I want to backup thousands of files on my external hard disk. They are plain text files. I update some of them on a regular basis.

Now, if I copy them form my PC to hard disk, I have two options:

  1. Copy whole directories with changed and unchanged files giving the directory a new name like:
backup some_date
backup other_date
backup new_date
  1. Keep copying all files to the same directory and replace old files with their newer versions.

Method 1 consumes a lot of space and as the unchanged files would be backed up again and again. Method 2 save a lot of space but I lose the old version of changed files.

Is their a way to get the best of both these methods when copying to an external hard disk?


  • Why not buy a backup solution, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel? Backups are not something to skimp on. – Tetsujin Nov 13 '20 at 16:56
  • @Tetsujin Is there anything that will work offline? I want all my data in my possession instead of in cloud. :) – Real Noob Nov 13 '20 at 17:00
  • 1
    Backup solutions can be local or remote, that's not an issue at all [& in fact you really should have both] Any half decent backup solution will do local, some offer online too, others are totally online & need to be used as a supplement. Google 'Acronis' as an example of what is on offer. In short, I'd rather pay someone to make sure this is always reliable than try write it myself ;) BTW, I do use Acronis myself for the Win machines here, but there are many alternatives. On the Macs I use Time Machine & Backblaze. – Tetsujin Nov 13 '20 at 17:12
  • Thanks @Tetsujin :) – Real Noob Nov 13 '20 at 17:16
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    Any backup solution worth buying will have encryption options. – Tetsujin Nov 14 '20 at 9:57

I use Borg backup for this which works excellently for "version control" in that not only can I restore from previous versions, but also mount them - effectively letting me mount a backed up folder as if it were a snapshot of the folder at the time it was backed up. I also have prune rules to keep the last month of daily backups,plus an additional weekly backup up to 4 months back. Borg also supports encryption of backups.

I'm not sure of the platform you are on but for Linux this is a great solution in my opinion. It's not available on Windows IIRC so you might want to look for a similar solution.

  • 1
    Thanks QuickishFM. I am currently on Windows. The documentation says something like "Linux Subsystem of Windows 10 (experimental)" for Borgbackup. I will read more about it now. :) – Real Noob Nov 13 '20 at 17:05

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