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Time for another MakeUseOf Poll, and this time we want to know how do you backup important files and folders on your computer.

Are you using default Windows Backup Utility? Maybe some other desktop backup program The Best Free Backup Software for your PC The Best Free Backup Software for your PC Read More to automatically backup selected files and folders to external hardrive or USB thumbdrive? Or do you prefer to have a fresh copy of important folders online? Whatever it is, share it with us below.

Please Vote!

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Let us know how you backup your data. Are you using something different from the above? What makes it better? Share it with us below… Thanks in advance.


  1. Richard
    September 29, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I use Cobian Backup 9 (freeware). I like the "Special" feature, which allow you to include/exclude specific files from any folder. I also like the "Events" feature, which can execute various "Before backup" events, like closing open programs that be running and "After backup" events, like shutting down the PC when backup is complete.

  2. Alisha
    September 27, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I'm surprised Norton Ghost isn't on this list. I have tried a lot of others, but Ghost seemed to do the best job and was easier to schedule backups and stay out of my way without slowing down the system.

  3. Lethann
    September 27, 2008 at 12:15 am

    While I mostly use my external harddrive, I just had it critically fail due to physical defects on the drive, so fare warning to anyone who does the same exclusively. However, I do make use of Dropbox for somethings, and after this I might start doing a bit more especially with some of my more critical files.

  4. Aibek
    September 25, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I oticed that a few people mentioned Cobian Backup as their backup software of choice. My bad for not mentioning that popular backup tool. In case anyone interested here is the link to its website

  5. kc0eks
    September 25, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Jungledisk is my savior when it comes to this. Synctoy works well for local stuff

  6. Simon Mills
    September 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    i use both mozy and drop box

  7. Steven Jones
    September 25, 2008 at 7:31 am

    I've created my own scheduled backup process via a batch file which makes use of 7zip and PAR archives to create DVD sized backup files and a set of PAR records incase of future dataloss from any of the individual archives.

  8. Crazy
    September 25, 2008 at 2:50 am

    I'm amazed I haven't seen NomaDesk anywhere yet.
    It's a client app that allows you to synchronize files between multiiple computers. All data is stored on a server. They don't have any size, storage or bandwidth limit and to top it off, because it's still beta it's free!(but more then stable enough, especially with the new release).

    A couple of days ago the free tail got extended indefinatly.

    Although the main target for NomaDesk is ppl that work in team and travel around allot and need to share the data + off line availability it can be used for so much more.
    Being it you need to 'back up' your data, sync your data between your own computers or work in a team. NomaDesk is fit for all of those :)

    The Dashboard, that is the client application responsible for keeping the files in sync between your local pc and the server, lets you manage everything very easily :)
    It mounts a windows drive in your explorer and lets you use it just like it was another partition on your hard drive.

    Anyway, just check it out on
    Might be just what you're looking for :), I haven't even scrashed the surface of the features nomadesk can offer, so definatly worth a look :)

  9. Filip
    September 25, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Hi Aibek. Full disclosure here: I work for, which offers small businesses (or nomadic professionals, as we like to call ourselves) an innovative way to share documents and work together on a "virtual fileserver." I read your post on online backup with great interest, and just wanted to add NomaDesk to the discussion - although we are much more than a backup solution.
    Actually, NomaDesk comes with a feature set specifically geared toward the digital nomad, such as local encryption and "remote shredding" with TheftGuard. Furthermore we impose no limits on storage and bandwidth. I would appreciate your review.


  10. -=Ben=-
    September 24, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    I am with @Richard:
    I use Retrospect since 2004
    No problems, only awesome compression!

  11. Janet Barclay
    September 24, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    I use Norton 360, not necessarily because I love it, but I bought it for the security features, and there's no way to disable the backup function without it warning you that you need to do a backup - and if you just ignore it, you won't see any other warnings.

  12. Dave Drager
    September 24, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I have a three step process:

    1. Daily backups - I use SyncBack SE to automatically backup my photos and documents nightly to a server in a datacenter.

    2. Monthly - I have a portable harddrive that I plug in roughly monthly to backup everything onto. My goal is to eventually store this in a safety deposit box.

    3. Yearly - Burn to CD. I do this because of the off chance there is some crazy war with EMPs that wipe out all magnetic media on earth. Yeah, I'm a little crazy.

    • Aibek
      September 25, 2008 at 5:28 pm

      :-) well if someone wipes out all magnetic media on earth there won;t be much to browse.

  13. Chris
    September 24, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I use Jungledisk - $20 then just Amazon S3 fees for storage - very cheap, reliable and accessible anywhere if needed. I haven't had any speed problems with S3 in the 6 months I've been using it.

  14. Jon
    September 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I use SpiderOak, and it's awesome. Use it to back up 3 computers all under the same account. It's $10 a month for 100GBs, once you get to the 100GB mark you can pay another $10 and get another 100GB.

    Nice thing about it is it has versioning built in, share your files you back up with people if you choose to, completely encrypted back ups, and easy recovery ... VERY easy.

    I tried going the S3 route but it's too slow and end up being too expensive.

    I do keep a local weekly backup but my SpiderOak is my main backup.

  15. Kevin Reynolds
    September 24, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Make Use Of turned me on to Comodo backup recently and it works great. Thanks guys!

    • Aibek
      September 25, 2008 at 5:26 pm

      ;-) Welcome

  16. curts
    September 24, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Still using BackupMyPC 6.0 for a full backup (ripped music excluded) every weekend of the WinXP box that currently doubles as my home server. I use Clonzilla to periodically image my WinXP gaming rig and System Restore's PartImage to image my Linux system partitions. I use 'rsync' to mirror the music collection on the home server to the Linux box. Still need to implement a backup solution other than 'tar' for my personal files that are local to the Linux box (i.e. not on the home server).

  17. Jack Wallace
    September 24, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I use a shareware program called Second Copy. ( It is very easy to use and reliable. I synchronize my desktop with laptop, and also backup data files to an external USB drive using Second Copy. It has never missed a beat :)


  18. phil
    September 24, 2008 at 8:18 am

    For the PC, I use the ASR backup for the C drive, SyncToy2 to back up documents (mostly photos) to two different network storage servers, and manual backups for other stuff. On the Mac, I back up the main drive to external storage using SuperDuper, but I'll be switching to Time Machine soon.

  19. Mark O'Neill
    September 24, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I backup pictures, small videoclips, small unimportant documents, e-books, web bookmarks, small audio files and so on to various Gmail accounts using "Backup to Email". The rest gets burnt to DVD disks and stored in metal boxes. I am not a big believer in keeping a lot of stuff on my actual hard drive.

    • Tina
      September 24, 2008 at 3:56 pm

      I find hard drives easier and faster to maintain than CDs or DVDs. Also depending on what quality your discs are, they may not even last longer than the average hard drive (~5 years). That's why I personally prefer to backup to hard drives.

  20. JT
    September 24, 2008 at 7:36 am

    I use ViceVersa to backup to an external hard drive. Works fast, has some good options.

  21. Alex
    September 24, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Microsoft SyncToy here, just to an external USB HDD.

  22. Vic Peters
    September 24, 2008 at 6:53 am

    I use Second Copy 7 from Centered Systems.

  23. Nick Robo
    September 24, 2008 at 6:31 am


  24. Richard
    September 24, 2008 at 4:51 am

    I've used Retrospect for several years.

  25. Rig
    September 24, 2008 at 4:26 am

    I use Sugarsync for my backups.

  26. ajohal
    September 24, 2008 at 3:20 am

    Can't believe comodo backup is only used by 4%. I have tried Genie Backup Manager, back2zip, Comparator Pro, DmailerBackup, Second copy 7, SyncBack, memeo backup and default Windows Backup Utility, and I found Comodo backup did exactly what I wanted, i.e.
    1) Backups files into full path to my USB device eg C:\Docs, will be E:\Docs on my USB drive
    2) Free
    3) Runs as a service,
    4) Scheduler
    5) Option to compress backups into zip files

    If I had to pay for one I would definitely buy Genie Backup Manager, home, that was just as good as Comodo - but Comodo's free , no brainer choice really

  27. JohnB
    September 24, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Either Cobian Back-Up or GoodSync depending on what I'm backing up and the destination of the back-up.
    Both are excellent programs - all I need.

    • Tina
      September 24, 2008 at 3:52 pm

      I'm also using Cobian Backup.

  28. daveytay
    September 24, 2008 at 2:23 am

    MS Synctoy Beta 2.0 to my USB external drive, scheduled daily (using the -R switch I think) Only changes get copied, open files don't though so I still use ghost on occasion.

  29. Michiel
    September 24, 2008 at 1:28 am

    I use Windows Home Server

  30. Ross McKillop
    September 24, 2008 at 1:15 am

    I voted Mozy, because I use it to backup all of my website files, but I also use Time Machine to backup to an external HD.

  31. Jack
    September 24, 2008 at 1:09 am

    I use for larger, more permanent backup copies; 50 gigs of free space, desktop client, and Dropbox for short-term sync/storage of everyday stuff. Being paranoid, I also backup "priceless" data to DVD/RW.

    • Aibek
      September 25, 2008 at 5:22 pm

      I head lots of complaints about ADrive recently.How did it work for you? Any issues?

  32. Mackenzie Morgan
    September 24, 2008 at 12:43 am

    rsync -av /home /media/backup

  33. makeuseofReader
    September 24, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Allway Sync ( and Amazon S3. Allway Sync will determine which files have changed and upload the files to s3.

  34. moshe pack
    September 24, 2008 at 12:18 am

    I use Titan Backup. Nice, clean interface, no problems.

  35. Keith
    September 24, 2008 at 12:14 am

    I use drop box and I back up everything to one or two external hard drives, depends on how important the information is or if its for a client.

  36. Michael Wales
    September 23, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I use Microsoft's SyncToy to sync between a folder on my desktop and my thumb drive - works fabulously.

    • Aibek
      September 25, 2008 at 5:18 pm

      Oh man how did I forget that one :-), thanks for heads up

  37. Martin
    September 23, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    I wrote my ownscript that syncs my data to Amazon S3 servers. Cheap. No problems wih storage space. Reliable

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