Question: I use Linux on my laptop and desktop. But my Mom uses Windows operating system for her laptop. She is constantly getting infected with Virus and lost some important files few times. But, she still wants to use Windows. I can at least help her by installing some reliable backup software on her Windows operating system.
How do I take a backup of my laptop / desktop that runs Windows operating system? Are there any Free Windows Backup Software that I can use?
Answer: There are lot of free Windows backup software available. GFI Backup Home Edition freeware came as a sweet surprise to me when I tested for Windows XP backup and Windows Vista Backup. This has tons of features that even some of commercial backup software don’t have it. Best of all it is FREE.
You can do following high level activities on GFI Backup Home Edition
- Backup – You can backup windows folders, files, windows registries, outlook emails to various destination locations — local backup folder, backup folder on LAN, backup to USB, backup to remote FTP. Windows XP Backup becomes a very easy task with this option.
- Restore – Restore files from previous backups to the same location or to different locations.
- Sync – You can synchronize local files and folders between 2 locations on the same computer, or between different computers, or between your computer and external USB, or FTP. You can pretty much sync local computer between any other device you like.
In this article, I’ve shown some screenshots that will give you an idea on available backup features. You can use this for Windows XP backup, Windows Vista Backup, Windows 7 Backup.
1. Backup General Information
In this tab, you can provide basic backup task related information. For example, backup task name, archive file / folder name, description of the task, email address where the backup notification should be sent out as shown below.
2. Backup Source Information
Select one or more of the following backup sources. Do you want to do a full backup of your Windows Vista OS (or) select specific files, folders etc.,
- Source Backup Files & Folders
- Registry Keys
- Emails (Both Outlook and/or Outlook express)
- User Settings – Backup of various user settings, including Windows Live Messenger, Skype, Firefox / IE Browser etc.,
3. Backup Destination Information
Select one of the following backup destinations:
- Local folder / External Hard Drive
- Local Area Network ( LAN Folder )
- Removable disk devices ( Floppy, USB stick, Memory Card )
- CD / DVD
- Remote location using FTP
4. Backup Options
Following options are available:
- Compression Settings: No Compression, Use Zip compression
- Encryption Settings: No encryption, Zip password protection, AES encryption
- Backup Type: Full Backup, Incremental Backup, Differential Backup
5. Backup Scheduler Option
Select one of the following backup schedule
- Run Manually
- Rune one time only
- On Windows Startup
- On Windows Shutdown
- Days of Week
- Run every few days
- Run every few hours
6. Backup Event Notifications
For all the following notifications, you have the option of displaying notification in pop-up window, or Play sound, or Send an email
- Backup Error Notification
- Backup Warning Notifications
- Backup Summary Notification
Apart from these notifications, you also have the option to do the following:
- Execute a Windows batch script before the backup starts and / or after the backup ends.
- Verify the integrity of the backup.
- Shutdown, Hibernate, log-off or standby after the backup is completed.