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Are you backing up? Is it easy to use?

posted 15 Feb 2014, 03:10 by WillisITServices   [ updated 17 May 2017, 07:03 ]
Most people consider a computer backup about 5 minutes after it's too late! Unfortunately no computer is immune from failure. My customers keep important files on their computers, ranging from family photos to business work. I normally ask customers "could you cope if you lost all of those files?". The normal answer is of course "no!".

Some of my more tech-savvy customers are at least proficient in copying files to CD or DVD. However, even a dual-layer DVD holds just 8.5GB of data. All computers now have hard drive capacities of 100's of GB's. Trying to split your data between different discs is not only tedious, it is difficult to keep track of, and trust that your work has been accurate! Some other similarly tech-savvy customers have been copying their data to an external hard drive or USB stick. This has the following issues:
  • Do you copy over the existing files, leaving old files in place that you no longer need? If you move or delete a file, this mistake will leave you with both the old and new versions. That is a lot of mess to clear up if ever need to rely on the backup!
  • How often do you remember to copy your files to the backup? Would it be helpful if you didn't have to remember?
So, a tool for the job is required! Windows has a built in program simply called Backup and Restore (File History on Windows 8 or 10). However, like many other dedicated Backup programs, I have found many flaws in the design:
  • Restore doesn't always work between different versions of Windows.
  • It can only run on a schedule at a specific time. Often this is inconvenient if you are using the computer.
  • Windows Backup software is required in order to read any of your files on another computer.
  • Backed up files can not be read without restoring them to another computer.
  • Options are not detailed enough to be able to back up any data, only the folders that Windows expects you to use.

For the above reasons, I have assembled a combination of a great program and some customisation that allows the following:

  • The backup can run automatically when shutting down Windows therefore not interfering with your work.
  • Alternatively, the backup can wake the computer up from sleep and run at night.
  • Only the new and changed files are copied.
  • A history of changed and deleted files can be kept for a specific time.
  • Backed up files can be easily read on any computer without any additional software.
  • I can configure it to back up any files from any program to any location.
The cost for this is as follows:
  • £18 - One-off payment for the software licence.
  • £20 - £30 for installation.
  • £18 - 64GB USB Stick OR £49 - 1TB Hard Drive
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