Best way to keep back-ups, when using 2 different PCs?

hughjanus

Reputable
Jun 4, 2014
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Hi everyone,

So basically, I have 2 different PCs (a desktop & a laptop), and I'm wondering what the best/easiest way would be, to ensure I have all my files fully backed up on both devices, as well as on my external HDD?

In the past, when I just had my 1 PC - To back-up, I would just simply copy & paste all my files on my PC, to my external HDD. So very simple & easy.


But now with 2 PCs, things have got a lot more complicated - I might have a newer version of 1 file on my desktop, but then have a newer version of another file on my laptop.

This (currently) makes backing-up a very tedious process, as I have to carefully scan through each folder & file, and work out which PC has the newer version, and therefore has to be copied across to the other.

For example;
1) "Doc 1" - I may have edited on my desktop on 7th January, but on my laptop I still have the older copy that was last saved 3rd January. Therefore, I need to copy the newer version of this file from my desktop, to my laptop.
2) "Doc 2" - Whereas this file, I've last edited on my laptop 5th January, but it's now my desktop where I have the older copy, that was last saved 1st January. Therefore, I instead need to do the inverse, and copy from my laptop to my desktop.


Anyone have any solutions, of how best to back-up/ensure I have the most recent versions of my files on all my machines?

Surely there must be others who have this multi-machine issue? haha

Thanks in advance
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
You're talking about 2 different things - backups and syncing.

For the syncing, you should really only have one copy of the file, accessible from both the desktop and the laptop.
A shared folder, or shared external drive, or even OneDive/DropBox.
You work on that one file, from whatever system.
That way, there is no issue with differing edits, etc.

For the backups, no problem. Many of the current Imaging tools will do this easily.
In my realm, I have an individual folder for each system, and a regularly scheduled backup routine.
Read here, and scale up or down as needed: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3383768/backup-situation-home.html
 

hughjanus

Reputable
Jun 4, 2014
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Thanks for the info.

Yes I think something like a OneDrive/Dropbox would be the ideal scenario, only problem is, I'm often using my laptop in areas without WiFi, and I've sync issues in the past with both iCloud & Dropbox (e.g. - certain files not getting transferred over, or only parts of documents).

For backups, had a look at the thread you linked to, but could you explain a little more about what you mean by "imaging"?
Is that some way of having a program automatically scan your system, figure out which files have been updated & transfer them across?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


Imaging. I use Macrium Reflect for this.
Either a Full Image or an Incremental, or a Differential.

A Full image is the whole drive.
An Incremental is all the changes since the last Full or Incremental
A Differential is all the changes since the last Full Image was done.

This is only for disaster recovery backups, not for files you use every day.

There are a couple of other tools that will sync files and folders between two drives, on a schedule or on demand.
FreeFileSync, or SyncBackFree.
I've used both in the past. Very configurable, as to exactly how you want to sync.
 

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