Am I missing something in thinking that dedicated backup software is almost entirely worthless, especially when it comes to hard drives larger than 1TB?
I've tried several of these packages (Acronis, NovaStore, etc) and while they offer all sorts of bells and whistles the fact is few of these features can compensate for appallingly slow transfer rates of around 5-8MB/s. These mean that backing up a 2TB HDD can take 4 or 5 days. During that time the computer's performance invariably degrades and I'm usually forced to reboot or wait for a week as it takes longer and longer for the backup to complete. A total pain.
Using Teracopy I have to give up most of the bells and whistles and rely on doing everything manually but this copies data at 25MB/s so does the job in less than a day, verifies the data, doesn't convert the data into a proprietary filesystem and gives me error reports when something goes wrong. And it's free. There are a bunch of other similar utilities but I've only tried this one
Apart from a system state backup and backing up files that are being used which only is a problem on my "smallish" c: drive what is the point of backup software for anything else? Some users might say the key advantage of such software is the automation of backup tasks. But even a scheduled task is pointless if it takes 4 days because I might as well start it anytime. I'm much more likely to right click a directory I want to back up and copy this where I like using two or three clicks of the mouse. Teracopy will then copy all the new files and ask if I want to overwrite or make an additional copy of existing ones that have changed or have been copied earlier and give me a log to check at the end. It's effectively offering incremental backups. If I don't trust the copied files after a few months I can simply do a verification of the whole disk. I suspect I could even automate this using Task Manager. The main point is it gives me more control and is so much faster I'm more likely to actually do the backup.
So apart from backing up system files on drive C which any old freebie backup can manage what is the point of all this expensive, ultimately inferior backup software?
Sure, but getting the first full backup is the problem. I hardly ever manage to achieve it in one go because it simply takes too long. A basic file copying program like Teracopy will do a full 2TB copy in a quarter of the time (usually overnight) and can make the equivalent of incremental backups more easily and quickly.
Like I say the files are not proprietary so I don't need special software to read them and computer performance is not degraded. I simply don't see how most, if not all, backup software offers a better solution than this no-cost method. I've found nothing about this on the internet and wonder if I'm the only one who thinks this?
One other important aspect is that because I'm copying on the fly with Teracopy it doesn't matter if the drive letters have changed since the last backup. This is a hassle with backup software which has to be pointed to the first backup set if the drive letter has changed or that it backs up to the wrong disk. So for something that is supposedly automated I have to open the software, check the drives are ok, change the settings if they're wrong, reset it and basically give up control of my PC's resources versus Teracopy...where I simply right click the directory in the drive I want to back up, right click the directory I want to save it to and skip copying any files already in that directory. And it works without hardly noticing it's even doing anything.