Windows Backup Software
February 17, 2004 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Windows Backup Software? I'm looking for software that will backup data from multiple Windows computers onto a Windows server regularly without a user starting the backup. Hopefully it will be automatic. Thanks.
posted by Argyle to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Are you trying to just back it up to the hard drive, or to a tape device?

If you're not going to dump it to tape, you could just mount a shared drive and use the bundled Windows Backup tool, or Ghost .
posted by cmonkey at 4:34 PM on February 17, 2004

Hopefully Argyle has the same problem I have, which is what windows daily incremental backup software actually works?

I've got an extra big hard drive in my PC, I've also got a networked hard drive, and a powerbook. Ideally, I'd like to backup the most important files on both my PC and powerbook to either the extra drive on my PC or the networked drive. Personally, I've tried out half a dozen shareware backup solutions and none of them do the job.

A few people have told me rsync is all I need, but not being much of a linux guy, I can't figure out how best to do that (has anyone made an easy to understand wrapper around rsync before?).
posted by mathowie at 4:45 PM on February 17, 2004

Get Veritas. Usually a copy comes with any tape drive backup system, Which I'd recommend.

Tape backs up are cheaper, longer last then harddrive backup solutions. Even big companies that use a distributed harddrive backup also keep a tape backup of that.

But yeah you can select computers on the network and exact files you want to back up and when. Say you only want to backup your MP3 archive on Sundays, etc. Simple and powerful.
posted by geoff. at 5:35 PM on February 17, 2004

mathowie: Have you read this page? It seems to be a pretty good tutorial. If you have a Linux or BSD machine available, Bacula has a Windows client port, and it's fairly easy to set up.
posted by cmonkey at 5:49 PM on February 17, 2004

I'm surprised that no one mentioned the built in Windows XP backup tool.

It works great for me (Programs >> System Tools >> Backup). I have it backing up my important work files and such to a second drive every morning with Task Scheduler.

You could easily do this on multiple computers and have it save the backup file to a network share.

I don't use the incremental backup, but that's there too.

Best of all, it's easy to restore specific files without restoring the entire backup (did this just yesterday).

Maybe I'm missing something, but there doesn't seem to be a reason to use 3rd party utilities for this.
posted by malphigian at 5:57 PM on February 17, 2004

What you're looking for is probably something like Amanda, although I've rigged solutions up with nothing but Robocopy, a batch file, and the "at" command. Pretty much you write a batch file that invokes Robocopy for each client to be backed up, then reschedules itself with the at command. That works pretty damned well, actually, though the weakest point is the notoriously finicky and flaky Windows Scheduler Service.
posted by majick at 6:39 PM on February 17, 2004

Dantz Retrospect was the standard Mac backup utility for years, and there's a Windows version of it too.
posted by kindall at 8:01 PM on February 17, 2004

What malphigian said - we use the Windows Backup utility at work and it has been fine for both full and incremental back-ups. Way back in the dark days of Windows 95, it was pretty useless and I think people have mostly forgotten it even exists, but it has improved a lot. Best of all, it's free you have already paid for it.
posted by dg at 10:13 PM on February 17, 2004

Could Shadow Copy help?
posted by X-00 at 10:18 PM on February 17, 2004

I use Handy Backup. It doesn't run as a service, but it's a great piece of software.
posted by seanyboy at 12:29 AM on February 18, 2004

um, xcopy and a batch file. but i'm a geezer.
posted by quonsar at 5:28 AM on February 18, 2004

I'm facing the same problem at work and started poking around trying to get the XP's built-in backup utility to work. If anyone is wondering, as I was, where the backup utility is hiding on XP Home, look here.
posted by littlegreenlights at 7:10 AM on February 18, 2004

I've had good luck using Unison to keep several local computers' data directories backed up to my file server. Wrote a quick batch file, set it up on a schedule, and forgot about it. Hasn't failed me yet.
posted by Doktor at 10:07 AM on February 18, 2004

I would really love to find out why my Windows Backup, which has been scheduled to run once a week for several months, has yet to actually run--at least I see no evidence that it has.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:54 PM on February 18, 2004

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