Best automated backup software (to external hard drive)

First things first, please don't recommend me things like Crashplan/Backblaze as I do not want to be held hostage by their ever-changing T&Cs.

Hence the reason for the thread here. Requirements as follows:

- Approx. 2TB of data to backup monthly
- Variety of folders for photos/videos/ebooks/documents etc
- Software smart enough to recognise which ext hard drive is designated for which folder
- Initiates backup immediately after I plugin the hard drive meant for backing up folder ABC
- Able to talk to IFTTT if necessary
- Able to specify parameters (e.g. backup files only if filesize >1GB AND if filetype=.arw)
- Able to exclude certain subfolders
- software in active development

Any suggestions?

Separately, is there any difference between the longevity of a 2.5" vs 3.5" hard drive? internal vs external? what will be the best choice for pure monthly backup jobs?
Reply to milkygirl
12 answers Last reply
More about automated backup software external hard drive
  1. Macrium Reflect https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree is may favorite. Free is a bit restricted with automated backups.
    Reply to CountMike
  2. I don't mind paying good money if it can meet all my requirements. Anything other alternatives to consider?
    Reply to milkygirl
  3. EAsus ToDo Backup is also good. Best to stick to well known SW because of future compatibility.
    Reply to CountMike
  4. The thoroughness in which you posted what you want tells me that you are indeed somebody to learn backup procedures and programming from. I'll be following this thread; I hope you will post how you script whatever program you decide on, I'll learn much from you.
    Reply to RolandJS
  5. 1. At the outset it would appear that a disk-cloning program as suggested by CountMike might be appropriate for your basic objective in creating comprehensive backups of your system on a monthly (as you have indicated) or some other schedule.

    2. But you've indicated a number of your requirements that I don't quite understand so I'm not entirely certain a disk-cloning program would meet your objective(s).

    3. So to simplify matters at this outset...let me pose the following question...

    4. If, by utilizing a disk-cloning program a comprehensive all-inclusive backup of the "Approx. 2TB of data" you've indicted could be achieved...in effect (for all practical purposes) a bit-for-bit copy of that "2TB of data", would that - in & of itself - fulfill your objective?

    5. If your answer is "yes" it would seem that indeed a disk-cloning program would be a reasonable way to achieve that objective.

    6. Now I note you did indicate whatever program is used it had to be "Able to exclude certain subfolders". If this is a crucial element of your objective then a disk-cloning program would NOT be appropriate. A clone is a clone is a clone. It's an all-or-nothing proposition.

    Obviously we can get into further details if necessary, however, it would best if you would respond to the above.
    Reply to ArtPog
  6. Using incremental backup doesn't copy everything but just parts that are changed since last backup and so save time and disks. In addition you can also schedule backups of only user files/folders. Once upon a time I used tape backup and after work hours left computer on whole night because it used several hours for few GB of data. There's also possibility of RAID1 where data is simultaneously written on 2 disks at same time. Chance of 2 disks to go bad are really low and there's nothing else to do to have backup.
    Reply to CountMike
  7. ArtPog, would you recommend a, perhaps monthly, clone, and, perhaps weekly, routine image backups of desired folders and files?
    Reply to RolandJS
  8. RolandJS said:
    ArtPog, would you recommend a, perhaps monthly, clone, and, perhaps weekly, routine image backups of desired folders and files?


    Why not utilize the disk-cloning program on a weekly basis, rather than on a monthly basis?
    Why not utilize the disk-cloning program on a twice-a-week basis if desired?
    And finally, why not utilize the disk-cloning program on a daily basis should that frequency have any appeal for you?

    As I believe you know, many d-c programs have an automatic scheduling capability allowing the user to back up his/her system automatically on whatever schedule is desired.

    We use the Casper program (http://www.fssdev.com). I've never found a program its equal (let alone superior) in terms of speed of operations, ease-of-use, and general effectiveness. However, it's a commercial program costing $49.99 so most users are loathe to purchase it since they can obtain freely-available d-c programs on the net. We've been using this program for more than a dozen years.
    Reply to ArtPog
  9. Thanks ArtPog! I'm learning from you; and I'm going to bookmark that Casper program URL for future consideration. Any recommendations from you will be bookmarked.
    Reply to RolandJS
  10. Hi guys,

    A disk cloning solution definitely will not be what I need, because I have many internal and external drives with only a small portion of data to be backed up for each source.

    Because I name my folders and files properly, I know exactly the characteristics of the data I need to exclude and include, hence the requirements above.

    It will also be very important for the software to recognise which backup drive I'm plugging into, so that this particular drive is only backing up abc folders and the next drive only backs up def folders.

    Hope this is clear enough...
    Reply to milkygirl
  11. RolandJS said:
    Thanks ArtPog! I'm learning from you; and I'm going to bookmark that Casper program URL for future consideration. Any recommendations from you will be bookmarked.


    Casper works.
    I use Macrium Reflect. Very similar.

    My system does an Incremental backup every night. Each physical drive gets its own folder. Keep for 2 weeks, deleting the oldest as it goes.
    Read more in depth here:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3383768/backup-situation-home.html
    Reply to USAFRet
  12. milkygirl said:
    Hi guys,

    A disk cloning solution definitely will not be what I need, because I have many internal and external drives with only a small portion of data to be backed up for each source.

    Because I name my folders and files properly, I know exactly the characteristics of the data I need to exclude and include, hence the requirements above.

    It will also be very important for the software to recognise which backup drive I'm plugging into, so that this particular drive is only backing up abc folders and the next drive only backs up def folders.

    Hope this is clear enough...


    I find it much easier to do backups of the entire drive(s), rather than specific folders.

    But it can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be.
    Bottom line, though...automation, rather than manually connecting individual drives to backup to.
    Reply to USAFRet
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