Syncback Free: Back Up Your Files

by JL Beeken on 10-11-2006

Syncback FreeIf you need some help backing up your files, Syncback can give it to you.

The day I lost 10 years of detailed personal journals when both backup CDs cracked through the middle, one after the other in quick succession, I decided there’s no such thing as too many backups. I had spent months digitizing box loads of old paper and I thought the chance of losing both CD copies at the same time (without a catastrophic natural event out of my control) was about one in a trillion, but it happened anyway!

If you haven’t lost any computer data yet consider yourself one of the Chosen Few. But if I were you I wouldn’t push my luck.  Hard-drives die, software goes on the fritz, a surprise virus attack can bring all your best laid plans to a screeching halt …  If you think you can keep skateboarding through Computer Land without a mishap the odds are minuscule.

Take a quick mental scan of all the genealogical data on your hard-drive – your database, digitized documents, sources, photographs, videos, slideshows … breathtaking isn’t it, and how many hours did it take you to collect and organize all that?

If you’re already convinced that regular backups are a good idea (no, a great idea) the next question is how?

I keep all my genealogical data on a USB key and 2 external hard-drives. I send my ever-changing database files to myself at GMail, and upload them to online storage every few days. I even put large parts of my collection on CDs and mail them to people who live far away.  Sure, call me paranoid. (Remind me to send you a box of tissues when Your Day comes.)

The next question is how to get your data to external storage? Before I had an external hard-drive I used CD-RW’s for the changing files. It would take about 45 minutes per disc to overwrite the new files and delete any old stragglers. When I only had a few discs I would set aside half a day a week for this grueling task. At worst I could lose a week’s worth of work. That could be a lot of work but doing backups more often just took too much time.

Then I found out that when I burned CD-R’s I could leave them open for adding future files. By this time my data CD collection was up to 20 or so, so this seemed a more efficient way of doing things. I set up a folder structure for keeping any new files separate from the old files, and once a week I would burn the new files to the old CDs. Doing it more often would still take too much time. The problem was I couldn’t keep good track of what was new and what was old so about once a month I would start all over again with new CDs.

Then someone sent me an external hard-drive. All I had to do was right click and send my files and folders over to the drive.  Fast and clean, not exactly. It takes time to send multiple folders to multiple backup locations, not to mention having to remember what’s been backed up lately and what hasn’t. Some files would overwrite of course but the others would stay on the external drive as they were and I’d have to go through folder after folder deleting the old junk.

If your eyes are glazing over trying to follow my trials and tribulations I understand. That’s exactly the point. Too many trials and tribulations for something that should be easy and fast.

SyncbackThen I found Syncback. It doesn’t matter what device you’re backing up to, or how many, Syncback knows how to do it. It’s a solid, well-built, fast and efficient way to back up your work. It’s also got a good-looking interface if that matters to you, and it’s a breeze to set it up. I’ve never had one iota of trouble with it and if someone tried to take it away from me I’d throw a tantrum.

When I had only one external drive I was still using RW’s for the second backup. The difference with Syncback was that it would scan the disc, note the changes that were required and simply take care of it in under 5 minutes instead of the usual 45.  My old 4-6 hours of backing up once a week suddenly became half an hour anytime I felt like it. Same thing with the external hard-drives; whatever combination or permutation of options I care to choose for my backups it’s Syncback to the rescue. It handles everything from simple backup options to the nth in micro-management. And on the unlikely chance you have backup requirements Syncback doesn’t know about yet the company would like to hear from you.

I’ve written a short introduction to running Syncback.

I use this program many times a day.  It takes only seconds to click files and folders on the list, click the Run button and my last few minutes or hours of work are safely delivered to backup in whatever form I choose. It’s saved me more than once when I needed to restore copies from an external device. If seconds are too long for you you can set it to run on a schedule. For a mere $25 U.S. the SE Version includes the ability to back up open files, encryption, compression, FTP and a lot more. Syncback is compatible with Windows 98, 98SE, ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003.

Syncback comes in 3 flavors; Free, Try and Buy.  No matter what storage device you use, whether you’re tech-savvy or almost illiterate this is a program to suit everyone. So do it today, you’ll be glad you did! Download Free Version

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