Backup Software – Which software to use and how to use it


In our last blog entry, we covered the different hardware options for backing up your important files. In this entry we will look at the different software options for backing up your data.

In most versions of Windows, Microsoft included a software backup solution for Windows users. Unfortunately, it was not included by default with Windows XP Home versions nor is it included in Home versions of Windows Vista nor Windows 7. However, you can download a free version of Microsoft Backup for both Windows Vista and Windows 7 but not for Windows XP. You can install the Windows XP version if you have the original Windows XP installation disk to get the Windows NT Backup install files.

The problem with Windows native backup solutions is that they are very simple and not very flexible. However, there is no need to despair or settle for a solution that doesn’t meet your needs. There are many software solutions that allow a full, flexible solution that are still simple to use but offer a robust backup that secures your data and will give you “peace of mind”.

Many security software companies also offer backup solutions as well as many companies  who specialize specifically in backup software. Norton and McAfee have both free standing backup software as well as backup software bundled into their security solutions. EMC and Acronis are two companies who specialize in backup software. While Carbonite has a backup solution that relies on a Cloud (online) backup solution but also allows you to make a local backup.

When choosing a backup solution, you need to decide the type of hardware that you want to use and if you desire a Cloud solution as well. You also need to determine how often you want your files to be backed up. Many solutions allow daily backups as well as hourly or even continuous backups. You also need to determine how much data that you need to backup as some Cloud solutions charge monthly by the amount of data that you store on their servers.

Now before you dismiss Cloud backup for security reasons, I will tell you that your data is encrypted by the software on your PC and won’t be decrypted until it is returned to you (either to your current PC or to a device of your choosing). You can and should also encrypt your data on any other backup device thay you are using just in case it falls into the hands of an unauthorized person. Most good backup software allows you to easily password protect your data at levels approved by the Department of Defense for data security.

So a few things to consider when selecting backup software would be:

1. Do you want continuous backup or hourly or daily?

2. Can you both backup and restore files easily?

3. Can you make a backup (image) of your entire hard drive?

4. Is a Cloud backup solution provided?

5. Are the advanced backup options available to suit your needs?

6. Can you restore your files to new hardware (a new PC or other device)?

7. Will the software automatically synchronize different versions of your files?

8. Can the files be restore to more complex disk configuration (RAID or Dynamic Disks)?

If you have a need or just want information about Backup Solutions, feel free to contact PCRx at (276) 322-1578 or e-mail at

Of course if you are in the Bluefield area, you can stop by our shop at 36811 Governor G.  C. Peery Hwy (U.S. 460) for a face-to-face chat and a cup of coffee.