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I am looking for a way to automatically backup and archive certain files on my hard drive to a NAS in Windows 10 pro 64bit. By that I mean that I can add files to the directory on my disk and it will be automatically stored on the NAS when it is available (it's an Ubuntu PC connected as a network drive using samba that isn't always available when the PC is on). I don't simply want to sync the directory, I want the NAS to serve as an archive, so that when I delete files on the source they remain indefinitly on the NAS. I also have directories which I want to simply keep in sync, for that I was thinking I could just use Sync Center.

As an example: I have a folder of photos locally. I'll never delete anything on it, but in case I do or my disk breaks, I want to have a full backup of everything that has ever touched that folder. On the other hand I may have a Downloads directory which I want backed up, but if I delete a file it should also be deleted on the network storage when the next sync occurs.

Can someone suggest preferably Windows functionality to do this, or open source software that can help me with that? I'd rather not set up a complicated custom solution using scripts etc.

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  • Try softwarerecs.stackexchange.com – LawrenceC Jun 22 '18 at 20:38
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    @LawrenceC given that this can be done without additional software, this doesn't need to go to software recs. The question is valid for SuperUser for that very reason. – LPChip Jun 22 '18 at 21:05
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Windows File History is a built-in backup tool in Settings->Update & Security->Backup.
First, learn the UNC path of your share, like \UbuntuNAS\PictureBackups . It's a good practice to map the drive in My Computer and set 'Reconnect on logon', because then you will have a visual representation of if Windows can see the share on the network. Windows will sometimes show 'Disconnected' just because it hasn't connected to a network drive for some time. If you log on, log off of Windows daily, Windows will attempt to connect on log on each time.

  1. In Settings->Update & Security->Backup , click More Options->See advanced settings.

  2. Click Select a Network Location->Add a Network Location . In the "Folder" box, put in the server and share you want to save to, like \UbuntuNAS\PictureBackups . Choose Select Folder without clicking anything , so that it saves to the root of the share. (or make a deeper nested folder with a good name). Click OK.

  3. Note the line "Copy files from" ... it probably starts with Libraries, Desktop, Contacts, and Favorites. Click Exclude Folders. Choose something you don't want to save, like Desktop or Downloads, and click Select Folder. Note that "Libraries" includes Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Music, Photos, Videos. You don't want to waste backup space on stuff you don't need to save. Click Save Changes.

  4. Click Advanced Settings. Note the 'Saved copies of files' and 'Keep saved versions' settings. It's fine to leave these at default and click Cancel.

  5. Back in the File History screen, click Turn on.

  6. Let it sync over to your UbuntuNAS. This will probably take hours.

File History is not the easiest nor most reliable backup solution. There are paid products that do it better. Even the free Google File Backup and Sync is better, but uses your network bandwidth, has a limited amount of space if you're using the free version, and it means giving all of your photos to a third party.

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  • Lister made a good point in another answer, File History keeps gobbling up space. Microsoft hasn't included a "Leave x GB of space free on the server" setting, so you have to partition your UbuntuNAS hard drive carefully so that the OS isn't filled up by constant writes from the backup. – Christopher Hostage Jun 22 '18 at 14:13
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Using the built in tools, you can use windows file history to keep a backup running. You can tell it to monitor certain folders and back up every 10 minutes or however longer you want. You can then view previous version of the file and restore as needed.

That is probably the easiest way to do it. File history will keep using the space until it is full.

I'm not sure if your archiving request is 100% obtainable with this, im not sure how file history behaves when space is full, it might just delete the oldest backup session which would not meet your needs.

File history may be usable along side something else if any one has ideas on a good archiving solution, we just have to be wary this doesn't become a software recommendation post!

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  • Ninja'd. Lister made a good point about Windows File History - it will continue to take space and take space until it has files older than the 'Keep saved versions' setting. It's important to partition your UbuntuNAS separately so that the OS partition can't run out of space just because Windows File History keeps writing to it. – Christopher Hostage Jun 22 '18 at 14:11
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    Aye, I think between the answers we cover File history nicely. I personally use veeam at home and archive myself, but I didn't want to go into software recommendation territory! The other thing to note is that alot of the nases come with some form of tool for syncing content with your computer. – Lister Jun 22 '18 at 15:09
  • I don't remember why but I haven't had a great experience with File History... would not really recommend it. – user541686 Jun 22 '18 at 21:24
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I use Free File Sync for this. It has 2 tools. One is a gui to make backups once in a while, or one time only, and a 2nd tool without gui that can load in batch jobs created by the other tool. It will do this sync real-time, so the backup is always up-to-date, and it can move files that are deleted to a deleted folder, so it is a perfect solution against FileCryptoLocker viruses too, or you can choose to only sync in one direction, not deleting files that are no longer present in the source.

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I'm not sure if Windows has what you are looking for, but I've always used a freeware program called "Personal Backup". It's very customizable (keep every file, delete if deleted, etc.). You might be able to get it to auto-backup by using an auto-run file on your NAS. (or use a windows task to run it every so often)

It also seems that EaseUS Todo Backup might have the functionality you are looking for - there is a restricted trial version.

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