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Backing Up My PC - Looking for good software

Barrymer

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I have been using EaseUs Todo Backup software to back up my PC running Win 7 64 bit to an external HD. I have some issues with it and want to switch to switch to something else. The issues are:
  • A 13 hour time difference with China.
  • No phone contact is possible.
  • Their English is not always clear.
  • I recently wanted to check an image and got an error message. So i don't have confidence in my backups.
  • The program interface is not as straight forward as I would like.
So I'm looking for different back-up software that is:
  • U.S. based.
  • Is clear, easy to use and has a good interface.
  • Has a high degree of reliability.
  • Has excellent phone support that is readily available.
  • Fast back-up speed.
  • Can create a recovery USB.
  • It would be nice if it had some extras like being able to purge to save disc space.
I was looking at Macrium Reflect and Genie Timeline Home, but I am open to any system that meets my needs. I haven't been able to get information on phone support and I feel this is important so I can ask questions and make sure my backups will be there if and when I need them.

Thanks for your assistance.
 

softwaremaniac

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Hi!

Macrium and Acronis are your best bets.
 

Tekno Venus

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Ah, a topic I think I'm relatively well qualified to answer :p

I've spent far, far too many hours looking at backup software and think I've tried almost everything on the market by now. It's taken me a long time to find something I actually like and meets my needs - most software I've tried was good, but missing something crucial for me.

On my main machines, I run Bvckup2: Bvckup 2 | Simple fast backup. This is a very lightweight and fast piece of software designed for one task - copying your data as quickly and reliably as possible. It's designed to backup files in real-time as soon as they are modified. It doesn't use any propriety file formats or recovery tools as it just copies the files across and updates them when needed. It doesn't support versioning, although does have basic archive support for deleted files. It might not meet all your needs, but it's a super polished, high-quality piece of software. This works well for me, as I back up onto a server which then does the snapshots and versioning internally. The server then backs itself up weekly to an external HDD using Veeam Endpoint Backup Free (see below!). Support is provided by email, but the software is written by only a handful of developers at most and they're based in Switzerland with excellent English - I've spoken with them before and they're super helpful and know the software inside out.

On other machines, I run Veeam Endpoint Backup Free: Free Windows Backup for Endpoints, Servers, Desktops - Veeam Agent for Windows. This is the free variant of Veeam's excellent server backup software that is probably one of the most popular enterprise backup programs around (although compared to some enterprise backup software it's not hard to be better. Symantec BackupExec I'm looking at you......), so Veeam has plenty of experience. Although it's free, it's the same enterprise grade engine under the hood. This will probably be a better fit for you as it meets most of you're requirements in your original post. It has built in compression and deduplication features to reduce backup space, and I've been running it for 2 years now and have had no issues. Email notifications when the backups finish are useful too. It supports incremental/differential backups as you want, and can make a recovery USB.

There is a paid version of Veeam Endpoint which offers 365x24x7 phone support, but it's a minimum order quantity of 5, and at ~$40/year/computer isn't cheap. But the free version contains all the same features and support is offered on a "best case" scenario, and the Veeam team will try their best to fix any issues you have, but they obviously can't guarantee response times etc.

Usually free product comes without support at all. We like to do more, even for a free product. Here at Veeam we value customer feedback and moreover it’s one of the main motivation factors to keep making best backup solutions.


Let’s make sure we are on the same page from the very beginning: free product support is provided on best effort basis, which means there is no SLA on responses like with regular support for our paid products. This does not mean your submissions will go nowhere: every single case is still carefully reviewed by our Support, Quality Assurance and Product Management.

If you need help, all the options available to you are conveniently listed in the Support tab of Veeam Endpoint Backup’s Control Panel:

....

With Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE we introduced a new way of providing support for a free product: just click the Technical support button and fill the case directly from the Endpoint’s user interface. Give us your email address and a short description the problem and hit Submit Case - and our support team will receive a case with the required debug logs attached.

...

Besides, always available to you are our extensive Online Help, and an extremely active Community Forum with the Product Management team and other users, ready to help you in the time of need!
Technical Support for Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE


--

As for other software, well, I haven't found anything else that I like....

  • Macrium is fine for doing whole disk images, but I found their automated backups lacking.
  • Acronis is expensive for what it offers, and I used it at a job a few years ago and it wasn't amazing.
  • I had similar issues with EaseUS as you describe and didn't trust its reliability.
  • I tried Genie Timeline Home quite a few years ago so can't comment on newer versions but I didn't like its UI and found it missing some features
  • Cobian Backup used to be great, but it's old now and the developer sold the code to someone else who has abandoned it which is a shame
  • The built in File History and backup tools in Windows suck. They're awful, and I've had many issues getting backups to even run in the first place

If you're looking to backup to the cloud, then Duplicati is a good choice, although it's technically still in beta: Duplicati
 
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Barrymer

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Thank you for your response. After a lot of checking, I'm going to go with your recommendation to use Acronis. The program seems clear and logical and I know they are highly rated. Their support people are in India and I had some issues dealing with them initially, but their persistence in following up with me was impressive. Eventually a phone call from a very well spoken and knowledgeable Indian guy answered all my questions. I feel confident that once I sign up they will handle my questions and issues in the same manner. Actually, I anticipate I will only need their help one or two times. Initially, when I set up my backup strategy and in the event my computer drive fails. The thing is with backup software, when you need help, you REALLY need help!

By the way, my MS updates have been working flawlessly since you fixed them. You represent Sysnative well and I will be forever grateful to you and the organization.
Thank you and all best wishes!
 

JimTrek

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I'll soon be wanting to clone my 1TB HDD to (probably/£££) a smaller size SSD, I want to make use of Intel Rapid Storage Technolgy & use the SSD to cache my HDD from the M.2 slot on my MB. But I'm confused.com❓ as to whether my chipset (Intel Core i3 7100U Kaby Lake) supports it? (a whole other matter!) I have a HP Pavilion x360 15-br003na model!
So because I'm unsure on the cache capabilities front, I'll probably just save myself extra headache & straight swap out the HDD for the SSD, and have AOMEI Backupper Professional clone it over!
What are your thaughts on AOMEI Backupper Professional software for cloning HDD to SSD?, I haven't used the Cloning feature before & wondered if maybe Macrium Reflect maybe better for the job, as everywhere I read people seem to reccomend it!? 😕🙄
Thanks.
 
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Tekno Venus

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I'll soon be wanting to clone my 1TB HDD to (probably/£££) a smaller size SSD, I want to make use of Intel Rapid Storage Technolgy & use the SSD to cache my HDD from the M.2 slot on my MB. But I'm confused.com❓ as to whether my chipset (Intel Core i3 7100U Kaby Lake) supports it? (a whole other matter!) I have a HP Pavilion x360 15-br003na model!
So because I'm unsure on the cache capabilities front, I'll probably just save myself extra headache & straight swap out the HDD for the SSD, and have AOMEI Backupper Professional clone it over!
What are your thaughts on AOMEI Backupper Professional software for cloning HDD to SSD?, I haven't used the Cloning feature before & wondered if maybe Macrium Reflect maybe better for the job, as everywhere I read people seem to reccomend it!? 😕🙄
Thanks.
I've never used the clone feature in AOMEI, so can't comment on it.

Macrium is probably your best bet for cloning - I've used it before and it's a very popular option with lots of information online if you get stuck.

If Macrium has issues, then I'd recommend Clonezilla (Clonezilla - About). It's ugly, but it's a very popular tool for cloning machines in the enterprise space.
 

JimTrek

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I've never used the clone feature in AOMEI, so can't comment on it.

Macrium is probably your best bet for cloning - I've used it before and it's a very popular option with lots of information online if you get stuck.

If Macrium has issues, then I'd recommend Clonezilla (Clonezilla - About). It's ugly, but it's a very popular tool for cloning machines in the enterprise space.
Thanks Tekno Venus for your fast reply. Would the free version do the job? as I'll probably only use the Clone feature just the one time! I'm used to my AOMEI Backupper Professional for doing System backups & the like (works perfect for me!).
 

Tekno Venus

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Thanks Tekno Venus for your fast reply. Would the free version do the job? as I'll probably only use the Clone feature just the one time! I'm used to my AOMEI Backupper Professional for doing System backups & the like (works perfect for me!).
Yup, the free version of Macrium will work just fine for basic cloning.

Your CPU technically supports Intel SRT for SSD caching. However, looking at the HP spec sheet for your laptop, your model (br003) only supports SATA M.2 SSDs. There are 2 types of M.2 SSD - SATA or NVME. NVME drives are also in the M.2 form-factor but use a different technology for transferring data so won't work if the M.2 slot only supports SATA.

43979

Therefore you will need to make sure you buy a SATA based M.2 SSD, not an NVME one. Since you're also UK based, I'd recommend buying from Scan: 120GB to 260GB M.2 SATA SSDs - 120GB 128GB 240GB 250GB 256GB M.2 SATA AHCI SSD/Solid State Drive | SCAN UK
 

JimTrek

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Yup, the free version of Macrium will work just fine for basic cloning.

Your CPU technically supports Intel SRT for SSD caching. However, looking at the HP spec sheet for your laptop, your model (br003) only supports SATA M.2 SSDs. There are 2 types of M.2 SSD - SATA or NVME. NVME drives are also in the M.2 form-factor but use a different technology for transferring data so won't work if the M.2 slot only supports SATA.

View attachment 43979

Therefore you will need to make sure you buy a SATA based M.2 SSD, not an NVME one. Since you're also UK based, I'd recommend buying from Scan: 120GB to 260GB M.2 SATA SSDs - 120GB 128GB 240GB 250GB 256GB M.2 SATA AHCI SSD/Solid State Drive | SCAN UK
So if (forgive my noobness!) I can only use M.2 SATA, which I more or less thaught was the case, do you reckon I should still try & go down the RST caching route, & leave HDD in laptop just for storage purposes, or not bother with the hastle (my M.2 slot is located on the underside of MB! :mad:) & just swap out for SSD, & get case for HDD to use as portable storage!? Was thinking of buying a "Samsung SSD 860 EVO 2.5 250GB" for the job.
 
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Tekno Venus

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Yes, you can only use a SATA M.2 SSD, not an NVME M.2 SSD.

My personal recommendation would be to install the 250GB SSD in the M.2 slot and use it as your main boot drive, and leave the 1TB SSD in the HDD slot as additional mass storage for large files such as videos, photos and music. That way you can install your OS programs on the main SSD but still have room for large files without needing to carry around another drive.

For an SSD of that size, caching is not a very good option at all as it will only be able to use, at most, 30-60GB for the cache, leaving the rest of the drive wasted.
 

JimTrek

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Yes, you can only use a SATA M.2 SSD, not an NVME M.2 SSD.

My personal recommendation would be to install the 250GB SSD in the M.2 slot and use it as your main boot drive, and leave the 1TB SSD in the HDD slot as additional mass storage for large files such as videos, photos and music. That way you can install your OS programs on the main SSD but still have room for large files without needing to carry around another drive.

For an SSD of that size, caching is not a very good option at all as it will only be able to use, at most, 30-60GB for the cache, leaving the rest of the drive wasted.
I thaught as much but wasn't 100% sure (too much different info out there!), I even considered Intel Optane Memory 64gb, but then realised my MB CPU wasn't capable.
Would I have to re-install Windows (OEM) on the M.2 SSD to have it as the Boot/OS?, or could I just clone my HDD to the SSD after install & format, then just point all my storage folders to HDD after format!?
Thanks.
 
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Tekno Venus

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You can clone your HDD to the SSD, then once you're booted onto the SSD, format the HDD and move the files to the HDD and redirect the Documents/Photos/Videos/etc. folders to the HDD. How to move Windows 10 default user folders to another drive

You will need to reduce the amount of data on your current drive to below the size of the SSD before you can clone it (as you obviously can't clone more than 250GB of data to a 250GB SSD)

Instructions on cloning in Macrium: Cloning a disk - KnowledgeBase - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase
 

JimTrek

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You can clone your HDD to the SSD, then once you're booted onto the SSD, format the HDD and move the files to the HDD and redirect the Documents/Photos/Videos/etc. folders to the HDD. How to move Windows 10 default user folders to another drive

You will need to reduce the amount of data on your current drive to below the size of the SSD before you can clone it (as you obviously can't clone more than 250GB of data to a 250GB SSD)

Instructions on cloning in Macrium: Cloning a disk - KnowledgeBase - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase
Looks like this is the method I'll use, I required proper got brain ache 🤢 trying to figure out how I was going go about utilising an SSD in my system!
You've been a massive help Tekno Venus, TOP MAN/WOMAN!...(y)
Thanks so much.
 
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