Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Snappy, effective backups

How many times have you experienced the morbid panic that only lost data can bring on? I have on a few occasions -- Word documents unexpectedly giving up and crashing, Windows randomly restarting, or just mistakenly deleting a document that was about to be submitted. All these horror stories can be averted if data is protected by a good backup policy. But then, hindsight being 20/20 vision, it's only until after the havoc has been wreaked that we know what should have been done. And by then, the data is lost. Forever.

SyncBack I've been using this neat little utility that's easily one of biggest blessings for my data -- a nifty little freeware application that automatically creates a backup of the files I specify, even while I'm working on them. It's called SyncBack Freeware. The beauty of this tool lies in its elegance -- it silently creates a backup, or synchronizes the contents of a folder you specify. The target for your backup can be an external drive, a network folder, or even an FTP server location. You can completely automate this backup by specifying the backup frequency (I'm paranoid -- mine is set to run every 5 minutes). The application also enables you to specify the exact types of files to include/exclude, along with what to do in case duplicates exist. Click on the above screenshot for a larger view. While the free version is slightly feature-restricted (it cannot copy open e-mail PST files, for example), it has plenty of features to satisfy most personal data backup requirements.

This granular level of control delivers a surprisingly powerful set of backup capabilities in a small, free and lucid package. So the next time you experience a data cataclysm, count on your up-to-date backup to bail you out -- elegantly and effectively.


Stepterix said...

Congratualtions. This post is included in this month's Carnival of Computer Help and Advice: http://bloodycomputer.blogspot.com/2009/03/15th-carnival-of-computer-help-and.html

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