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Author Topic: In search of ideal backup utility  (Read 30745 times)
tslim
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« on: August 20, 2008, 09:19:59 AM »

Hi *.*,

I have been looking for years but still I am unable to find a backup utility that fulfill all the 7 requirements as listed below:

----------
START LIST
----------
1. A modern and fast backup engine - supports multi-core cpu and 64 bits O/S.

2. Support Unicode / Unicode aware
   i.e. Able to backup/restore files or folders names in multiple languages, irregardless of how Windows language is set.

3. Efficient and easy backup job setup with filter.
   A backup job is typically a definition of what are the source items (folders and files) to be backup to certain target (a backup archive on certain storage).
   A filter in a backup job means a mechanism to define what are the source items (to backup) by file or folder name patterns.
   Backup job filter should:
   a) Support wildcards and/or regular expression - thus able to automatically include future folders or files which match certain name patterns.
   b) Support a way to easily define a "include all and exclude few" or the other way round "exclude all and include few" scheme.
   c) Or even a folder-treeview with checkbox on every tree-node. Just tick to select.
   The challenge here is not to simply provide the a), b) and c), but also integrate them and make sure they work together nicely. An intuitive user interface is very crucial such that user won't get confused when using more than one of the a), b) or c) at the same time.

4. Able to group backup jobs and act (backup/ restore) base on the group.
   For modern backup utility, the ability to backup/ restore base on a backup job is fundamental requirement, in practice, we need more powerful/ flexible feature - that is the feature which allows user to group multiple backup jobs and acts on (meaning to backup or restore) the group.

5. Efficient user interface.
   I understand that Wizards/ wizard-like interface are very helpful especially for newbies/ general PC users, but a more sophisticated and centralized interface, where one can do almost everything or access every feature is a must for serious/ power users.

6. Able to selectively backup registry key(s) rather than just backing up the whole Windows registry like an ordinary files.   
    i.e. besides folder and file, I think the registry should be treated as a collection of registry keys and individual registry key should be a candidate of a backup job.

7. Advanced Data Stream and folder junction aware.
   Able to backup ADS is so crucial for user with multimedia files that tagged with ADS.
   It should be user's choice whether folder junction should be treated just like other source item (say treat it like a shortcut LNK file) or as an ordinary folder (that contains folders or files).
---------
END LIST
---------

and I am very sad, I can't find a backup utility which does all the above...

If anyone knows any backup utility that fulfill all the above requirements, please kindly quote it here, and I thank you in advance!
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cmpm
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2008, 07:14:04 PM »

Sounds more like you getting into group policies and enterprise type backup systems.

Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image for personal use. Without some of the requirements stated.

But for enterprise work and group policies Norton Ghost enterprise edition would be the choice imo.

Though it's doubtful you could get a ghosting program to operate based on the registry or to selectively eliminate or include any entries, because of the nature of the dependencies. Which is where group policies would come in. Requiring that type of program and knowledge.

Most backup programs provide the tree type selection alternative, but I have not seen anything like that for the registry, since the programs require the registry entries and not registry entries requiring programs or system operations.
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tslim
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2008, 11:11:50 PM »

Hi,

Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image are not backup utilities. Even though they push their sales very hard with Backup idea.

Their main function is cloning and is far from a true backup utility with sophisticated functions that I am looking for.
Of course one can clone the whole drive(s) and kept the clone-image(s) as backup, I did that twice a year, but I can't imagine doing that every month if not week.

In my case, on my main working PC, I got 4 active HDD (use daily) that sum up to more than a TB of storage, 60% of them are used, that is about 800GB used-space. On a weekly, monthly basic backup or random case that I start certain backup job manually, then a backup job or group jobs might only involved few hundred Mb of data. I feel stupid to backup all HDD(s) every time when I need to backup... it is like burning my house when all I need is just to kill a mice.

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cmpm
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2008, 11:46:57 PM »

lol...ok,

how much do think you need to backup?
not the entire system apparently....
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cmpm
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2008, 12:07:17 AM »

Here's some info on setting up specifics, manually,
and then automating them.

http://www.unix.ualberta....ADSM/adsmwin/cp5ec602.htm
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cmpm
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2008, 12:29:31 AM »

Anyway, for a job as complex and large as yours.
Symantec is one of the backup pros.

http://www.symantec.com/b...siness/products/index.jsp

There are others cheaper but limited.
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tomos
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2008, 03:50:45 AM »

tslim
have you tried Super Flexible File Synchronizer
I use it in a very basic way so just dont know if/what it covers on your list (except doesnt cover the regristry but I think you're going to have to use something specialised for that no matter what)

from the help
Quote
Alternate Data Streams

Support for Alternate Data Streams is not in its final state at this point. Alternate Data Streams are copied along with the files when using the Windows API Copying function (see Profile Settings - Files/More).

When you click on th Alternate Data Stream checkbox on this tab sheet, you will be presented with a rarely used option. If you have a server with a special Macintosh file share and want to back up the files to a drive that does not support Alternate Data Streams, then this option will allow you to split the resource forks into separate AppleDouble files.

if you do a serch there's a good few threads here + a review but it's had a major update since the review
Prob best to try it out if you havent already

http://www.superflexible.com/
only thing I would miss would be a forum
but the author is very helpful (& prompt) with answering any queries

EDIT/ there's an option to follow hard-links or not
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Tom
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2008, 04:09:06 AM »

Hi cmpm,

No offense! I think we two have very different perception on what is data backup and an utility to do it.

I am using Ghost ver 11.5.0.2113 which can start from a DOS boot HDD, aware of USB drive, Vista NTFS ver 6 supported and so on... and I am using HDD rack to slot in HDD to hold Ghost image, whereas, for ordianry (daily, weekly, ... you name it) backup I directly them to a drive on a HDD permenently stay in PC.

Trust me, besides Ghost, don't use any software tagged with the label "Symantec", you are going to regret.
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tslim
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2008, 04:27:23 AM »

Hi Tomos,

I can't use Synchronizer type of utility, in fact, I also don't consider them as backup utiliy.
There is a very fundamental different between Synchronizing and conventional backup (be it incremental or not). In fact, I do need to create full backup with rolling set numbers. i.e. every backup is full set, but the utility keeps a fix/max number of backup set.

I did evaluate a synchronizer type of utility (well, that was when I really desperate), FileBack PC, I like the interface so much, to me it scroces 100% for my 3), 4) and 5) requirements.

I just couldn't understand, the backup utility world seems to still stay in the 80s.
How nice it will be if Backup4All supports unicode and registry keys backup or I were the interface designer of Genie Backup Pro...<sigh>!

Btw, Tomos, I forgot to tell you, Genie backup manager pro does support registry keys backup.

« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 04:33:27 AM by tslim » Logged
tomos
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2008, 05:37:44 AM »

Hi Tomos,

I can't use Synchronizer type of utility, in fact, I also don't consider them as backup utiliy.
There is a very fundamental different between Synchronizing and conventional backup (be it incremental or not). In fact, I do need to create full backup with rolling set numbers. i.e. every backup is full set, but the utility keeps a fix/max number of backup set.

I did evaluate a synchronizer type of utility (well, that was when I really desperate), FileBack PC, I like the interface so much, to me it scroces 100% for my 3), 4) and 5) requirements.

I just couldn't understand, the backup utility world seems to still stay in the 80s.
How nice it will be if Backup4All supports unicode and registry keys backup or I were the interface designer of Genie Backup Pro...<sigh>!

Btw, Tomos, I forgot to tell you, Genie backup manager pro does support registry keys backup.

dont be misled by the name - it's a full backup utility (except for reg key :p)
do go have a look
does incremental (edit/ thats the wrong word, "versioning" they call it - i.e. like regular scheduled backup - new version each time if file changed), partial file update (ok, that's just for synching), backs up to Amazon S3 - it's good, check it out
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 06:45:19 AM by tomos » Logged

Tom
tslim
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2008, 07:03:26 AM »

Hi,

Ok! I will give it a try and will let yoou know how.

Thank you!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 07:07:37 AM by tslim » Logged
cmpm
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2008, 07:19:03 AM »

Yeah, I'm aware of Symantec's 'other' troubles.

Don't get the Antivirus/Spyware or BackItUp.

I guess I don't understand the type of utility you mean.
Can you give an example that is close?

When I first saw your post I thought of the Windows Backup Utility.
Which has the tree view for selecting files, though I don't recall support for the registry, I would think a good backup program would include it.
Don't misunderstand, I have no confidence in Windows Backup at all.
But it's interface is as you described for advanced settings.

Now, looking closer at my own utilities I find

http://www.titanbackup.com/

supports registry operations as well as being a true backup utility.


* screenshot.png (79.12 KB, 740x530 - viewed 307 times.)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 07:24:51 AM by cmpm » Logged
tomos
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2008, 07:30:10 AM »

4. Able to group backup jobs and act (backup/ restore) base on the group.

in SFFS, in order to do this you have to give the backups you want to group a prefix (with a space after it), e.g.
J Appbackups
J Paperwork
J Photos

They will then show as
J
   Appbackups
   Paperwork
   Photos

and can be selected as a group by ticking "J"

Re the interface & getting to know the options, your best bet is to create a backup(Profile), & go through all the advanced settings - then you'll have a fair idea if it suits or not
or maybe to have a look at documentation at their website

cmpm - Titan got some favourable comments here lately
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2008, 08:18:02 AM »

Very true tomos, here's the thread I picked up on Titan, free at the time.

http://www.donationcoder....13853.msg118855#msg118855
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tslim
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2008, 08:53:24 AM »

4. Able to group backup jobs and act (backup/ restore) base on the group.

in SFFS, in order to do this you have to give the backups you want to group a prefix (with a space after it), e.g.
J Appbackups
J Paperwork
J Photos

They will then show as
J
   Appbackups
   Paperwork
   Photos

and can be selected as a group by ticking "J"

That sounds more like a workaround than real grouping. I can immediately see a problem, how to have groups sharing particular job?

Btw, I read the help file of SFFS, it seems to have very limited explanation for zip package on the right side (destination)...
Is all the manual's explanation on file / folder settings also applied to those files/folders being zip in a zip package?
e.g. are the below also applied on a zip package backup:
On right side, create a new folder each time
Check Existence Of Destination File Again During Copying
Clear Archive Flags

Just a quick clue please:
It is possible to create a job, where each run will create a new xxx(n).zip on the right side, n is increment counter and had SFFS control how big n can go. That is if all the xxx(n).zip of a job are backup to a destination folder say Mybackup, I can set n=52, so Mybackup will holds no more than 52 zips and when n hits 52, that is after the xxx(52).zip is created, the n roll back to 1 and start all over?


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tslim
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2008, 09:03:44 AM »


Now, looking closer at my own utilities I find

http://www.titanbackup.com/

supports registry operations as well as being a true backup utility.

Hi cmpm,
Can you post a screen shot on the main interface.
Is wizard like interface is the only choice (just like Genie Backup Manager), if so, I can save my time to try it.
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tomos
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2008, 09:12:24 AM »

That sounds more like a workaround than real grouping. I can immediately see a problem, how to have groups sharing particular job?
agreed

Is all the manual's explanation on file / folder settings also applied to those files/folders being zip in a zip package?
On right side, create a new folder each time
Check Existence Of Destination File Again During Copying
Clear Archive Flags
here's the relevant options




Just a quick clue please:
It is possible to create a job, where each run will create a new xxx(n).zip on the right side, n is increment counter and had SFFS control how big n can go. That is if all the xxx(n).zip of a job are backup to a destination folder say Mybackup, I can set n=52, so Mybackup will holds no more than 52 zips and when n hits 52, that is after the xxx(52).zip is created, the n roll back to 1 and start all over?
Yes
again maybe easiest to show options



when you say xxx(n).zip if you mean you want the number of the increment to show in the name e.g. General(23).zip - No
Cant help you much more, today at any rate
Tom
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 09:14:37 AM by tomos » Logged

Tom
cmpm
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« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2008, 09:25:46 AM »

It could be considered wizard like but it's not imo. It's more a step by step process type deal where I would have to do a backup and take screenshots at each step.

In other words it will not show the details of each step without actually taking action in each step.

There is a 15 day trial to give it a whirl.



* 1.png (101.36 KB, 743x528 - viewed 344 times.)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 09:27:45 AM by cmpm » Logged
Dirhael
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« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2008, 09:29:13 AM »


Now, looking closer at my own utilities I find

http://www.titanbackup.com/

supports registry operations as well as being a true backup utility.

Hi cmpm,
Can you post a screen shot on the main interface.
Is wizard like interface is the only choice (just like Genie Backup Manager), if so, I can save my time to try it.


Here's a few screenshots where I'm creating a regular backup job.


* Titan Backup.png (101.87 KB, 750x530 - viewed 348 times.)

* Backup Task Properties.png (64.65 KB, 738x548 - viewed 340 times.)

* Backup Task Properties (2).png (70.11 KB, 738x548 - viewed 324 times.)

* Backup Task Properties (3).png (64.52 KB, 738x548 - viewed 348 times.)

* Backup Task Properties (4).png (64.47 KB, 738x548 - viewed 339 times.)

* Backup Task Properties (5).png (65.49 KB, 738x548 - viewed 350 times.)

* Backup Task Properties (6).png (65.99 KB, 738x548 - viewed 308 times.)
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cmpm
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« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2008, 10:22:57 AM »

A short but informative write up from-

http://jonathanstoolbar.b...ck-down-just-back-up.html

Titan Backup

Titan Backup impressed me with its feature set, yet still is easy to use.

Backup item selection: Files, folders, and entire drives. Select by browsing or specifying inclusion and/or exclusion file masks. Can automatically exclude temporary and useless files. Predefined sets provided for picture, music, video, financial, and productivity (Office, PDF, etc.) file extensions. You can see only file names and sizes when selecting, but not dates or other properties.

Profiles: You can set up multiple backup sets for different purposes through a step-by-step wizard. Special file types you can select include emails, contacts, rules, signatures (predefined sets for Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird, Opera, and Windows Mail); registry keys; and user settings for Windows, browsers, IM clients, media players, and certain utilities.

Backup types: Full, differential, and incremental, with or without versioning. A preview window shows differences between the current file and the last backup.

Scheduler: Manual, one time, on Windows startup or shutdown, or by day of the week or an interval of hours or days .

File format and encryption: Native or compressed ZIP format (can be encrypted with a ZIP password) or 256-bit AES encryption.

Destinations: Backups can be copied to a hard disk or other drive, burned to a CD or DVD (with spanning), or transmitted over the Internet by FTP.

Notification: Titan can email you to notify you of the results of its operations.

Special functions: Does not back up open files. Automatically finds Outlook, Outlook Express, and other special data files (see “Profiles” above). Titan Backup can run specified programs before and/or after backup. It can back up the Windows registry.

Ease of use and GUI: This program’s GUI is slick and easy to use, but presents a lot of choices.

Windows versions supported: 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista.

Titan Backup costs $39.95.

Download site: http://www.titanbackup.com
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tslim
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« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2008, 01:58:52 PM »

Hi,

It could be considered wizard like but it's not imo. It's more a step by step process type deal where I would have to do a backup and take screenshots at each step.

In other words it will not show the details of each step without actually taking action in each step.

That is exactly what a wizard-like interface shall look like. I don't see anything from your screen captures that make it a bit non-wizard-like.

FYI, I do not against Wizard-like interface being provided in any utility/application. But that should be an optional mean of introduction or a guide for newbies to gain experience. As users become more and more familiar with what the program can do, shouldn't there be an object oriented way, something flexible and efficient. Wizard-like is task-orientated and worse still, the process is sequential...

To be frank, I own a license of Genie Backup Manager Pro and am still using it (the latest ver)... but I don't like it. I use it, NOT because it is good, but its competitors are worse. I can't find one better than it wrt to my 7 requirements.

The GBM Pro is the world most extreme software. It has fast zip engine, it is unicode aware, has treeview to select source items plus wildcard filter and it can backup registry keys and ADS streams. In brief, the engine, the internal organs of this gargoyle is extremely decent and powerful. But its interface design... uh!!! is extremely inefficient, inconsistent, brainless, ... Btw, from the screen captures, I think titanBackup wizard is a better wizard than the GBM's, though they both are wizard that I dislike.

If you don't mind my long-winded story, please read the below, the world most incredible backup achievement in 21st century:

GBM does not support job grouping nor does it provide anything that help one to quickly backup several jobs. So my wish to prepare backup jobs then create different combinations of jobs (groups) and schedule group instead of jobs is too big a dream for the developer of GBM. I decide to DIY - I use LS to prepare a list of GBM jobs (they are physical files in a folder, anyway) into a plain text file, I then use MacroExpress to process that text file line by line (after some trimming, each line becomes a job name) and these job names are supplied (as command-line parameter) to GBM (one at a time) in order to group-run the jobs. Finally I add that macro to True Launchbar so that I can one-click run a group of jobs, I have about a dozen of such macro on the launchbar... what a solution in blood and sweat, isn't it? No, no, the story doesn't end here, not yet. When I run my macro, that is - running a series of backup jobs, for each job run, I see a dialog pop up with countdown counter, wait n seconds then only a job starts... (I can't even opt to have no countdown) wtfk kind of interface is that, ugh!!!

Believe me, all that has pushed me so hard that I am willing to burn my house in order to drop it, but I find no alternative, I have no choice... don't get me wrong, I mean ... I got no other place to stay smiley
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« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2008, 02:46:21 PM »

Well.....
I tried....

These objectives can be achieved I believe.
But a solid one program solution hasn't been made yet imo.

Perhaps a fresher approach would be needed.
Or using more then one program solution.

But this is way above my head as far as programing.
I'm not a programmer, I just run them.

You seem to be at a point of moving into much more complex backups.
If I could even call it that at this point.

I'd ask where the IT's are personally.
MSDN and the like.
I suppose that one link didn't help.
But Universities are into all this as well.

And I take no offense in you or anyone outright saying what they think.
How in the hell can we get to the damn point if we don't.

http://www.google.com/sea...&btnG=Search&aq=f
« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 02:56:40 PM by cmpm » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2008, 09:55:09 PM »

I still haven't found a backup application I like, and I'm still pondering whether I should roll my own. Would be a tedious job though, so I'll keep an eye on this thread.

A word of advice, though: don't even consider Acronis TrueImage for backup. It's super and great and lovely for imaging, but it's backup engine sucks sucks sucks. And it's unreliable, in case there's an error while backing up, you risk ruining your latest incremental backup.
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tslim
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« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2008, 01:22:52 AM »

Well.....
I tried....

You seem to be at a point of moving into much more complex backups.
If I could even call it that at this point.

Most of the features that I have listed are fundamental features, they are suppose to be present in a backup utility irregardless of how simple/complex the backup task it will handle.

Hence, the phase "much more complex backups" is over emphasized.

If you look at all my 7 requirements, you should notice that, except for the 2 items: "Registry key(s)" and "ADS Stream and Folder junction" which I think not everyone will have interest, but the rest of the features are of universal nature, I mean any user of a backup utility will love to have them and will use them.

If one find he/she does not need many of the features that I have listed, chances is he/she does not need backup at all or may be just buy WinRar, setup few profiles to backup personal documents/data, e.g. those in MyDcoument folder, that it is, why bother to use a backup utility?
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« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2008, 01:40:39 AM »

How nice it will be if Backup4All supports unicode and registry keys backup or I were the interface designer of Genie Backup Pro...<sigh>!
We hope to have Backup4all 4.1 fully Unicode (we're depending on a 3rd party, so it might be sooner). Regarding the registry backup, Backup4all has the ability to do that but we haven't made this public because we consider this a rather dangerous thing if it's not used by powerusers. I mean you do a backup now of your registry, and if you forget to set it as incremental or to do subsequent backups and want to do a restore 2 months from now, your system will be messed up because there were changes in this time. If we find a way to make this safe, we'll add the registry backup feature too. Right now Backup4all can back up registry entries as part of the XML plugins system.
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