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We are currently in the process of opening a new accounting firm in the new year (actually moving from our previous location).

I am looking for a cheap/free solution to back up our files (small, text files couple of kb). I was impressed with FreeNas and Windows Backup but I found out that Windows Backup only saves for a maximum of 2 years.

The work machines will be running Windows 8 or Windows 7. There can be many work machines however we have only one to start with (ie, think of it as just one employee). I have an old core 2 duo with 2 gigs of ram that I can convert to a server if need be. I want the syncing to be done through LAN since the data is confidential and should never touch the outside world.

So ideally, I would like the following scenario:

  • A skydrive/dropbox like service to sync my client files over work machines and a central server.
  • The "server" part should store history of files (i don't know how this will be done since the file will have the same name?). This isn't really necessary, but I can see it become useful.
  • I am not familiar with RAID, so does any software RAID solution exist? I will most likely be buying 2 hard drives.
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Crashplan makes their software freely available for situations like yours (where you host both the server and the clients). I do not know (and cannot check right now) if it keeps old versions of your files, or just the current state.

RAID is not a backup. Software RAID availability will depend upon the operating system you're running on the server.

Syncing (like Dropbox) and backup (like Crashplan) are 2 different requirements and need to be considered separately.

Rather than converting an old desktop to a server, consider a NAS device like a Synology DS413 (they even have a document about setting up office backups with their devices. Yes, the up-front cost may be higher, but in terms of reliability & functionality you'll come out much further ahead. Synology also has "packages" of applications you can install on their devices to add services - including backup & sharing/syncing.

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Thankyou, I will look at it. Also do you know how it handles backup? ie, everytime i press ctrl s, does it back that file up? edit: to clarify, I don't think this is neccessary (continous backup). I am perfectly fine with the system backing up every 12 hours or 24 hours –  masfenix Dec 17 '12 at 17:16
    
Crashplan checks for changes on an interval (I think an hour by default). Immediate sync would be better done by a sync tool - maybe SyncToy or even Sync Center (built into Windows 7 at least) –  alroc Dec 17 '12 at 17:39
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