Creating a backup for the data in a computer or any electronic storage device is very important. Most equipment, including personal computers, have a good chance of “crashing,” which is the failure of the hard disk on which the data is stored. When a hard disk crashes, all the data is inevitably lost.
This possible loss is the main reason for creating backups of the data that we have and that we are likely to use sometime in the future. The frequency of backup creation depends on the usage level of the system, the kinds of files stored, the frequency of changes made to the data, and the importance of the data. Some people store a lot of files on their computers and keep adding new ones continuously. Such people need a daily or even an hourly backup.
There are different kinds of backups: full backup (creates backup for every file and folder in the system); incremental backup (only the changes are copied); unattended backup (the backup can be programmed to take place at a certain time without the active participation of the user); archive or disk image (option to create backup for just files or the whole disk); differential backup (creates backup for only changed files and newer versions of the files); and snapshot backup.
Backups can be made into a whole lot of different devices: compact disks, DVDs, floppy disks, tapes, printouts, removable hard disks, online servers, and so on. Backups can also be made into fixed media like another part of the hard disk or to another computer on the same network. Each of these has different capacities, security limits, conveniences, and risks. It is advisable to back up into more than one media for reducing risk.
The main criteria to be considered while purchasing a backup software program are the ease of operation, ability to backup without continuous monitoring, ability to handle different backup formats like hard disks and CDs, ability to restore with minimum errors, easy accessibility to backup files, ability to have different compression levels for different kinds of files, ability to backup over FTP, USB drives and networks, and ability to verify whether the files have been saved well.
There are several kinds of backup software available today. Some of the best programs include the Genie Backup Manager, NTI BackupNow!, Novastor NovaBackup, Handy Backup, Double Image, ABC Backup, Absolute Backup, Active Backup Expert, Advanced Backup, AKG Backup, Argentum Software, Avail Solutions, BackRex Backup, Backup Buddy, Data Sheriff, Disk2disk and several others. There are also free downloadable backup software programs such as TaskZip, EZBack-it-up, SyncBack, IceMirror, Version, Freebyte, Back4Win, MOB, My Own Backup, Workgroup, Simply Safe, and many more. Most of these software packages come with many other advanced functions such as password protection, restoring damaged backups, filtering of files and storing them accordingly, compression capabilities and several others. Backup software can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Some advanced software programs have to be purchased.