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I have seen some Backup Questions around. But they are not quite what I am looking for.

I would like to have a back up of my entire hard drive (to an external drive). I would like it to be the kind that has a base backup then just backs up the changes since the last backup.

I would like it to be able to have a fully restorable image of my hard drive (not just key files).

Lastly I would like it to be free (or super cheap). (The above requirements are important, but I will have to drop them if they up the price as my boss will not pay for them.)

I have a Solid State Hard Drive 250 GB backing up to a 1TB external hard drive using Windows XP.

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You do not want to 'update' system drive images with incremental backups. this is a recipe for disaster and chances are that you will ruin a perfectly good 'clean' drive image with this practice. –  Molly7244 Feb 2 '10 at 22:55
    
@Molly - I did not know that system drive backups and incremental backups were exclusive features. I will have to live with doing full backups I guess. Thanks. –  Vaccano Feb 3 '10 at 16:36
    
It's no big deal, just create your drive image for emergencies, and backup your user files on a regular basis ... easy and bulletproof backup strategy. –  Molly7244 Feb 3 '10 at 18:57
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

EASEUS Todo Backup, supporting Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7 and Windows Server 2000/2003/2008, is potent free backup software providing system backup & restore, hard disk or partition backup & restore, disk clone to protect your system and disk. It can back up whole PC, including the operating system plus your data, applications, settings and everything!

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Sounds good, is it an automated and simple enough solution that I could install it on my Mother's machine? –  Dean Rather Feb 2 '10 at 22:21
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@Dean - I don't know your Mother's machine, but the interface is indeed simple and intuitive. :) –  Molly7244 Feb 2 '10 at 22:42
    
Alas, it does not have backups that just saves the difference from the last backup. Still it looks nice. If I can't find a free one with incremental then I may choose this. –  Vaccano Feb 2 '10 at 23:00
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@vaccano - see my comment to your question, do NOT 'update' drive images, backup your user data with incremental backups as much as you want (tons of free programs to do that), but leave a system drive image alone, WHEN you need it you may need it in its pristine state. –  Molly7244 Feb 2 '10 at 23:06
    
@Molly - Windows XP. Can it be scheduled, does it give a simple report? –  Dean Rather Feb 2 '10 at 23:16
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I love 2 solutions each has a particular advantage. Karenware's Replicator is the tool that I have had running on every office machine (about 10) for about the last 10 years for automated, unattended, incremental backups. I don't however use it for a whole disk, though don't see that it would be a problem, just expect it to take a while, and running in off hours would surely be a plus.

Another one I like to set up on an external drive, then configure it, and teach a user to go to the directory and run it is Toucan Portable. It has plenty of other features but that's the way I use it.

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This is more a 'backup disaster recovery solution' than simply a 'backup tool'.

Search the web for 'incremental bdr' for a bunch of companies offering this exact functionality. We have large clients using the same solution and it works flawlessly. Unfortunately, I doubt that you will find anything close to free.

StorageCraft sell a product called ShadowProtect Desktop Edition which does the job. There is a good review of a slightly older version here which gives you a basic explanation on how it works.

$80 is 'super cheap' to me for a backup disaster recovery solution, but I guess I'm not the one you'll need to convince :-)

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I highly recommend DriveImage XML. It makes images of your drive(s) and even has options to compress your image...

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