First off, I should state that I love Mozy. I started off with the free version with caps you at 2 gigs, but soon enough I had moved on to the pay version with gives much more (unlimited?) space.
It does what it’s supposed to do very well. Protect files. You select what you want to back up, and it checks for updates however often you like, checks the differences, and uploads them to Mozys servers.
Big limitation, though, is that in the event of a catastrophic hard drive failure (don’t you just love the dramatic terms used in the industry?), you would still have to reinstall the operating system, all the programs, and then you could download your files.
Not good enough for me.
I need to be able to recover quickly – or, at least, i really, really want to – so I need something to make duplicates of everything, so I could be back up and running in as much time it takes to restore a backup. I also need it to be able to create a fresh copy as often as possible.
I also dont want to pay money for any software.
First up in my search was Comodo Back Up and Restore. It does a nice job (adequate) of backing up all your data to an external hard drive, but it has its own limitation. No boot disc.
A boot disc is needed when you replace a hard drive that failed, and you want to be able to boot up your computer without reinstalling the operating system.
Comodo does not make an premade boot disc. I wanted to repeat that one.
In order to create one with Comodo, you need to go through a very complicated procedure. Firstly, Comodo states that their backup is designed to work with BartPE and WinPE. Fine. Make me a disc. Since it doesn’t, you have to go through creating complicated scripts to make a boot up screen. I went through the whole, complicated process (an hour), and then it didnt work. Forget it, I thought, and I moved on to something else. Not worth the time and risk, right?
So I tried Easus ToDo Backup – with boot disc creation ability! Yeah! So, I made a boot disc. Piece of cake. Nice. However, this wouldnt make a clone for me. A cloned hard drive is an exact copy of the original hard drive, at the time of the cloning.
Well, that is not entirely true. It will make a clone, but it wipes out the entire backup hard drive to do so. The end result: since it takes 5 hours a day, I would have a 5 in 24 chance that a hard drive would fail while backing up (and destroying the backup to make a backup – stupid!). Unacceptable.
Easus To Do has a proprietary file and archiving system that they create for you. I decided to live with it. Not a biggie, right? Its free, I can deal with that. Then, I started noticing tha tevery single time I backup, or even update a backup, it runs CHKDSK. CHKDSK is a routine that can run to check for problems on the hard drive. I couldnt figure out how to turn it off, documentation felt poor. At the time of installation and finding this problem, I posted on the Easus forums for help turning it off. Still no reply (over a week later).
What a rediculous resource hog CHKDSK is. Also, how very time consuming, even for simple updates to my backup. NEXT!
On to Paragon Backup and Recovery. This had a large installer file to download. Paragon has the ability to make a boot disc (and a nice flow, easy too). I ran a backup. They have absolutely no ability to display the time remaining. It took about 5 hours, which is standard, but it told me less than an hour left almost the whole time. That being said, thats a small complaint for a free product that works as well as Paragon does.
A nice feature of Paragon is that it estimates (pretty accurately – except in the differentials – more on that in a second) how much space the backup would take.
My backup took about 143 gigs. I can live with that. Now, my next requirement is a differential that works. A differential is the difference between the original and the copy. So when you make a copy, then edit some files, the backup software will know and make a differential file of the changes.
I started to the differential process, and the program estimated 187 gigs would be needed! How would that be possible? The original is 143 gigs. I ran it. It was wrong (must be a glitch), and the differential was about 4 gigs. It took about 3 hours.
This software uses a lot of resources, so run when you’re not using the computer.
The last complaint about the Paragon Backup and Recovery is the lack of support on the forums. The regular people were great – trying to help – but official answers were still forthcoming a week later. That being said, Paragon Backup and Recovery is the winner in my backup trials. It’s what I am using – and I am pretty satisfied with it. It is free, and it does the job.
Comodo Backup and Restore: No boot disc support. A manual one must be made (and it’s not easy).
Easus Todo Backup: Cannot figure out how to turn off CHKDSK.
Paragon Backup and Recovery: Does the job I need done. Has some bugs to be worked out. The winning effort.
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