I'd like some advice related to good practices when working from a USB stick. In particular about backup software. I have my own homemade backup (C# + JFileSync), but this would be for my wife who's not a geek.

The problem: My wife is using 3 computers (netbook, laptop, desktop) and has data on all of them plus on a USB stick.
Want: Work only out of the USB stick, but run on each computer a non-intrusive backup that saves the USB data locally. So the master data is on the stick, but is automatically mirrored on each computer she uses at that moment.

Looking for backup that would:

  • Be able to backup opened files (robocopy for example cannot save opened files)
  • Continuous backup without user intervention
  • Save files in the same dir structure/format, so that in case of trouble she would simply go to the backup dir and get the file
  • If possible, keep several versions of the files (for the case stick has the content erased and then inserted on one of the computers)
  • Run on Windows XP and 7 and be not that expensive !!! Open source would be ideal.

I've played with JFileSync, robocopy, etc. I'd go for an industrial strength solution as a home-made solution would take time to iron out problems. I cannot afford to lose data.

Thanks, Adrian

  • Yes, probably superuser.com is a better place for this kind of questions. It will be migrated automatically from here. – Stefano Borini Feb 1 '10 at 12:49

I don't know how you can use it on windows (I guess with cygwin), but you should consider using rsync. I use this script


# if the external drive is not there, complain and stop
if [ ! -e "$TARGET_DIR" ]
 echo Target directory does not exist!
 exit 1

date=`date +%Y%m%d-%H%M%S`
pushd .
cd ~/
/usr/bin/rsync --backup --suffix="-backup-$date" --progress -av $SOURCE_DIRS "$TARGET_DIR"

what you have to do is find out how to run the script automatically at every USB insertion. on this I cannot help you.


I use Allwaysync with considerable success. It doesn't do a continuous backup, but you can set it to sync a various time intervals. It runs on XP and Vista, don't know about W7 but probably.



I used to use allsync's free version. It's baby food compared to Synkron. It's cross-platform, Has very rich features and is Open source.


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