How do you backup your data? There is a good chance you don’t do it at all. Have you thought about what would you lose if your external drive fail? Let’s assume you don’t store your business data there, just personal files – holiday pictures, some documents like resume and CV, maybe some projects. For me losing my photos would be a disaster, so this is why I use data backup software.

My favourite program for data backup on Windows is freeware DFIncBackup. Some people will ask why I don’t use cloud based backup. Well, there are few reasons for that:

  • online backup can be expensive – for the same amount of money I can buy much bigger external drive (or even two and use RAID to mirror the data)
  • online backup takes time to synchronize files over the internet connection – sometimes I need my backup done instantly
  • nobody guarantees you the company you paid to keep your files is gonna be there next year
  • sometimes you can’t store your confidential business data “somewhere in the web”
  • sometimes you need to version the backups

That’s where free backup software comes to help!  DFIncBackup is very simple backup system that archives the data into .zip files using a schedule and two different backup modes. It starts with Windows by default and comes with built in CD/DVD burner if you want to backup data on CD/DVDs. There is a free version (output zip files are limited to 8GB – which is a lot) and premium ones: standard and professional. I use freeware version and I am very happy about it.

Do you know any other interesting tools? Let us know via Suggest An App!

DFIncBackup is very simple to install – just download it from web, run installer and follow the instructions. After installation you need to configure a task first. Let’s assume that we want to backup C:\Projects on regular basis.

DFIncbackup - Main Window

DFIncbackup – Main Window

How to configure DFIncBackup

We want to add task to the empty list  so we press New icon. In the popup window enter name of your backup task – it can be anything. I used name Backup Projects.
After pressing OK we get to the Task Wizard window. Press Next button and select “Selected file types” at the bottom – we want full control on files included in the backup.

DFIncBackup - Select backup template

DFIncBackup – Select backup template

Press Next to proceed to Folder Selection window:

DFIncBackup - Select backup folders

DFIncBackup – Select backup folders

Here we define which folders we want to backup.Press PLUS icon and select folder you want to archive, make sure Include Subfolders box is ticked. If you need to, you can add few different folders. After you finished adding sources, press Next button and proceed to Include file types window. Just press Next button here without changing anything (Including Mode set to All Files).

DFIncBackup - Include files

DFIncBackup – Include files

And the Exclude file types window – again don’t change anything here.

DFIncBackup - exclude files

DFIncBackup – exclude files

In Add another folders window select No.Continue with tuning target drive (folder) and press Next button.

DFIncBackup - Add another folders

DFIncBackup – Add another folders

Now it is time to select where you want your backup to be stored. I usually change Target to Folder on local disk, network, etc and choose one of my external drives (you need to remember it has to be connected to your computer all the time!).

DFIncBackup - target folders

DFIncBackup – target folders

In next window you need to make very important decision about type of the backup. Both methods need creating Full Backup as starting point – it is full copy of your folders.

DFIncBackup - Backup type

DFIncBackup – Backup type

There are two different methods of backups to choose from:

  • differential – in this mode system stores files which were added or modified since last Full Backup. It means that we will need only two backups to fully restore our data – the full backup and last differential backup. The disadvantage of this method is that backups take lots of space as same files are stored in different backup archives.
  • incremental – in this mode system stores files that were added or changed since LAST INCREMENTAL backup. Resulting size is much smaller than in differential method (new file is stored only once), but if you want to restore all the data you will need full backup and ALL incremental backups. It is not a problem if you do full backups every few days, but if you do them rarely it restoring data may be problematic.

I always go with Differential Backup, just to avoid the mess with lots of partial incremental backups. After some time I visit backup directory and manually delete old backups I don’t need anymore.

DFIncBackup - Default selection rules

DFIncBackup – Default selection rules

On the next screen I select By Date Any Changes, Enable opened files, Enable hidden files and High compression.

DFIncBackup - Tune Scheduler

DFIncBackup – Tune Scheduler

Next window is Tune scheduler where I enable scheduling for both Differential and Full Backup.

Now we have to schedule when we want our Full Backups to be created – I usually choose once per week – Monday 13:00. There are options to do backups per month or per year but I like do backups more often than this.

DFIncBackup - Full backup scheduler

DFIncBackup – Full backup scheduler

Differential Backups should be run more often – I do them twice per week: on Wednesday and Saturday.

DFIncBackup - Differential backup scheduler

DFIncBackup – Differential backup scheduler

On the next screens we can password protect our backup (I don’t use it) and what notifications we want to be displayed on different actions: errors, warnings and backup completions. We can also shut down computer after backups.

Last window is a summary, when we press Finish button the new task is added to the list. If you didn’t change the default Run backup option, the task should be started automatically. Initial backup is always Full Backup.

How to start backups manually

Once you have a task in the list, you can manually start it by pressing Start button. If you want to change task settings, select it and press Edit button – you will see nice Project properties window where you can change anything you need.

DFIncBackup - Project properties

DFIncBackup – Project properties


DFIncBackup is very good, free backup system which saved me a lot of nerves few times. I recommend that you have it configured in your system with external hard drive – you won’t regret it!

Grab your free version of DFIncBackup from here.

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