In Back Up Your Files I promote a free file backup program called Syncback. It’s my indispensable favorite and I use it several times a day. Although the interface presents more options than most people would ever use, it’s extremely simple to set up and use.
When you’re setting up a new ‘profile’ you’ll have the option to choose Backup or Synchronize.
Backup means you want to copy your files from one location to another.
Synchronize means your files are changing in two different locations and you want to keep them the same. When this profile is run, Syncback will use the most recently dated file to keep, regardless of its location
Start with a folder that you want to back up. Click the Source folder icon and browse for its location. For Destination do the same. If you don’t already have an identical folder on another drive (external or flash or even CD-RW) as the Destination it will give you the option of creating it.
A very useful button is the one under these called “Choose sub-directories and files”. Here you can drill down to the file level, if you only want to back up some files in a particular folder but not others. This option may not be available in the free version.
You will find this very handy if you’re backing up a large folder like My Documents but you only want some of the files and folders being sent to one of your backup locations. I have backups split across multiple flash-drives so I use this feature all the time.
Then go to the ‘Decision – Files’ window.
I usually pick the option to delete all old files from the Destination so I have a mirror image of the Source.
There are about two dozen options on this one screen covering every possible permutation of copy, move, and synchronize so it’s up to you.
All the profiles you set up are lined up on one single screen. You can run them individually or in groups.
I name my profiles starting with the drive letter that I’m sending files to so I can group them accordingly. I use this several times a day to back up the files I’m working on across two external hard-drives and 8 flash-drives. There’s no need to remember what I’ve changed. The profiles run automatically searching for the changes. When it finds them, it will present another screen showing you what’s about to be changed so you can abort or continue.
It’s best to rotate backups so you don’t get ahead of yourself. If you keep one of your backups a few days behind you can still go back to it if you change your mind about something you did today.
On the main menu is an option to Import/Export all the profiles you’ve set up. It’s a good idea to use this in case you run into computer problems and need to get the list back.
The freeware version of Syncback will suit the needs of most people.