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Best Free Backup Software

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Cloning the things to external drive


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It depends on what you need it for. Are you planning on doing image backups? Do you want to perform full system restores from your backup? Or maybe you just need being able to backup your documents and nothing else?

Depending on your answers to those questions, here are my suggestions:

Document backup

Windows built-in Backup solution works quite well and it's painless to set up. Just select the folders you want to backup and the drive you want to backup from and it will perform the backup whenever that drive is detected. It only supports network drives and external drives, though, so no backups to optical disks or internal hard drives.

Alternatively, you could have a look at Cobian Backup. It's free (but not open source) and supports full, incremental and differential backups. It also supports compression and encryption. The downside is that this one is relatively user-unfriendly and it's not being updated any longer. The developer sold the code to a computer technician in the US who's working on the next version, but he may choose to charge a price for it.


Image backup

Clonezilla is very powerful, but it needs you to boot your computer from Clonezilla's DVD or USB stick, which may lead you to the so called "I'll do it another time syndrome". I think you can configure your network infrastructure to boot Clonezilla from PXE, but I have no idea how it's done.


System backup and restore

AOMEI Backupper Standard is free and allows you to do a full system backup and restore it at a later time using a Windows PE recovery drive you can burn directly from the program. Unfortunately, it's made by a Chinese developer and it has an awful English localization.

EaseUS ToDo Backup Free is a valid alternative to AOMEI Backupper and has a better English localization. If you intend to go this route, I'd suggest you use this program.

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