Tools to tackle that backup

Tags: Knowledge
Tools to tackle that backup
Last month we talked about backing up our computers—and providing some simple tips about what to backup and what not, and how to keep a backup safe. Today we take a look at some backup applications that exonerate you from having to undertake this (sometimes tedious) task yourself. Fortunately, there are literally dozens of really good backup programmes—even free ones.

BackupMaker is a decent backup programme if you’re looking for ease of use and a nice interface. The not-so-good part is that it is only free for personal use and comes with a nag screen exhorting the virtues of its Pro version. However, it has a great set of features, including automation, incremental and differential backups, and backing up to an external location (USB drive, network, online location, CD/DVD). BackupMaker is available from

FBackup is a another simple and effective solution, which can automate your backup tasks. FBackup’s USP is that—apart from backing up your files—it can be extended with loads of plugins to find and backup settings of specific programmes—PhotoShop, Firefox, uTorrent, VLC, iTunes, Skype and MS Office, to name a few. You can get it at

If you’re considering going the whole hog, check out the open source CloneZilla Live at, which will clone your entire hard drive or drive partition—this includes everything, from the operating system and programmes to personal settings and documents. The live version can be run from a USB stick or CD/DVD. Of course, cloning a drive can be a time-consuming process and this is probably not something you’d want to do every day—but it is a good comprehensive fallback option to have.

One tool that is worthy mentioning is the Comodo Time Machine. This powerful free application is different from a traditional backup tool in that it basically functions as a system rollback facility, restoring your PC, including the registry, critical operating system files and documents. It creates periodic snapshots of your system, which can then be used to roll back to a previous time in case of emergencies. It is slightly complex to use since there are many configurations and settings to take care of if you want to get the best out of it. The same company also offers Comodo Backup, a free backup tool, with 5gb of free space to backup your files in the cloud. Check out for these programmes.

Looking for a portable solution? Check out Toucan at Portableapps. com. It is recommended for users looking for a tool to synchronise, backup and encrypt data. Newbies might find it harder to take to Toucan, but this is great tool for advanced users. While it comes with full Windows 7 integration, including drag-and-drop support, there is also a command line option. It offers compression, differential backups and a number of file sync options.

The aforementioned programmes are all for the Windows platform. The Mac platform in itself has an excellent backup tool—Time Machine. But that aside, there are a number of other backup solutions, though most are paid programmes or services. An exception is Carbon Copy Cloner, which is donation-ware and you are asked to donate if you are satisfied with the programme. It is well worth paying for, though, and can clone your entire Mac as well as perform incremental backups; it also comes with scheduling capabilities. It can be downloaded from

Different people are bound to have varying backup preferences—and, therefore, different solutions to their requirements. The chances are that you will probably find your perfect backup tool after a bit of trial and error.

(Payal Dhar is a freelance technology writer)

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