There has never been a better time to protect your data. Nowadays, our data is attacked from all possible sides – viruses trying to destroy it, ransomware trying to hold it hostage for money, companies buying and selling it unethically, even if You should be able to secure your data in all respects. In Internet or software related threats, there is no way to protect against hardware related troubles such as stolen device, hardware failure or even natural calamities. Everything else about the computer is expected to be exchanged for your data. Once gone, it's gone forever. That's why backup software is extremely important.
Backup, in plain English, is making a copy of your data and storing it in another location – a separate hard drive, hardware RAID, cloud, NAS, CD/DVD, USB flash drive, etc. These backup devices should be connected to your main computer only when you are doing backup work, even at those moments, you should keep your internet off to eliminate all possibility of malware attack on your backup .
Full Backup, as the name suggests, makes a copy of all your data, and stores it at the specified location. Because it contains all the data, it is also the most time consuming type of backup. The first time you try a backup, it should be a full backup.
Incremental backup copies only those files that have been changed or modified since the last backup – be it full backup or incremental backup. Let's say you made your first full backup on Monday, and the next full backup will be done on the following Monday. Tuesday's Incremental Backup will only back up files that have been modified since Monday. Wednesday's Incremental Backup will only back up files that have been modified since the last incremental backup, i.e. Tuesday.
Differential backup is similar to incremental backup as it copies only those files which have been modified, and not all the files. However, it uses a different approach. This will only back up files that have been modified since the last full backup, not the last differential backup. Let's say you made your first full backup on Monday. Tuesday's differential backup will only back up files that have been modified since Monday. Similarly, Wednesday's differential backup will also back up only those files that have been modified since the last full backup, i.e. Monday.
Here are the best free restore and backup software for Windows.
AOMEI Backupper comes in three different editions – Standard edition, Professional edition and Server edition. We are only concerned with the standard version here, which is their free version.
AOMEI Backupper Standard comes with all the features you would expect from a complete backup and recovery solution. The program supports different levels of backup and restore functions – system backup and restore, disk backup and restore, partition backup and restore, file/folder backup and restore, and file/folder sync.
Talking about the backup modes, AOMEI Backupper Standard supports all types of backups – Full Backup, Incremental Backup and Differential Backup. It supports automatic backup as well in its free version, which gives it an edge over other options in the category. Other backup features include sector-by-sector backup, intelligent backup, real-time file/folder sync, and automatic file/folder sync.
Now about backup destinations, AOMEI lets you save your backups to local disk, external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, network and cloud drive. You can keep your backups in sync with all of these options except the CD/DVD one.
AOMEI lets users locate, compress, encrypt, split, check and annotate backup images. There are also backup logs and email notification options. Users can also create Windows PE and Linux bootable media.
Disk and partition cloning is also supported; However, system cloning is not available in the free version.
It also supports Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista and Windows XP. Free license is for one PC only.
EaseUS beats AOMEI in system cloning feature. AOMEI offers many features in their free version, but system cloning is reserved for their paid versions. EaseUS lets users clone entire disks; This can be useful if you want to transfer your OS from one HDD to another HDD or SSD. When you migrate your data using the Disk Clone feature, you do not need to reinstall the OS on your new drive.
EaseUS free supports all types of backup modes – Full Backup, Incremental Backup, Differential Backup and Schedule Backup. There are various backup plans available – File Backup, Disk Backup, Partition Backup, System Backup and Smart Backup.
Other features include support for MBR and GPT disks, RAID, NAS UEFI boot, and WinPE bootable disks. It supports all versions of Windows up to XP.
It tries to install additional software called GMX; You can uncheck the option during install.
Along with AOMEI and EASEUS, MiniTools makes one the best hardware related utilities for Windows.
Like other options before it, it also has wide support on various fronts. MiniTool supports Windows, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. Backups can be stored on HDD, SSD, USB disk, hardware RAID, NAS (Network Attached Storage), and personal FTP.
The core feature, Quick System / Disk Backup, backs up the system as a system image. All three backup plans – full, differential and incremental backups are supported. The entire disk can be cloned during the Disk Clone feature. Disk cloning removes the need to reinstall the operating system on a new disk to make it work.
WinPE Bootable Media Builder feature helps to create bootable USB, which can be used to restore the system to an already created image.
Paragon Backup & Recovery Free is available for Windows 10, 8.1, 8 and 7.
The program has two view options - one Main View is the more traditional and older type of display, and the other called X-View is more attractive and modern.
All three types of backup are available to the free users – Disk Backup, Differential Backup and Incremental Backup. Disk Backup is a full backup mode that backs up the entire hard disk, or partitions, as a system image.
The home screen of this backup software lets you access the Recovery Media Builder utility which can be used to create WinPE bootable recovery media.
The free version can only be used on one computer as it is for home users only.
The interface is very simple but very functional at the same time. The Settings menu is intuitive with all its tabs and options.
There are several backup modes supported – Full, Incremental, Differential and Dummy. Backups can be scheduled weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. Day of the week, date, time, month of the month, month and timer. There are options to include and exclude certain files and folders from the backup routine.
Various compression and encryption options are available for backup. You can save backup in zip, uncompressed ot 7z compression. Compressed files can be split into custom sizes. Backups can be protected with a password. Supported encryption methods are AEX, 256, AES 192 and AES 128.
Cobian is a full featured recovery, sync and backup software; It does not contain any advertisements, promotions or other annoyances.