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I have two Windows 7 laptops on my WiFi network. Each has approx. 500GB of data (primarily photos, songs and Word/PDF files). I also have an old desktop computer (2GHz, 2GB RAM, 1.5TB drive, network card) running Windows XP Home.

I'd like to setup a fool-proof backup solution that:

1) creates a mirror image of all my files on each Win 7 laptop (one for each laptop with a browsable file tree structure mirroring the source drive), 2) every night, updates backup over WiFi by adding/removing any new files, 3) requires minimal maintenance, and 4) is free, or as free as possible, while meeting the criteria above

I have looked at a number of choices but am overwhelmed by the solutions offered by most how-to sites. I am not averse to formatting the desktop and loading a Linux build dedicated to backup management - but I'm looking for simplicity and ease of use in the solution, not bells and whistles that make day to day management a pain (e.g., don't need versioning).

Thanks.

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I should've clarified, I'm looking for a free solution (or as free as possible). –  zee Oct 31 '11 at 19:48
    
Is it a requirement (for security or personal inclination or otherwise) that you store these yourself? This sounds like a job for Dropbox to me if you want the least hassle, personally. –  Shinrai Oct 31 '11 at 19:48
    
@Shinrai - partly personal inclination, partly security (I have a lot of tax and accounting docs related to my own business that I don't want hosted on the cloud). Secondly, I will have to purchase a paid Dropbox solution for the storage I need and I'd like to get a free solution if I can. –  zee Oct 31 '11 at 19:50
    
Gotcha - just felt like I should throw the obvious solution out there, a lot of people still overlook it. :) I'm not too familiar with the state of Linux based centralized backup these days myself, so I'm afraid I can't offer much more except to say that if I were in your spot I'd be asking this exact question. –  Shinrai Oct 31 '11 at 19:57
    
possible duplicate of Set-and-forget Windows backup software with NAS-support? –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Oct 31 '11 at 23:46

1 Answer 1

By far your easiest option will be Windows Home Server. It's not free, but you won't do any better for Windows.

After that, there are a number of free linux-based NAS packages, and some of them have good support for setting backups. But none of them approach the level of convenience at this time that Microsoft's own offering brings.

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I considered WHS, however looking for a free solution...I suppose that puts me squarely into Linux territory given my requirements. I have added a comment to clarify my question. –  zee Oct 31 '11 at 19:49
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@Zee: You need to add that as an edit to your question. WHS will also smoke any solution out there, bar none. –  surfasb Oct 31 '11 at 23:36

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