Best free backup, synchronization and cloning programs

SyncFolders will help you to synchronize folders and subfolders, letting you also exclude subfolders you may not wish to replicate. I like simple backup programs, without compression, etc or endless dialogues of obscure settings, which is the reason I was attracted for a long time by Karen’s Replicator, a simple and great program, which, however, won’t let you exclude subfolders from a backup job. Then I tried SyncFolders and I’m impressed by its power and convenience.

Fetch The Target finds and copies the real contents of file and folder shortcuts. It will find the shortcut contents in any drive and it will copy all targeted files and folders to the folder where their shortcuts reside. Fetch The Target is not a backup program but it can be used as part of a wider backup system; it is a solution you may want to use if you need to gather / copy the targets of a collection of shortcuts, even for a quick manual backup of certain files and folders.

Duplicati supports also (AES) encryption, a security option you may appreciate more especially if you are going to backup on the Cloud or on FTP servers, since the program offers to save your backup in many locations besides internal or USB drives you can attach.

BackUp Maker is a free (for personal use) and powerful tool that will let you backup your files to several locations, local or remote, zipped and encrypted. Note that the program creates only zipped backups.

Synchredible can even use lists of files that should be checked or ignored in a syncing task, besides general filters, such as extensions, and it will let you use the preview list to refine your job further by excluding files, adding filters, etc. It will also let you perform some other task before or after a job, such running a program, and of course shutting down the PC, etc., even have shortcuts to start a task, pause and resume tasks.

Microsoft SyncToy synchronizes files and folders. Most common operations can be performed with just a few clicks of the mouse, and additional customization is available without additional complexity. SyncToy can manage multiple sets of folders at the same time; it can combine files from two folders in one case, and mimic renames and deletes in another case. SyncToy will let you include or exclude folders or files from a backup or synchronization job. It will also understand international file names, where other backup programs will fail.

Horodruin updates a folder taking files from different folders (and finally updates them too), i.e., it will help you synchronize more than 2 folders with a few clicks.

DirSync Pro can be used to synchronize the content of select folders recursively. You can make incremental backups.

SyncBack backs-up, restores, and synchronizes files and directories on a local drive, a network drive, an FTP server, a ZIP archive, or on removable media (dvdrw, etc).

Ace Backup creates secure backups on any local storage device, on CD, DVD or on your remote FTP server. It is able to store different versions of your files. On demand the program does not only encrypt the content of your files but also the file name to ensure completely secure backups.

Freebyte Backup is a free program you can use to copy (and filter) a large number of files and directories from various sources into one backup directory. You can backup all the files found in the specified set of input directories, or to have only certain file types copied. Freebyte Backup can also perform incremental backups.

EVACopy creates versioned backups. It works with command-line parameters and/or a settings file. It can perform backup jobs automatically.

Areca Backup will let you save your files (compressed or not) locally, on a network drive or on ftp servers. It comes also with a command-line interface which can be used for backup automation.

Yadis Backup will copy your files to almost any destination you want, preserving or not the structure of your directories. Marked folders are backed-up in real-time (no scheduling needed). Whenever you make a change, Yadis! makes a backup, and if your backup destination isn’t available, it remembers the changes and whenever the location becomes available Yadis! will backup your changed files.

JaBack will help you to automate your backup, synchronization, and archiving tasks. The backup set is created in standard ZIP format. Local directory monitor allows you to backup data when a file/folder change is detected. Can append date/time to filename for archive purposes.

Replicator includes all of what most of us need, that is scheduled or not backups of files/folders, entirely or selectively, by using filters.

FBackup saves your data to any USB/Firewire device, local or network location. The backed up data can be either compressed (using standard zip compression) or an exact copy of the original files (mirror). You can exclude sub-folders or filter files you need to backup. If a file is in use by another program at the time of the backup, FBackup will still be able to back up that file.

Idle Backup can be configured to save your files when the computer is idle (you are away for lunch or whatever).

AutoVer can be used as a simple real time backup or as a more complex, but transparent version control system (like a realtime incremental backup). Each time you save a file it is copied to your backup folder, drive or FTP server. You can include and exclude certain files and browse the backups with the Backup Explorer.

Personal Backup will help you save a copy of your data in a folder on a local fixed or removable drive, on a Windows network server or even on an FTP server. At the destination folder the original drives (C, D, etc.) appear as subdirectories. All files may be compressed in gzip, either in toto or separated by subfolders as zip files. Optionally all data can be AES algorythm-encrypted.

Aomei Backupper is convenient and it let’s you browse its disk images to open or copy files selectively, a feature not to be found in many similar tools. It lets you also restore an image from bootable media it itself creates, or even right from the existing installation, preparing the necessary settings and then restarting to complete the restoration.

Macrium Reflect will help you clone your disk. If you think that you don’t need it, because Windows offers its own system image restore utility, you are wrong. You can have an image saved with Windows File Recovery, and another one with Macrium, but, if you are going to choose between the two, you have to choose Macrium and forget about Windows Recovery. It is one of the most reliable and easy programs to clone your disk. Feel free to try more, but I regularly use this one.

DriveImage XML lets you clone and backup partitions and logical drives. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools.

Raw Copy will copy a disk as a raw image from one drive directly to another. It is designed for people who have a faulty drive and want to transfer the data directly to another drive without doing a file by file copy. The program has a built in data recovery function which will attempt to recover data from bad sectors.

HDClone copies smaller drives onto larger ones for migrating or backing up complete installations as well as for data rescue. The download package contains a program to easily create a bootable floppy disk or CD/DVD under Windows. A floppy image, ISO image, and manual (pdf) are also enclosed.

Clonezilla Live is suitable for single machine backup and restore, while Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment; it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the harddisk. This increases the clone efficiency. Note, that the partition to be imaged or cloned has to be unmounted. Software RAID/fake RAID is not supported by default. Due to the image format limitation, the image can not be explored or mounted. Clonezilla is not the easiest way to go, especially now that Windows supports the creation of system images and other programs, such as Macrium, are far more convenient.

MailStore Home is a powerful program that will help you backup your email messages from multiple applications and web mail accounts into one secure and persistent archive. MailStore Home archives email from Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey, POP3 and IMAP (including webmail services such as Gmail and Yahoo), .eml and other files

KLS Mail Backup will allow you to back up and restore your Windows Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Firefox profile files. The backup files are stored compressed in standard Zip format.

EZ eMail Backup will help you schedule regular backups of your email program.

MoboPlay will let you transfer and sync apps, files, photos, music and videos between computer and mobile devices.

CloneApp will help you backup and restore the options of several Windows applications – directories, profile folders, registry information…

AutoCorrect Saver, to backup and restore your MS Word auto correct entries AutoCorrect Saver is a Word template that will help you to backup and restore your AutoCorrect entries.

Winamp Backup Plugin will let you easily backup and restore all of your Winamp settings, media library database, plugin settings, skins, visualization presets, tray control icon packs, file type icon libraries, even your Winamp Pro reg data.

Foobar AutoSave AutoBackup 2000 will let you save configuration and other data of Foobar2000 automatically.

Check also these guides on how to Migrate Windows to SSD easily and safely, without reinstalling anything, and how to Format / Reinstall The Easy Way