows its stuff. They used to make a great personal backup program, but sold it off to focus on the enterprise. That backup program is now marketed under the Stomp brand and continues to win awards. Here’s the URL:


    PS – How’s your camera doing? When are you going to start posting pix on your blog, too? <g>

  8. I can highly recommend Acronis True Image – other than the simple facts that it takes an image of your drives extremely quickly AND securely, here’s my favourite features:

    – you can mount the image files as drives in windows to make selective restore as easy as possible

    – it allows you to burn a bootable CD to allow restoring on a dead PC

    – you can make incremental images (i.e. it will only image what has changed since the last image)

  9. moo says:

    Acronis True Image claims to take a so called exact image yet the system is running at the same time, do you actually believe this? I take it with a grain of salt and why I use Symantec Ghost for an imager while the OS is NOT running.

    With Symantec Ghost you can use Ghost Explorer and restore individual files if need be.

    I would rather not risk data to True Image that runs while the platform is running.

  10. I hesitate to even suggest it, but if you have an old system that could run Linux you might want to check out BackupPC at

    It only stores one copy of files that are the same across multiple machines, has scheduled backups, a web interface, and tons of other features. Plus, it’s free. 🙂

  11. I’ve been using Dantz’s Retrospect Pro. It backs up my whole system (and my wife’s machine, too). It allows you to create bootable disaster recovery CDs to bring back a hosed system, and it has worked in the past for me. Another advantage (for some) with Retrospect is its ability to back up both Windows and MacOS machines.

    I’m not sure about the ability to exclude identical files on multiple machines.

    I bought Symantec Ghost, too, but I could never get the drivers working (I use an external Firewire hard drive). I could back up over the network successfully, but that meant I had two backup locations (my machine backed up my wife’s machine and my wife’s machine backed up mine). It also meant that I had to boot them both into the DOS mode a couple of times so that each could alternate between server and client. Far too much headache.

  12. Take a look at V2i protector from Powerquest as well. It’s an online disk imaging thing that will make images full or incremental of a workstation/server without taking it down.

    Written in .net too.

    Free solution – batch script with robocopy.

  13. Lenard says:

    If you want to do offsite backups….look into I use it to backup files to my host’s webserver. The nice thing is that it is completely secure. Backups get encrypted with PGP. I use their 123Backup program but their EaseBackup program has more features and a nicer interface.

  14. allanc says:

    why would you want backup software?

    if you’re interested in keeping small quantities of critical data secure against fire, overwriting, etc, check out or some other internet provider.

    if you want your system easily restorable in the event of a disk failure, use a raid controller and mirror.

    if you are saving gb of digital images, buy an 8x dvd writer, make 2 copies of every image and keep the other copy in a safe deposit box (ok, so i’m retentive about my digital images).

    let me know if this helps!

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