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Author Topic: backup software - flexible drive assignments - cloud  (Read 1147 times)

Steven Avery

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backup software - flexible drive assignments - cloud
« on: October 28, 2011, 08:31 AM »
Hi Folks,

Lots of file-to-file backup software function is fairly generic. Especially in the small data backups of your currently active files, which might only be 50 megabytes or even a gigabyte, rather than some massive amount.

Copy from A to B.
Have the default or option set to automatically override all B with the new A.
In other words, nothing about incremental and stuff like that, you just want to copy the current files to a USB or external or somewhere.  To be clear, there may be incremental built in, in the sense that a duplicate file is not copied, the software is intelligent in that sense, but no attempt is made to add to a file if it is different.

Backup4All is one of the better programs, yet 2 features I asked about it lacks.

flexible drive assignments ?

The lack of flexible drive assignments hurts.
You never quite know if you are thinking d: or e: or what.
You should be able to design a backup and decide on the fly where it goes, or by passing a shortcut, command line parameter.   (Granted, you can go in and change the catalog fairly quickly, rather than making a duplicate, however it is so unelegant to work in that manner.)

The cloud lack is understandable, it is more a specialty, but it would be nice if your basic home USB and external drive backups also worked directly to a cloud, without tweaking. (Much like we see these days with the screen capture programs using Zuploader rather than to a local disk file.) I tend to doubt if this really exists anywhere (backup to cloud DriveHQ rather than D:) . Anyway, if any backup software has this feature, it would be nice to know.  

Another feature , where Backup4All looks ok, is the ability to choose the actual files, one by one, or a .zip compression. They call the actual files a "Mirror" backup.  This is one feature I do not want to lose.

Granted, I am probably leaving out a lot, and sometimes software has their own quirks, but I am trying to automate the basics.   Have 3 or 4 backups,  something like this:

1) all my regular data files
2) all my email
3) special critical email .mbx that I want handy even on the road.
4) the relatively complete backup (e.g. all miscellaneous except the email in (2) )

And clearly, there might be other groupings, like pictures, or web development, or this or that.  In my case the email has lots of forum stuff, and has its own dynamic, and is many gigs, that is why I approach it separately.  You might have a similar situation with music, video, pics, egtc.

Anyway, just focusing on the requirements above -- especially flexible drive assignments and "mirror" (not image) backup -- and thinking about the Cloud alternative, your ideas appreciated.


I will say that I like DriveHQ because, even as a cloud app, it has available for your disk a nice Total Commander type of file manager, however, afaik, it does not have an easy to set-up (like Backup4All or Syncback or Cobian) backup save-group method.  The goal here is to take care of two stones with one bird.  Sometimes, before going out, I find myself quickly dropping the current linkman file into DriveHq and taking off.  And that is with the free (50 mg a day ?) DriveHQ account which I would expand if I found they have a more sophisticated backup group method.

(Which leads to another question, maybe another post, as to where the alternatives of serving or synching data rather than copying makes sense.   My experiences so far have always been that having local data can not be beat, and other methods have problematic elements.  With the possible exception of my local network, where it looks like a file might share reasonably neat.  I think everybody plays with this stuff on a trial-and-error basis, with the emphasis on error.)


One little tweak about the description at top.  Some software handles these file-by-file copies differently than others, say you are copying from A to B, but B has an existing file not in A.  Does the software delete the early version in B ?  There is no automatic right or wrong, it is conceptual, if I remember some folks are upset that the Cobian default. Which, unlike some others, is to delete and have a true "mirror", but you can see that keeping the earlier files (with the earlier date available) might be superior, e.g. if you accidentally deleted a file.  So this is one other issue that I can see as important.

And of course it almost goes without saying that you would like there to be some sort of verification involved as well.

Personally, I prefer file-by-file visible non-zip backups.  Where you see what is there immediately. If you have a crash, you do a reinstall to a cleaner system, one where you do not reinstall to a possibly compromised earlier state (sluggish, virus, etc.)   With the exception of software testeers, network managers and a few other areas, I think the whole idea of rollbacks and images is way overdone, with one other exception, an early image close to the OS, so you might avoid the OS reinstall headaches involving drivers and basic install.


« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 08:59 AM by Steven Avery »