An incomplete list of local backup software for Windows workstations.
MY SEARCH CRITERIA
For me, Back In Time (Linux only) is a model of how to do local backup right. Back In Time uses rsync to save periodic snapshots of a single workstation to a local filesystem such as an external USB device. So when I looked for local backup solutions for Windows, I sought one that would:
- Fully automate periodic snapshots to a local filesystem without end user intervention
- Retain multiple snapshots going back in time
- Automatically discard the oldest data so that the storage medium is never overrun
- Be easy for a nontechnical end user to restore individual files without assistance
- Support the latest version of Windows yet run adequately on old, slow hardware
- Have a large, helpful support community
- Be open source (of course!)
My search was hampered by great
stupidity confusion on the web over local vs. online backup, backup vs. imaging, and single user vs. enterprise solutions. So to clarify, this list does not consider online backup (e.g. Mozy) or disk imaging (e.g. Acronis). Nor does it include networked solutions for multiple boxes; that calls for a Linux-based enterprise solution such as Bacula.
If online backup is a better fit for you, see my list of solutions for file synchronization, and in particular my pick, SpiderOak. There is considerable overlap between file synchronization and online backup solutions.
The following is not an exhaustive list of all that is available, but only what I’ve found so far.
Allway Sync: Proprietary. No-cost and paid versions. On my short list to look at further.
Cobian Backup: Proprietary. On my short list to look at further.
Genie Timeline: Proprietary. No-cost version does not automatically delete oldest files; paid versions do.
Karen’s Replicator: License unclear but source code available. No cost.
Oops Backup: Proprietary, $37.
Retrospect Express HD: Proprietary.
Windows Backup and Restore: Built in to Windows 7. Doesn’t meet my criteria, but should be adequate for some uses.