Local backup solutions for multiple Windows 7 computers
August 29, 2018 5:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a good way to backup four Windows 7 computers over a local network to an external hard drive. Up to now, I've been using CrashPlan's free plan, which made this super easy over the network. They're removing this functionality come October, so I'm looking for a new solution.

I'd love the same functionality as CrashPlan has now. I'm happy to initially pay for some software, but would prefer to not have to subscribe to a cloud backup service if I don't have to. Right now I have two hard drives that I swap every 3 days, always keeping one drive off-site. We also backup current work to Dropbox so we have a cloud solution for items that might not be on the drive, should we lose the backup drive due to theft.

Is there something that will work like Crashplan? As an alternative, if I have to have three of the computers backup to a single "server", and have that single computer create a backup, that could work, but it wouldn't be ideal.
posted by backwards guitar to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
for easiest recoverability, look into Storagecraft Shadowprotect. It does incremental snapshot backups on a schedule (1x daily, hourly, 15 minutes, whatever), and you can lob those backups off to Synology NAS for retention.

Yes, it costs money, but it's a solid product that we use across our entire client base. Never once let us down when it comes to recovering entire systems, or individual files.
posted by tgrundke at 5:47 AM on August 29, 2018

I used arq to replace Crashplan. It's a bit unfriendly but provides the same functionality as Crashplan. The main missing element is a Linux client (arq is Mac and Windows only).

Typically local storage would be implemented by telling arq to back up to an SMB share. It can also back up to sftp and several cloud services including S3, Google Cloud, and Backblaze B2.
posted by doomsey at 6:32 AM on August 29, 2018

I use SyncBack, which straight up mirrors my several hard drives to a 5TB backup drive. No proprietary backup file formats, just comparing the current state to the last backup and changing the last backup to reflect the current machine. Recovering things from that drive is likewise just folder navigation followed by copying files.

It fits with your workflow of swapping drives around, but maybe not with your intentions. My intention is to have some basic insurance against a ransomware virus; my hard drive is only connected to my PC for a few hours a week.

Since I haven't used it for maintaining a series of historical backups, I don't know if this is a solution, and I'll be checking out arq as suggested above for that. (Thanks doomsey.)
posted by Sunburnt at 11:38 AM on August 29, 2018

I like Macrium Reflect Free. You can mount the backup as a drive letter and access your data in a read-only mode this way.
posted by nostrada at 12:37 PM on August 29, 2018

Thank you all for the suggestions. I'll check them all out and hopefully come back with a winner.
posted by backwards guitar at 2:33 PM on August 29, 2018

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