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Archiving and backup software


Backup is a very useful function, even if you don't bother saving the system image (very often, it's easier to reinstall Windows), but just copy important files. In addition to the obvious benefits of data safety in case something happens to the hard disk, we have different versions of working files (saved as they change).

It would seem - why do we need any separate data backup programs, if Windows has a built-in utility "Backup and restore files"? I thought the same way until I tried to organize archiving with this program. As I did not change the settings, at some point the process was interrupted with an error - without any explanations and correction possibilities, and after several attempts the program stopped running.  err Yes, of course, you could search the Internet and find a solution (if it has). But I prefer to look for another program. There are a lot of free utilities that perform the task of creating backups (and restoring from them, of course).
Before talking about specific utilities, let's get acquainted with the general principles.


Backup options

  1. Full backup means a full copy is created each time the backup is started. This is the most reliable method, but the slowest and most cumbersome. With more or less large amounts of data, the copy will take a long time to create and each time take up more and more space on the backup disk. That is, if the initial data volume is 100 GB and archiving is performed daily, then in a month you will have copies of significantly more than 3 TB.
  2. With an incremental copy, a full copy is created once, and then only changed and new objects are archived, as well as information about deleted objects (in comparison with the previous incremental copy). The disadvantage is that the recovery process is longer than from a full copy, but, on the other hand, archiving incremental backups is much faster and the archive is much smaller.
  3. With differential copying, the process is the same as with the incremental method, but the changes are recorded not in comparison with the previous partial archive, but in comparison with the primary full copy. That is, the differential copy is getting larger each time. Therefore, you have to make full copies more often. But, on the other hand, damage to any differential copy does not affect the others, while damage to one of the incremental copies leads to the inoperability of all others after the damaged one.
    In my opinion, the best option is differential copying.

Compression software

Once upon a time (especially in the days when such storage media as floppy disks were in use) it was very important that files take up as little space as possible. Special programs compressed files, and also did some other operations (for example, splitting the archive into parts corresponding to the size of a floppy disk or CD).
Now this is not too important, since flash drives and, especially, hard drives, can reach previously unimaginable volumes. But, file archiving is still used, for example, for storing files on hosting, where the storage capacity is limited, and there can be a lot of files.
That is, an ordinary user most often needs to unpack something downloaded from the Internet. There are different archive formats. In fact, there are a lot of them, although there are only a few most commonly used ones.
Accordingly, the main requirement - the program must be able to unpack anything. The most advanced programs have additional functions, for example, backup (scheduled archiving), breaking the archive into fragments, burning to CD (DVD), etc.

The oldest (and arguably the most popular) archive program is WinRAR. But it's try-and buy program. You can free download it, but, without a license you can use it for only 40 days.
Free alternative - 7-zip