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Software to backup data and files on a Windows computer

I currently have my development environment on a usb hd. It has things like portable xampp, virtualbox with ubuntu guest, portable firefox and other dev tools. It works fantastic! I can attach it to almost any computer and all works fine.

However, if this drive decides to go suicide on me I will be close behind it.

The problem I'm having is I use this portable HD almost all the time and so I need a fast way to backup the entire drive. It is around 400gb. Any advice?

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marked as duplicate by Tom Wijsman, Mokubai, Journeyman Geek, Diogo, slhck Apr 14 '12 at 14:53

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3 Answers 3

Use an incremental backup method such as rsync or any other method that suits your OS.

Only files that have changed are backed up, so even if the drive is 400GB, most probably only a small portion of that changes from backup to backup. This will only transfer the parts that have changed, but to know this it obviously has to read all files and compare them with the backup. You can simplify the test to only check the modification dates, or you can exclude certain directories that you know does not change (or are not important to back up). The customization is up to you and your particular situation.

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Microsoft SyncToy is an excellent tool provided by Microsoft that will allow you to back up everything on the drive. It supports detecting only changed files, allowing you to backup often without having to transfer the entirety of the drive each time.

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bvckup (currently free) works pretty well for me. It only does one way sync (which is good enough for your needs), checks differences, and only updates the changes. Its pretty fast, and dead simple. It'll do drive to drive backups, so you can back it up to your main system.

I'd note the portable apps are pretty small, so you could probably shove them on some online backup software like dropbox or spideroak for additional safety.

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