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Windows Data Backups Software – That works!

By Dr. Dallas E. Hinton

 

As any experienced computer user knows, losing data is only a question of when I'll lose them.

This article discusses GRBackPro as a very satisfactory method of backing up and restoring data on Windows computers.

 

The question I prefer to ask is "How can I recover from losing data?"

Having good and reliable backups of your data is very critical to avoid data losses. It is estimated that 50% or more of all businesses suffering major data loss fail within 6 months of that loss. But also if you lose personal documents or your family photographs you may be in big trouble!

A recent Windows 10 update resulted in many users losing their entire Documents folder contents myself included. It took me less than 10 minutes to recover from this potential disaster by simply running a GRBackPro restore command on that folder. GrBackPro paid for itself right there!

Backup Requirements

There are a number of elements I need to consider when considering backing up my files:

  • My data must be secure. You probably wouldn't want your personal or financial records stored somewhere in cyberspace where only your simple password stands between you and the hacker or the company that is giving you a free storage space.

  • My backup program must be easy to use. Having a complex backup software will significantly impact on your daily work.

  • My backup program must be quick. You don't want to spend hours backing up data that hopefully you may never need to recover.

  • My backup program must restore easily. After a data loss, we want to recover as soon as possible.

  • My backup program must be affordable. For many this is the first criteria considered, although in my opinion it should be the last.

  • My backup program must be well supported. In case of problems I wish to have a quick support on solving them!

We need to distinguish between backing up data and backing up the entire computer. A small computer (maybe a laptop) with a small drive can be completely backed up: data, programs and al. In this case after a restore the computer will be very close to a working machine again, although this is really a job for drive imaging software. With a more complex computer it's usually faster to reinstall the operating system and programs and then restore only the data. On a server-based network, users should be discouraged from having any local data. This approach makes it simple to just "drop in" a new computer at any desk whether as an upgrade, a replacement, or just a loan during repairs.

The following discussion applies to either a stand-alone computer or to a server-based network excluding the process of backing up the local workstation.

Windows Data Backup Solutions

The safer backup system would have duplicate copies of every file and program immediately accessible whenever data is lost. On a domain-based network it is possible to achieve this protection by using Volume Shadowing and version tracking. For some kind of works it is also desireable to have an history of your data so that you can go backup to a past point in time.

The simplest solution seems to be the usage of an online storage site such as BackBlaze, Carbonite, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. There are many such sites, some free and some not, but they all suffer from the same problems: lack of speed and (potentially) lack of security. All online sites are inherently slow to access because the user's upload speed is usually quite slow compared to the download speed. In addition, it's seldom possible to be 100% sure that the online site data is kept completely secure.

A more practical solution is to use another hard drive, either fixed or external (USB). In this case speed and security are not an issue. You need to cinsider however mechanical damages: the ones for which you are considering the backup in first instance. Optical media (CD, DVD,Blueray) are again mechanical that could be less vulnerable to damage but there are problems writing to optical media and they don't hold much data.

For those that have a local area network backing up to another computer is equivalent to have a second hard drive. Mechanical failure or physical loss are again here.

The solution that I fear is used by the majority of users is: Do Nothing. This isn't a solution and be sure that it will give you some pain in the future.

Windows Data Backup Software

There are many programs which could solve your backup needs. I've tried many of them, and have settled on GRBackPro server backup software as the software which does what I want. Part of the choice is cost, of course, but it's important to consider whether it's possible to get assistance with the program if it becomes necessary. One of the reasons I recommend GRSoftware is that they have been very responsive over the years. The new version 9.x also support AES strong encryption and allows me to store my data safely on the cloud. Many data backup software uses a proprietary method of data storage. With Windows Backup, for example, not only is the method proprietary but data backed up under one version of the software often cannot be restored by another version, even a newer one! GRBackPro uses the standard, familiar ZIP file format, which if necessary can be restored directly from Windows. If you have a favourite program, by all means use it's anything better than nothing. If you're hunting for something to use, I suggest you take a look at GRBackPro or the Windows Server edition GRBackPro for Windows Server.

Tags: backup software, data backup software, Windows data backup software, Windows Server data backup software

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