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I have a business folder for my inspection work on my computer. In that folder is a number of sub folders. Throughout the days or weeks, things get added to the various sub folders. Now and then I want to back everything up. Backing up the entire thing over and over again seems unreasonably time consuming (for the computer at least). Its not always easy to remember all the different new items that were stored in the folders.

Is there a free utility I can download from somewhere that will streamline the process? Maybe something that will search for any new additions since the last backup and only spend time transferring the needed items. I usually use a flash drive to transfer stuff from a laptop to a desktop which also has other external drives for redundancy backup.

I know there has got to be a few good utilities out there. Rather than trial and error and waste time, I figured some of you might have some experience to say what has worked well for you.

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I have a business folder for my inspection work on my computer. In that folder is a number of sub folders. Throughout the days or weeks, things get added to the various sub folders. Now and then I want to back everything up. Backing up the entire thing over and over again seems unreasonably time consuming (for the computer at least). Its not always easy to remember all the different new items that were stored in the folders.

Is there a free utility I can download from somewhere that will streamline the process? Maybe something that will search for any new additions since the last backup and only spend time transferring the needed items. I usually use a flash drive to transfer stuff from a laptop to a desktop which also has other external drives for redundancy backup.

I know there has got to be a few good utilities out there. Rather than trial and error and waste time, I figured some of you might have some experience to say what has worked well for you.

You might want to check out the online backup sites. They do exactly what you describe, but they backup to secure servers online. Check out Carbonite & Mozy. They're not free, but they're pretty cheap at about $100 per year.

Also check out the "briefcase" feature of Windows. It will "sync" the files in a particular folder between two or more computers. So you could connect one computer to another and it will update each file on each machine to the most current version. It's already built into your operating system.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Are you running MS Windows? MS has a free back-up utility that will perform full, incremental and differential back-up's.

Assuming that you don't already see it in All Programs>Accessories>System Tools folder you can either install it from your windows install CD, or go to their website and find it there.

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What are you backing up to? A Maxtor 320 gb mini HD is about $89 and it comes with Retrospect Express, (a decent backup utility), already on it.

I got that, and I can't for the life of me get it to automatically back-up every day. I've tried, really. I even went so low as to read the directions. I'm a maroon. I have to manually back-up as often as I think about it...at least once a month minimum, but sure wish it would do it automatically every day, just in case the shtf.

Probably would take someone to the range and let them blow off a couple hundred rounds of what's now getting to be quite pricy .45 ACP and some .380 auto if they would stop by sometime and show me how it works...

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Strange.....you set the parameters (simple), turn back up on, and it backs up everyday automatically.

I do mine manually a couple times a day. Just hit the button on the hard drive, go have a cup of coffee, come back, done.

Here's an idea.....how 'bout we shoot at old hard drives?

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Norton 360 does a dandy job of backup, as well as virus detection, general computer housekeeping, etc. It's a Symantec product.

That said, I think I'm about to sign up with Carbonite and/or Mozy.

WJ

Ya know, I got McAfee Security Suite that has backup utilities. I guess I should be considering that option too.

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I just signed up for Mozy, paid less than $100 for annual subscription with 10G storage. I have always used cd's, floppies, or just a secondary computer but finally signed up for the automatic service.

It is easy to set-up and works continuously in the back ground. It took about 3 days to transfer 9G of reports and photos but they say it will be much quicker as it only backs up the stuff that has changed from now on.

Best part is it is off-site encrypted storage.

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Is this one that either of you had in mind?

sync toy

No. I believe that Synctoy is for syncing up to a backup device. It might not sync in both directions -- though I really don't know. I've never used it.

I was talking about the Briefcase feature on XP. It syncs files between computers. Check it out here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307885

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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We use Iomega Automatic Backup Pro. Our data is saved onto 90 Gig removable hard drives that we rotate out of the office every friday. I take it one week, my partner takes it the next week so there are always three copies of files with redundant files no more than a week old.

THe software allows you to select when you back-up, how many copies, what files to exclude, what directories to include, how to sort, etc. If you need to restore a file, it is also simple. I would recommend this system.

The system with the software and four 90 gig removable drives was about $400 when we bought it.

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I bought a seagate FreeAgent Desk to back up to. It appeared to work great. It appeared to have my back up files on it. Then my computer went screwy, I restored it assuming everything was backed up, and when I went to restore the files from the FreeAgent it showed that zilch was stored on it.

I had all my critcal inspection files backed up on a separated thumb drive.

I am considering online backup, because there is still the risk of an in house back up device failing, burning up or getting stolen, it happens.

Chris, Oregon

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I am considering online backup, because there is still the risk of an in house back up device failing, burning up or getting stolen, it happens.

To say nothing of the device becoming obsolete.

* I've recently found some backed up files on 5-1/4" floppy disks. With luck, I'll never have to get at them.

* I've got a stack of old Syquest cartridges from the early '90s. I have no idea what's on them and I'll probably never find out.

* A few months ago, my wife discovered that she needed some files from an old 100mb zip cartridge. When I dusted off the zip drive, it no longer worked (had to buy one off of e-bay just to get to those files).

* If I ever need to get to the files that are in the suitcase full of 3-1/2" floppy disks I'll probably have to do the same thing.

* The Maxtor on my desk started making very ominous bad-bearing-like sounds recently.

* Our latest backup strategy, a NAS (network attached storage) unit that serves all 10 computers on our network and that writes to two drives simultaneously is great. Except that, every time I try to get to my data, the sucker doesn't recognize my password and won't let me in.

* Last month, I found a thumb drive in the bottom of the washing machine tub.

I'm thinking that online storage is the answer. At least until Skynet takes over . . .

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Online storage is a very good answer. My current backup plan has 2 computers and 4 USB hard drives. If it's all online, you can stop thinking about it.

Although, I love my little Maxtors.

I've got a stack of 44mb Syquests from the early 90's. Lord only knows what's on them.

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