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I've wanted a good backup software tool for a long time. Most of them are either too expensive, too complicated, or both. I've been really pleased with SyncBackSE from 2BrightSparks Pte Ltd. I read about it this month in CPU Magazine, and figured I'd give it a shot.
They have a free (as in speech) version as well as a purchased version. The free version can work really well for many people -- its not overly limited, just doesn't have quite all the features of the $25 version. I've got the trial of the $25 version but that's just a formality while I do the due diligence of a full test. I've already decided to pay for this thing.
When it comes to backup, I see a few key areas that need to work well. It needs to be scheduled, it needs to spot changes and back them up, it needs to be unobtrusive, and it needs to be reliable. SyncBackSE does that without even breathing hard. Here's some features I really like:
It handles open and locked files in Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 by taking advantage of the new features in the operating system designed to support this kind of thing. (Paid Version)
You can set up multiple profiles, each of which identify different directories or methods for backup, but you can also combine them with "group" so they all execute together. In the freeware version you'll want to use this because you can't really just back the whole drive up at once without carefully excluding the system files that tend to be open.
You can have it back up to an FTP server or a networked drive, and it will remember the login passwords you need to connect to those locations! Forget mapping a drive, just point it to the network name and give it access.
You can have it run programs or scripts before it runs and after, to set the environment up the way you want it, then put it back.
It can force shutdown programs if you need to before running a backup
It can compress the backed up data using ZIP files either individually or as an entire set -- the full version can also compress them on disk using NTFS compression as it goes instead.
It can set your PC to WAKE UP in the middle of the night (a BIOS feature you're not using now), login, connect to the network drive, backup your data, and shut back down!
The best feature of all for me, is hinted at in the name. Its called SyncBackSE not BACKUPSE or BackBackSE. Its got a full set of features designed to keep a couple of machines synchronized if you want. For me, that means my laptop and my workstation can have the same development source files, environments, and documents on them with ease! The full version really expands this capability so you'll want to pass them the $25.
Oh, and for all those friends and family members who are not geeks, send them this great little book on backing up. Its a combination of documentation and really good advice.
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