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Cloud Backup Simplicity

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Steven Avery:

It seems to me that cloud backup simplicity will occur when :

a) your cloud drive is mapped as a local drive - so that normal backup set software can be used
    (also you have all the ease utility of Total Commander, xyplorer, etc in working with the data)

b) your backup software is reasonably robust

c) your files can be saved directly in native format, rather than proprietary or even .zip

That way you can easily make and tweak precise backups ... daily saves of volatile data, even automatic from multiple locations (a type of u-sync, I remain skeptical of auto-sync), occasional of work on websites or whatever, special research stuff handled differently, and email handled in its own way, etc.


DriveHQ is my general cloud like, they have their own fine file manager and they try to make mapping almost trivial (WebDav). Cost for data backups is reasonable.  Most of my stuff is small to medium. Right now I went to $3/month.

If you have found other clouds that work as well for mapping and file visibility and control, share away



Syncback looks like it is too sync oriented, and does not have the type of flexibility of saving this file here and that file there very easily.  How it works with profiles and tasks seems strange, although maybe there is some way to group that I have not found yet.

Backup4All has that excellent backup flexibility .. but for some reason they want to save as a zip.  And then if the file is real big, they have a special situation about how to dezipperize.  Ugh.   Incidentally, Syncback did have a simulation mode that B4All doesn't seem to have, however overall B4All does look like a better program for backing up without sync.

So am I missing something ?  Am I asking too much ?  Doesn't it make sense to have the option to save files WITHOUT .zip .. for quick visibility, selective restore to another spot, etc.

Also I would like my backup, if possible, to backup the same sets to an external drive, without duplication, a soft-coding of the drive:directory prefix.  Anybody do this ?

Your recommendations welcome.  I might even move to one of the lesser known off-brand backup programs if it is going to make me more confident about a solid backup every day.

Incidentally, I have no real interest in mirrors or smoke (except after an OS install with drivers and such).  If the system crashes, a clean install is called for, is my backup philosophy.  Purge the junque.



Note: there was an earlier discussion:
backup software - file-by-file sets

Now I am trying each one to see which one is comfortable.  Syncback and Backup4All both had some problems from my perspective. Cobian is possible but a smidgen quirky.  Right now I can't find it in the system tray and  I can not kill it in Task Manager :). (I was trying to cancel a job in process.)   I'll get back to it later since it is worth a look-see.  Easeus says it is missing a service, maybe I will get back to them.  So I think Uranium is next.  The free version has a 4gb zip limitation that really does not effect my basic concerns here, and it got some good comments on the earlier thread.  Gizmo likes Backup Maker, but it has a couple of weaknesses (backup up opened files, msgs in German, and maybe  a bit too much on the toolbar cautions on upgrades, etc.)


I'll report back on Uranium, their solid forum is a big plus.

So far, pleasant.
"The use of mapped network drives is not recommended. Convert into the full network path ?"
Hmmmm .. I said no (defeats the purpose, I think).
Uranium created a unique folder name, I'll have to check those destination options.
However, it seems to have locked up, on the first file.

Ok, 2nd time I switched to the full network path, and giving my destination.
I would like it to say more than "Backup in progress". Oh, I may have had two instances running, which it should prevent.

Uranium .. another time around ..after reboot .good info about save (a bit slow but acceptable), very good log (an option to tell you everything), one file super-locked, no save (Swift To-Do, this may need VSS) and still strange with folder names, this has to be played with, the files themselves were in the proper native formats.

Another question: I had to regen the drive mapping after the reboot. It was quick, but still a puzzle.



Well, I think I need either on boot-up or pre-event to the save - regen the mapped dirve / is that normal /  presumably I have to learn the windows.exe and the paramaters and make it a batch file.

My problem so far with Uranium is that it locks up in an unfriendly manner (e.g. if the drive is not there) and, at least in the free version, it is weak on copying a locked file (VSS). A workaround in general for that weakness would be to copy (using a utility that beats the lock) the file and then save the copied file.

Cobian is strong on these and it has pre-events and it has the choice of saving files with a date stamp or overriding the existing regular file.   so so far it is the leader for my purposes.  I'm not sure about grouping say four backups into one group yet, but the design of a single backup is pretty good

In review so far :

DriveHQ - happy location because of easy of file manager, both Total commander style and their file manager

Mapping drives - need to automate the check that the mapped drive is there

Cobian -- very good overall, nothing fantastic, everything good
Backup4all (own pay vesion) -- good but forces .zip
Uranium -- free version - seems weak on VSS locked files, and unfriendly when locking up
Syncback -- not so friendly for backup sets, designed more for sync it seems


Steven Avery:

Right now I am stuck a bit on the mapping issue.  Remapping each bootup has some quirks, even though Explorer sort of remembers. I use XpSyspad to navigate to the network mapper, but am curious what is the .exe for my Linkman. And there are issues like persistency (maintained after the reboot) that are supposed to be handled well with .bat files, but it is not as trivial as desired.  On the other hand, the whole NetDrive, WebDrive area of utility software that is supposed to assist in this is a bit of quagmire.  WebDrive costing significant $, there being multiple NetDrive programs.  It is all clear as mud.

An alternative is simply to let the File Backup program work in FTP mode, if it handles it well. (It would be nice if the same backup set could be soft-coded in output place.)  Needs testing.

With DriveHQ, the inborn File Manager is very strong, so mapping is less of an issue there.  It remains my principle test environment for destination. Thus mapping is less important there than in other locations, since the File Manager is quite capable. (Goals of the project, super-simple automated backup sets, multiple, combined with super-easy File Manager movement and viewing.)

On the software, I still have Cobian high up, Easeus in experimentation, Backup4All and Uranium and Syncback having specific concerns mentioned above.  The VSS copying issue is major, since you do not want to close programs or copying files to get the save.  (This was the Uranium free problem.)

So experiments continue.  Share your method of using a good normal Windows backup program, with sets, with some flexibility, directly to cloud.


@Steven Avery - just a quick hello! Glad to see you back! Yay! :)

Steven Avery:
Greetings !

I just read up on the mapping situation.

The goal is sensible, have various places in the cloud available to be accessed by standard Windows utilities by mapping to a drive.  This is not just storage places, but your internet development or your whatever.  Often, there are alternative access modes (e.g. FTP programs) so none of this is mandatory , but the idea is sensible, if it can be implemented right.

Seems there are a number of ways to approach this.

1) Hand-mapping ... by batch file.
Or maybe you can just get it to stay (persistent, auto-reconnect, auto-connect  working fine)

2) The programs designed to help with mapping. Including the variations of FTP, SFTP, WebDav, etc.

3) The Cloud multi-point programs that have mapping, or some equivalent, pointing to other cloud services. An equivalent though would be proprietary, maybe helpful for cloud storage.

4) Other considerations


Here is what I found on (2) although any info should be checked.

WebDrive - South River Tech .. the genre leader, $ - claim-> "WebDrive is the only FTP Client that supports additional protocols such as WebDAV, SFTP and Amazon S3 and maps a drive letter to each of these servers" - license seems to be per seat, an uggie

ExpanDrive - was SFTPDrive

netdrive - old Novell program, abandonware, Novell de facto sanctions (however their competitors claim license concerns)

netdrive - from, apparently Korean, Solution Box, Marcodata,  - reputation only fair

FTPDrive - Killprog - maybe limited to FTP, but has one big advantage, gives multiple sites the same Drive #. Security is handled by OpenSSL open source utility.

DirectNetDrive - some complaints, little visibility

AnyClient -  JScape (used to be reddrive) .. probably does not actually map, but still interesting


A comment from Olsex, one of the storage unit companies, that sheds some light on the problem:

Most people don't like to change the way the access data just because they have changed how the data is stored. Online Storage Services, knowing, this have tried to create the feel of a hard drive for remote storage using software that maps a Webdav or FTP server to a drive letter. This approach has proved slow and problematic. Windows already has a robust network drive mapping system built in but due to many long since fixed security problems most Internet Services Providers block the ports needed to map a drive using windows across the Internet. We have developed a solution to the problem and now offer our users a real network drive mapped via an encrypted vpn tunnel directly to your storage share .... We have been testing several different methods of mapping network drives for many years. Direct mapping via an SSH Tunnel is the best way of mapping online data storage. This however is just one way to access your storage here at OLSEX. You can still map a network drive using Netdrive, Directnetdrive, Webdrive or FTPDrive. We never limit our users ability to access the service in a way that works best for them.


On the products above, I am thinking of playing with that FTPDrive product first, as I like the idea of various cloud places being accessed with one drive letter. It is free but the homesite is one of those hard-to-read black pages.   Dunno if anybody else does that 10 sites to one drive letter thing.

ExpanDrive was on Bits.

Which points back to an earlier monologue :) .
Bits - ExpanDrive - mapping a drive to USB

At this point I would say that I might also try the ExpanDrive product too, and try to Bits the price.

Later I will try to give a quick review of the (3) group, some names I found interesting are are Cloudberry, Gladinet, Joukuu, Olsex, Otixo, SmeStorage, TeamDrive, ZeroPC.  Maybe some of these will map to their drive, and they act as traffic cop to other places .


The flip side of this is simply to work the other way.  See if the utility programs that are most important (e.g. Backup) are happy working in a secure FTP mode.

One other "gotya" to consider.  When do the utilities change the drive letter globally ? Let us say that FTPDrive is communicating the 10 places as the "F:" drive.  Is its current one of the ten global to all your Windows programs ? And as FTPDrive points to another one, then your Backup program will work with that one ?  And then, can you command line into the program to make the current pointer known. Or is it a bit of a fake-out.  Inquiring minds.


I want to add my points here...

First, regarding supporting the mapped drives in backup applications...

Many backup applications are running as a Windows service. So, they will run even the user logs out to the system and also they will start automatically with the system starts up. But, the Windows services runs in a separate logon session and the loged in Windows's users profile data (which is used for finding mapped drive details) are not available for the Windows service processes. Because of this reason, mapped drives are not directly supported by backup application, unless they are running in logged in user's logon session, i.e., running as Windows application.

However, some of the backup applications, such as Vembu StoreGrid supports the users to configure their own mapped network drives (need not to have the same mapped network drive in the system) to configure backup from/to it.

Regarding the backup directly to the cloud storage...

Now a days, many of the cloud storage provides utility to map/mount their storage as a local drive in their system. However, those drives acts differently than the physical disk drives. Some of the features are still not supported in those mounted cloud storage drives. For example, renaming a file/folder is not supported. So, if an application internally performs rename operation, then it will get error when accessing the files/folders in the mounted loud storage drives.

Instead, you can directly upload the data to the cloud storage using their APIs. For example, Vembu provides cloud storage based online backup solution which uses Amazon S3 storage to user data. It has unlimited local backup support. You can access the data anywhere in the globe, which is a virtue of the online backup solution.



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