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Can anyone recommend any free software that I can use to backup multiple machines on my home network? I do not want it backed up off-site as I will do that by swapping external USB drives.

Pretty much looking for something that will allow an external USB drive be attached to a master computer and then have that computer backup selected folders from the master computer and any other computers that I need.

A nice to have feature would be to be able to define how much of a history to maintain in the backups (eg. last 3 backups etc).

Also this must work on Windows 7. I should be receiving my copy of Windows 7 soon so if it has the ability to do all this let me know as well.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Cobian Backup (You want version 9, Amanita)

  • Free and bloody easy to use
  • You can access network shares
  • Supports compression and encryption
  • Backups history (up to any amount you define)
  • Supports pre and post backup scripts
  • Allows for Scheduled Backups
  • Full, Incremental and Differential backups
  • Supports Volume Shadow Copy (allows backups of locked files)
  • Can be ran as a service or normal application

(the above is my review) I no longer use Cobian since last year I switched to tape backup. Until then Cobian had been my little underdog gem. I highly recommend it.

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You switched to tape backup...? –  kape123 Jul 18 '13 at 8:27
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rsync has become my favorite tool for redundancy and backing up. If you're a windows user and relying on a GUI, someone else may have a better suggestion.

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I did say "this must work on Windows 7". –  Kelsey Oct 13 '09 at 3:41
1  
There are rsync versions for Windows, such as the one at itefix.no/i2/node/10650 –  Lara Dougan Oct 13 '09 at 5:06
    
That's correct, rsync works very well as a solution on Windows. From my understanding, in some cases, it does have a "quirk" (it has to be done a little differently than you would expect on Windows. –  Joshua Kersey Oct 13 '09 at 21:55
    
QtdSync is a rsync GUI and it works well on Windows 7. I use it in as scheduled task to perform automatic daily incremental back up –  jeffgao Sep 8 '11 at 4:42
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Why not just use Windows Backup which is built in? You can share out the USB drive on one machine and have the other machines all back up to that shared folder.

To get to it go to Control Panel->System & Security->Backup & Restore then just follow the prompts.

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Syncback free is very good and I think will do what you want. It has the advantage over Cobian that it is a proper backup tool and only copies new / changed files.

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Hmm... cobian supports both Full, Incremental and Differential backups. I'm not sure what you are talking about. –  A Dwarf Oct 13 '09 at 14:13
    
Edited my answer to reflect that. –  A Dwarf Oct 13 '09 at 14:15
    
Sorry about that - didn't mean to bash Cobian - I hadn't seen that it could do that. I stand corrected! –  knitatoms Oct 30 '09 at 13:41
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Try DriveImage XML:

DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives.

Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup! Restore images to drives without having to reboot. DriveImage XML is now faster than ever, offering two different compression levels.

DriveImage XML runs under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Vista and Windows 7 only. The program will backup, image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS.

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I use Bacula:

Bacula is a set of Open Source, computer programs that permit you (or the system administrator) to manage backup, recovery, and verification of computer data across a network of computers of different kinds. Bacula is relatively easy to use and efficient, while offering many advanced storage management features that make it easy to find and recover lost or damaged files. In technical terms, it is an Open Source, network based backup program.

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