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jensend
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Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:04 pm

A couple years ago I gave a sibling a couple of external drives and said "now you can back up all your creative work! it's not off-site backups, but it's a lot safer than just relying on your laptop not getting stolen and your hard drive not failing."

I recently found out that she didn't ever get backups set up; the external drives have simply gathered dust. Luckily she hasn't had any data loss so far, but she keeps saying she should do something about it, and I want to give her something backup related for Christmas. Fellow gerbils, could you give me some advice?

Complicating the picture is her recent spur of the moment decision to spring for a Macbook which I thought would have been well out of her price range, born of frustration with a forced W10 upgrade messing up her old (core2duo ddr2) laptop. (She really should have left that machine on W7.) Subsequent updates fixed those incompatibilities, and she'll still do some things on the windows laptop, but I'm guessing she'll try to do most of her work on the new shiny.

She does still need to copy all her previous work off the old laptop, and may need some further backup strategy for it if she keeps it around. Right now Newegg has Acronis at half off ($25). There were prominent complaints about Acronis some years ago, but maybe some people seem to think it's improved? I probably would have gone with Macrium, but they've increased their pricing and even with the 20% TR discount the home version is $56, which seems a bit much if she's not really using that laptop. I hear some fans of AOMEI or EaseUS. If she doesn't care that much if the laptop fries but does need to keep her files backed up, then maybe on the PC side I should just consider a free file-based backup tool like Duplicati. Whatever it is, I need to be able to make it simple enough she will actually do it.

I know nothing about Mac backup (or really anything about recent Macs) whatsoever and I am not excited about trying to research that. If anybody has tips on that front I'd appreciate it.
 
arunphilip
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:28 pm

Didn't the external drives come with any backup software? For example Western Digital drives come with backup software and even a variant of Acronis True Image for both Windows and Mac.
 
bthylafh
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:45 pm

Macs come with Time Machine, which is well-regarded. It should detect a large external hard drive and offer to set it up automatically for backups.

Win10 has a basic file backup system called File History. Give it a try before you spend money.
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:56 pm

iCloud sounds like a viable option on both the Mac and PC:

https://www.apple.com/ca/icloud/

iCloud Drive in particular looks good for her as she can add her Desktop and Documents folders and sync seamlessly to the cloud:

https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT206985

I use iCloud Drive on my Windows 10 PCs via the Windows file manager.
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FlamingSpaceJunk
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:32 am

jensend wrote:
I know nothing about Mac backup (or really anything about recent Macs) whatsoever and I am not excited about trying to research that. If anybody has tips on that front I'd appreciate it.


MacOS backups are much easier then Windows since it doesn't have a registry, and if you know anything about backing up Unix-like operating systems, the knowledge transfers. Just copy everything off of it, or if you want to get fancy, buy a "personal cloud" NAS device that supports being used as a Time Machine target for onsite backups. Time Machine is pretty automatic once it's setup, and Newegg had a Qnap 2x disk device on sale recently that was capable of being a Time Machine target.

Backblaze (https://www.backblaze.com/) or Spideroak (https://spideroak.com/one/) are good for offsite backups. Spideroak can do sync as well, but sync isn't something Backblaze really does. Google Drive is a good service to pair with Backblaze.

iCloud is good for backing system settings, but I wouldn't use it to back up files.
 
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:48 pm

FlamingSpaceJunk wrote:
iCloud is good for backing system settings, but I wouldn't use it to back up files.

a) it's way better than nothing
b) it's seamless
c) it handles file and bookmark sync between PC/iOS/Mac and more!
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Klickey
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:50 am

You can try Bacula, an open source and easy to use. It's for PC, Linux and Mac too!
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Kmakswer
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:44 am

End User wrote:
FlamierSoeaceJunk wrote:
iCloud is good for backing system settings, but I wouldn't use it to back up files.

a) it's way better than nothing
b) it's seamless
c) it handles file and bookmark sync between PC/iOS/Mac and more!

I'm only interested in files transfer of between iOS and PC/Mac ,
 
Aether
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:56 am

A coworker of mine has been happy with the free edition of Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows. It is set up so that it will start a backup when the portable USB drive is plugged in and eject the drive when the backup is done.
 
tu2thepoo
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:19 pm

Time Machine works okay, especially since it's built-in - it has the bonus of keeping local snapshots if your sister's bad about remembering to hook up the external drive. Time Machine automatically resyncs the next time it's plugged in.

I found Time machine to be pretty finicky if I had to do anything more than restore an old version of a file, though. I very rarely was able to restore back to a fully-functional state - usually some app had to be manually restored and set up.

Personally, I'm a big fan of carbon copy cloner. It has a really easy-to-use scheduler and it has the bonus of making a fully-bootable backup (even with APFS). So if your sister's installation gets mucked up, you can boot straight to the backup (it'll be slower, natch) and troubleshoot from there. I set mine to run every week, and it has the option to run immediately on detecting the backup drive if a run is overdue.
 
KingLear
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:26 am

I use FreeFileSync (Windows, Mac, Linux) to backup my important files to a USB flash drive that I always carry with me (encrypted with VeraCrypt) and I sync over my network to another computer. I also use it to backup other things such as music, photos and e-books to a USB external drive. I don't worry about my Linux system and programs because I can always do a reinstall if the worst happens. No need to spend money when all you need it a little time to get it set up and the discipline to actually do the backups. They only take seconds because only the changed files get copied.
 
mcarson09
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:56 am

Under windows I use Robocopy. Macs have time machine and many routers support it now too.
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bthylafh
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:40 am

Under windows I use Robocopy.


No need to spend money when all you need it a little time to get it set up and the discipline to actually do the backups.


You two have never supported naive non-technical users, have you.
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:19 pm

bthylafh wrote:
Under windows I use Robocopy.

No need to spend money when all you need it a little time to get it set up and the discipline to actually do the backups.

You two have never supported naive non-technical users, have you.

I had the exact same thought when I saw those posts. The user mentioned in the first post on this thread is a perfect example -- someone who has never backed up their system before (and bought a new MacBook because Windows 10 was pissing them off) is not going to have the technical expertise to deal with Robocopy, and won't have the discipline to do manual backups.

Those types of solutions are fine for enthusiasts/geeks (e.g. my on-site backup is done via rsync, to a file server in the crawlspace), but that sort of thing would never fly for non-technical folks.
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Re: Backup software as gift - both PC and Mac?

Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:55 pm

I miss WHS.

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