Recommendations for Windows backup software?
December 17, 2010 1:08 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for Windows backup software?

I'd like backup software for my laptop (running Vista Home Premium) that:
- Protects against accidental changes/deletes to files, i.e. keeps a version history of files
- Backs up files (and their history) to an external drive, perhaps on a schedule, but only if I have my backup drive connected.
- Will warn me if a backup is in progress if I want to disconnect the external drive or shut down for whatever reason, but will also gracefully let me stop the backup if that's the case
- Will let me specify certain file types to not keep a change/delete history for, i.e. *.mp3. If I change song.mp3, only keep the latest in the backup, or if I delete song2.mp3, remove it from the backup as well
- Will make it really obvious if there's a problem writing to the backup drive, and will make it easy to start again with a new backup drive
- Otherwise has an unobtrusive interface; I want to set this up and forget about it

I'm only interested in backing up documents and media (pretty much everything under C:\users, and other directories like C:\movies), not the whole hard drive. Also, I'm willing to pay for the software.

Does software like this, that you have actually used and can recommend, exist? I think I might be describing what Time Machine does on the mac, but I don't need the fancy history UI, or the full-system backup.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
SyncBackSE is one I've recommended before. It meets the majority of those criteria, and it's not expensive ($30). Lots and lots of different settings and options, so there's usually a way to achieve whatever kind of backup you need.

I don't know of a backup solution for Windows that will warn you if you try to disconnect a drive, though. Presumably it would only be effective if you go through the the proper 'eject media' process, but I haven't seen even that functionality.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:57 AM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're flexible on the 'external hard drive' part, I'd recommend Carbonite. It's got all the features you're looking for, and costs $54.95/year for unlimited backups. I just did a complete restore from my backup after my hard drive failed, and everything went pretty smoothly.

If you want a local and more manual solution, you could give SyncToy a try. It's a tool from Microsoft that you can use to synchronize (and mirror) files between directories. I've used it for creating backups to external drives. You can also use it from the command line, which means you can set it up as a scheduled task.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:02 AM on December 17, 2010

I was going to recommend SyncBackSE as well. I've been using it for years. You can definitely set it and forget it if you want, but it also has a lot of options. They have 30-day trails for their software and a freeware version as well, if you want to try out the feature set before you buy.
posted by geeky at 10:49 AM on December 17, 2010

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