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How Do I Backup in Readable Format? | Auto Shadow Copy?

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October 27, 2012 4:46:11 PM

Ok my frustration in this area is rising seeing as how I suspect the answer is extremely simple, and my ignorance is the problem:

I run many backup solutions at the same time (CrashPlan copies my data to a DAS, Acronis copies backup images of my data with incrementals and OS to an NAS and DAS, A clone software clones/ghosts my OS to a DAS bootable, the NAS writes to a WAN server, and DropBox fills in a few backup holes.)

1. BUT, as I've come to realize after setting up all the complexity above, is that the simplest possible backup (taking a folder, dragging it over to an external USB and copying the data) is not automated for me - all the backup solutions I use convert the data to NON-READABLE formats, such that there's a software layer between me and the data.

2. I've realized that simply copying data to an external HDD is in some ways the best backup strategy in terms of speed and efficiency, as well as nigh instant recovery because the data is OS readable already on another machine.

3. I know there are command line functions like rsync, etc. that allow basic file copying, but I haven't found a mainstream (there are a few programs I've found that I don't trust) application that simply automates the 'drag this folder to external HDD for me on a schedule" functionality, perhaps (though I don't need this necessarily), with incremental delta support. I'm sure such a thing exists...?
a c 87 G Storage
October 27, 2012 4:54:28 PM

Use robocopy (it's a Microsoft command line tool). You can create scripts and then set the scripts to run as a scheduled task. It actually replicate the data, so you only copy over any file that has changed. There is a gui tool that helps to create scripts, and shows all the available switches.
October 27, 2012 5:08:45 PM

Is there a software application though that leverages this? I prefer not to use embedded Windows features (simply because I'm not familiar with them)...

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October 27, 2012 7:44:23 PM

This guy shares a similar fear as me - the extra software layer of backup programs between me and my data



Uses something called TeraCopy, I assumed he also uses 'scheduled tasks' in Windows...

--

It's "A" solution... but I'm still curious as to WHY all the aforementioned backup software I have (plus all the others I've tried) doesn't:

1. Have this simple "copy folders" function

and

2. Why isn't this the PREFERRED backup solution? It copies the exact data structures in universally readable format...

I'm confused why the backup software out there has all these specialized compression, proprietary formats, etc.

(this is for DATA - I understand that if you're backing up an OS... you need an image to restore the image using bootable media, etc. - but for data, the simply "copy the files elsewhere" strategy seems SO GOOD to me, I must be missing something viz. understanding this...)
October 29, 2012 3:16:39 PM

Ok I've found software that particularly leverages both Windows copy functions, AND has scheduling built in so I don't have to use Windows' task scheduler (which I don't like).

Turns out to be the apparently well known SyncBack Pro.

a c 380 G Storage
October 29, 2012 3:27:28 PM

I use Bvckup to keep synced copies of folders. It supports differentials, so it's pretty fast after the first copy. I've had no problems with it so far.

http://www.bvckup.com/
October 29, 2012 5:40:17 PM

Hmm - haven't paid for SyncBack Pro yet, but I'm already liking this Bvckup - definitely has a lot fewer features though (also free) - I'll look into it.

Thanks!
a c 380 G Storage
October 29, 2012 6:08:01 PM

Bvckup doesn't have many features, but for a simple file/folder sync, it works beautifuly. You can even have it do full syncs after every xxx number of differentials just to make sure none of the syncs get corrupted.
October 29, 2012 7:41:55 PM

Fair enough (I'm hoping this 'beta' release Free version is stable...).

Looks like the main thing it lacks (it has scheduling, e.g.) is versioning... but that's not really important to me anyway.

--
I'm still interested in researching why people are so interested in image-based backup, or any of the other backup solutions that fundamentally alter the data by changing its format (or putting it in a format container)...

I understand the need for all the backup modalities, but I'm still not sure why they're MORE popular, rather than less...
a c 380 G Storage
October 30, 2012 11:13:41 AM

Most backup software allows you to mount an image/backup as a drive so that you can access the individual files. An image also makes a good way to clone a drive.
!