Time Machine like software for Windows 10

OffbeatBryce

Commendable
Mar 27, 2017
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0
1,630
Hello,

Is there a free or very cheap software for Windows 10 that lets me backup my PC all internal and external drives to more than one hard drive? The built in backup system in Windows 10 only allows one drive to be used for a backup while Time Machine on a Mac allows me to swap out multiple drives to use as a backup.

I am looking to backup everything up onto one hard drive that's at my house and then once a month take a drive from my parents house and swap that in place of my existing backup drive so that I have a duplicate drive at another location. This can be done with Time Machine but not the native Windows 10 backup system.
 
Apple did a really nice job with Time Machine, hiding most of the complexities of backups from the user while not skimping on capability. Backup software for the PC which does the same thing exists, but requires you to be a bit more knowledgeable about what the software is doing.

Macrium Reflect Free is probably the best in terms of robustness, feature set, and speed. Its primary drawback is that the free version does not support incremental backups (more on that later).
https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree

EaseUS ToDo Backup is the only free one I know of which supports incremental backups. Its interface is a bit clumsier, and it's slower.
https://www.easeus.com/backup-software/tb-free.html

There are basically three forms of backup. Complete, differential, and incremental. A complete backup is just what it sounds like - a copy of everything is made to the backup device.

A differential backup only copies changes from the complete backup. So if Sunday you do a complete backup, the Monday differential backup will be all the changes from the Sunday backup. The Tuesday differential backup will be all the changes from the Sunday backup. The Wednesday differential backup will be all the changes from the Sunday backup. etc. So the disadvantage is that the longer you go between complete backups, the bigger the differential backups get. The advantage is that you only need the complete and one differential backup to do a complete restore. The other differential backups can become corrupted and it doesn't matter.

An incremental backup only copies chances from the most recent backup. So if Sunday you do a complete backup, the Monday incremental backup will be all the changes form the Sunday backup. The Tuesday incremental backup will be all the changes from the Monday backup. The Wednesday incremental backup will be all the changes from the Tuesday backup. etc. The advantage is that the backup sizes are smaller since you're only backing up each changed file once. The disadvantage is that doing a complete restore requires every incremental backup file all the way back to the complete backup. If one of those incremental backup files becomes corrupted, you lose the data which was in that backup.

As best as I can tell, Time Machine does incremental backups. It also lets you flip between the backups on a per-file basis (so you can view each day's backup for a specific file). All the PC backup software I've used works on a per-backup basis. If you want to look at a version of a file from a different backup, you have to load that backup.

The other difference is the PC backups work in terms of backup plans. One plan backs up a chosen set of disks or folders, to a chosen backup device/folder. If you want to backup to two different devices, you need to create two backup plans and run the correct plan depending on which drive is connected. (Actually it shouldn't matter for differential backups as long as you have identical complete backups on both backup drives. But incremental backups cannot be crossed up.)
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Good points above RE: Macrium, and Differential vs Incremental.

I have the paid version on my main system, free on all the others.
I found the functionality worth the price. And I am a cheap bastid when it comes to software. I generally only buy, if the paid version has significant features over the free version.

All my backups are scheduled, runs unattended.

And the one time I had to actually use it in its intended purpose, it more than paid for itself.
One of my SSD's died a couple of weeks ago. 960GB SanDisk, with 605GB consumed space.
Poof...just died. Don't know why, mostly don't care. New one already in the shipping pipeline.

Put in a new drive, click click click...recover the entire 605GB, zero faults.
 

OffbeatBryce

Commendable
Mar 27, 2017
63
0
1,630


I was more asking can I use more than one hard drive as the backup? With Time machine I can switch what drive I want to backup everything to so I can use more than one drive that will be stored in various locations. With Windows 10 built in software when I switch to a different drive as the main backup it tells me I can't use more than one drive and only one backup drive at a time.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator


Yes. You can cause Macrium to do multiple backups, to wherever you want.
Simply create and save a couple of different routines. Invoke each on command, or on a schedule.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Try to use EaseUs Todo Backup. You can download the latest version here https://rocketfiles.com/windows. It has a batch of tools to prevent the lose of data before reinstalling the whole system.
Why would someone download it from there, instead of direct from EaseUS?
 

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