Best Free File-Based Backup Program

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Introduction

The theme of this category is to provide reviews for the most popular and best free file-based backup programs that provide adequate features, ease of use and ability to set and forget. File-based backup programs do not usually support the creation of a system boot restore disk. The intention behind backup software is to backup important data you create, not generally to restore your operating system or applications. There are other options for creating system restore disks and restoring applications.

Use backup software to save document files, browser favorites, pictures, videos and other data, documents and media. Some of the backup programs are easier to use than others usually at the cost of some features. Downloading and trying two or three different programs to perform a test backup may be preferable to determine the proper fit for your needs and experience.

Backup programs do have their own nomenclature for processes. Please take the time to educate yourself on the process and terminology. Gizmo's has several articles for reference including this Recommended Reading and the Freeware Forum to post questions.

Important Features:

  • Shadow Copy or VSS - Comodo Backup
  • GPT drives - EaseUS - AOMEI
  • Incremental & Differential Backup - Comodo, Backup Maker
  • AES Security Encryption - Comodo, Backup Maker

 

Rated Products

Backup Maker  

Complete with most extensive sets of options for customizing backups.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Has many features for basic and advanced selection. Nice scheduling options. Clean console, helpful wizard.
No Shadow Copy
Read full review...

FBackup  

Built with a wizard featuring plugins for ease of backups


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Limited features)
Easy to use wizard featuring plugins to make it easy to back up data from various other programs, like browsers, email clients, or media players.
Lacks partial backup ability, no Shadow Copy, no high level encryption. Free version restricted functions.
Read full review...

EaseUS Todo Backup Free  

Designed to be user friendly by simplicity without a wizard.


Our Rating: 
2
License: Free (Limited features)
Cloning and imaging features. Straight forward user interface.
No Shadow Copy, no differential backups, lacks a wizard.
Read full review...

Honorable Mention

AOMEI BackupperAOMEI Backupper is well worth a mention in this category because of its additional ability to quickly make backups of files and folders. The latest edition at time of writing is 2.0.1 and now has a few extra features such as the ability now to select multiple files and folders at the same time for backup along with support for performing a backup or restore across a network or NAS (Network Attached Storage), in addition you are now able to import and export all the backup tasks in XML format. The developers at AOMEI are constantly improving on their software whilst still maintaining a clean and easy to use GUI.

Since version 2.8.0 they added the ability to schedule the synchronization of files and folders automatically to HDD, USB and NAS, the current version is 3.2

Please follow this link for a full review and rating: AOMEI Backupper.

 

There are a lot of free backup programs that have some unique features and excellent functionality that really deserve mentioning, but room here does not allow. If you are looking for more advanced programs, or some specific functionality, please check out the three links directly below for Special Reviews.

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor AndyR. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

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4.09265
Average: 4.1 (313 votes)

Comments

Re
Backup Maker (Personal Edition), while this is an easy to use program, with a simple or advanced setup mode...with all the options you could ever need, even verifies files backed up, plus a pop up message can be created to advise the backup was successful...would have been amazing if there were an option to make a backup when the PC shuts down ( there is one for PC startup)
Also, although it states free for private use, it does pop up a nag screen occaisonly, which can be very annoying....would be great if this were mentioned.....the forum is difficult to join, as yahoo and some other email addresses are not acceptable....also the caphca is one of the most difficult I have seen.

"... Echosync is a portable, fast and simple software which is using data differential backup for file backup ...":
http://www.luminescence-software.org/en/echosync.html

just tried this out. it's a keeper. very nice tool.

I've been playing around with 'Veeam Endpoint Backup free 1.5', which you might want to test for inclusion on the list. Seems user friendly and easy to use.

I second this. Been trying this myself and looks pretty good.

AOMEI Backupper Standard has been updated to version 3.5 (2016.07.11); the changelog has not been updated as of this post (http://www.backup-utility.com/changelog.html).

BackUp Maker Standard Edition has been updated to version 7.200 (2016.06.03); a [not quite current] changelog can be found at Softpedia's changelog page for the program - http://www.softpedia.com/progChangelog/BackUp-Maker-Changelog-19912.html .

Also, FBackup has been updated to version 6.1 Build 188 (2016.06.03). Changes too numerous to list included in the many updates that have occurred since version 6.0.129 can be found on Softpedia's changelog page for the program (most have to do with additional languages) - http://www.softpedia.com/progChangelog/FBackup-Changelog-116025.html .

Downloaded the Comodo software but the website is degenerate. You cannot create a User Account - just loops back to the Sign In Page... contacting Comodo is also difficult and when you do they just say there nothing we can do?

Does not deserve 5 stars!

Well you can't really judge any software by the website it is on even if it is the company's website, I doubt they actually built the website in the first place though I do agree they should hire somebody to fix it as it is a problem and are probably loosing some potential paying customers also.

FBackup has been updated to version 6.0.133 (2016.03.14).

Any major changes with that ? sorry don't have time to look right now but will do later, thanks for the heads up.

Comodo Backup Registration problem

I was unable to Register for the "FREE 10 GB Online Storage account". I repeatedly received "Oops! An error occured. Please try again later." just to the right of the Register button on the page.

I have tried for days, with Chrome and IE, with the same result.

Suggestions?

Happened to me today. I called their tech support and the first thing they asked was had I paid for it. No, it is Free. They told me it is free for the first 90 days, but you have to process the CC first, then remember to cancel before the 90 days. Who needs 90 days worth of backups?

Yes that is another method I don't like, granted companies need to make their money somehow but having to register a CC first always makes me dubious... as they know a high percentage of people will forget to cancel and they will at least get one payment out of them... Slightly off topic but worth a mention if you ever buy anything from anywhere be it online or at the mall always use a Credit Card as in the ones that you have a spending limit on and pay the balance monthly (or in instalments) as that way you have the greatest protection from fraud or arguments over faulty goods... It is easy to issue what is known as a "Charge Back" (there are certain rules and agreements but this is not the place to go into specific details) A Debit Card (often wrongly called a Credit Card) is treated the same way as if you had paid in Cash ! What they don't tell you is a Debit Card transaction actually takes 3 days before the funds leave your actual bank ! but your balance is updated almost instantly. I was a fraud investigator for a number of years with a large online company, this is how I know the ins-and-outs and only posting this for information value guys.
Hmm I have not heard of that happening before, just a thought do you have cookies disabled in those browsers or even location tracking enabled with IE11 ? that could cause said error... it also depends on what part of the world you are in they may have registrations blocked from where you are if so I would suggest to use a "proxy" in order to bypass it... another thought is some people "hijack" / "Spoof" your email address without you knowing for various purposes so it might be blocked / blacklisted try a different email address maybe ? Please let me know how you get on with this I would be interested to know, Thank You.

FBackup has been updated to version 6.0.129 (version 6.0, released on 2016.01.25, was a major update to version 5; full changelog at http://www.fbackup.com/forum/fbackup-6-t8540.html).

Thanks for the heads up on that.

I suggest that CrashPlan should be included in this review. I have used many backup programs, and have found CrashPlan to be by far the best.

With the free version you can backup to multiple different destinations - External Hard drive, another computer on your home network, Network Attached Storage, a friends computer. The latter gives you OFFSITE BACKUP FOR FREE!. Once the initial backup has been made, subsequent backups are extremely fast as the program used block de-duplication in addition to incrementals. It can be configured never to delete backed up files and you can restore from a large number of previous versions (also configurable). It is very light on system resources - I am totally unaware of it running and I have backups to triggered every 15 minutes! It uses Shadow Copy to copy open files

This is strictly a file backup program - it does not do image backups

The only downside is the rather unusual user interface.

It might be a good idea to have CrashPlan reviewed here. What I can't understand is why Code42's own features comparison makes it look worse than you say. See http://www.code42.com/crashplan/features/compare/.

Free CrashPlan also gets a high proportion of dissatisfied users.

I generally don't care much for programs where you have to register but then again I guess that is in order to get access to the free 30 day on-line backup they have... From the first page of user reviews on their site I read they were positive, though I usually don't take much notice of comments on the actual site as I know of some companies in other areas who write the comments themselves, I am not saying they do just saying that I know it happens at times... I shall download it in the next few days and take a look at it anyway and see about doing a review here.

Does CrashPlan offer versioning or is only the last version saved?

Crashplan advertises infinite versioning from cloud backup. I assume you can set the number of versions for other backup destinations.

In addition to Crashplan, I use two other Time-Machine-Like real-time backup programs on various machines, to back up to my local NAS.

I've been using AutoVer for years. It has a clunky interface, but does versioned real-time backups to networked storage. It also provides backup to FTP, but I haven't used that. Unfortunately, its author doesn't visit his forum very often, so it's teetering on abandonware.

A program I've been using since then on my two latest machines for the last few years is Yadis! Backup. Same thing, versioned, real-time backup. It has been reasonably solid. But, I do need to delete the log file regularly. After it grows past a few GB the program crashes on startup. Deleting that file fixes the issue.

Both AutoVer and Yadis! Backup are free.

Drake Christensen

Would like to try Comodo but install always fail on windows 8.1

http://www.freefilesync.org/ cant be ignored. been using it past 2 years to backup my files to a networked pc set for that purpose,ext to main house.
Its cross platform.
It works well

Hello...tech-challenged senior here. Don't everyone groan please, but haven't backed up anything for over a year because the one time I tried something went goofy. By goofy I mean it seemed to fail. All this time later I can't remember exactly what happened but I just let it go and haven't tried again. What would be recommended for someone like me, who doesn't understand half of what you're all saying? Have Win7 64 bit, need something easy to understand and to run. I do have an external hard drive that has been waiting to be used. Not even sure what the difference between differential and incremental...think I understand real time and really do not want zip files, which is another subject as I can't seem to open mine.

Remember, backups are worthless; restores are priceless. A differential backup backs up only the files that changed since the last full back. For example, suppose you do a full backup on Sunday. On Monday you back up only the files that changed since Sunday, on Tuesday you back up only the files that changed since Sunday, and so on until the next full backup. Differential backups are quicker than full backups because so much less data is being backed up. But the amount of data being backed up grows with each differential backup until the next full back up. If you do an incremental backup on Tuesday, you only back up the data that changed since the incremental backup on Monday. So, each differential backup goes back to the date of the last Full backup while an incremental backup only goes back to the previous incremantal backup. You need a Full backup followed by one differential backup while you need the Full one plus all the incremental ones done since the full one.

This could find a place in the Introduction of the article.
I think probably the easiest to use is AOMEI they have extensive help sections also... the best for you would be to just go with full backups and retain at least two versions... Differential means it will compare changed files and update the image, Incremental means it will do the same but store X number of changes also that can get rather messy if you don't fully understand or the system is used for work on a daily basis... like I say your best course of action is to just do a full backup.

One thing that I do not care for in AOMEI is the absence (at least I have not found it) of the ability to automatically delete backup files as the disk fills up. Very useful feature which has kept me in the Macrium Reflect camp as it also has the other AOMEI features. Agree, however, that AOMEI is more user friendly.

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