System and File Backup on Windows and Linux

By | June 5, 2009

Backup represents making copies of data in order to restore the original in case of a data loss. Backups can be useful for different purposes (restoring a system state you like the most, restoring certain partitions, folders or files and so on). It’s a well-known fact that the great majority of users, at least once, have suffered from serious data losses; thus there is no need to explain the importance and necessity of making backups.

Fortunately there is a significant amount of programs which make this process much easier for you. So let’s check the most popular backup software. If you feel the necessity to learn more about backup, please visit Wikipedia.

Windows Backup

Acronis True Image Home 2009


Acronis True Image Home 2009 gives you the opportunity to back up: entire PC, including Operational System and data, applications, pictures, settings and everything you may need to.

It has nice looking, user-friendly and understandable interface, so even if you are not a pro, you will be able to make a backup easily.

In addition to the easiness of the process its quickness should be mentioned as well, because it really doesn’t take a lot of time to create a copy of your PC and restore it from a major failure, or back up important files and recover them.

Here are the main characteristic features of Acronis True Image Home 2009 emphasized on its official web site:
One-click™ protection -initially, you decide what, where and when to back up. After that, backups occur automatically or with just one click.
Full text search -you will be able to search for files through multiple archives by name or by a part of the name and then restore individual files easily and quickly.
Dual Backup – archive your files to a disk and a USB drive simultaneously.
Zip format support – in addition to Acronis’ powerful TIB data compression backup format, now Acronis True Image Home 2009 supports the popular ZIP® format as well.
Automatic computer shutdown – You can now perform a backup at night and go to sleep without bothering about turning off the computer. The PC will shut down when the backup is complete.
Archive to various places – You can save full, incremental and differential backups almost anywhere. You now you have ultimate flexibility in choosing a place to store from the same data series: on a network share, CD/DVD, USB stick, FTP-server, any local internal or external hard drive. You can now also give meaningful names to incremental and differential backups, for example, “C-drive-before-repartitioning”.
In case you would like to get additional information or even to buy this software, please visit the official web site.

Symantec Norton Ghost 14.0


This is a backup product designed by Symantec – a well-known software company famous for its security, storage and systems management solutions.

Norton Ghost 14 represents a multifunctional program that meets all your needs as far as backup and recovery are concerned.

It helps you to create full system and file backups, to restore from system failures, to save recovery points to offsite locations and etc.

So let’s take a closer look at the main characteristic features of this Symantec solution that at the moment is considered to be one of the best of its kind:

Full system, file and folder backup – backs up whatever you need.

FTP backup – copies recovery points to a FTP site for easier offsite backup management.

LightsOut Restore – Restores your system with an on-disk software recovery environment—no bootable CD required.

Offsite backup – backs up your files to NAS (Network-Attached Storage) devices.

Incremental and differential backup – backs up only files that have changed.

Google Desktop™ integration – makes data recovery even faster with searchable backup indexes.

Advanced compression and encryption – minimizes storage space and helps keep sensitive documents safe.

For additional information visit Symantec’s official web site.

Image for Windows 2.30a


Image for Windows is considered to be quite an affordable and reliable drive image backup and restore solution.

It should be mentioned that on August 2008 Image for Windows was named as a winner of the “2008 Community Choice Awards” in the Disk Imaging Software category by Windows IT Pro magazine.

It’s compatible with all versions of Windows, including Windows Vista and Windows Servers.

Image for Windows runs under the Windows operating system, yet it can backup or restore any partition, including those of DOS or Linux, and even partitions encrypted by third-party software.

Among the most distinctive features the following ones should be mentioned:

Convenience – utilizes the technology provided by PHYLock™, an add-on component included in the Image for Windows package. PHYLock™ allows you to continue using your computer while the backup is locked to a point-in-time. This eliminates the inconsistencies typically experienced while backing up a partition that is in use.

Security – your backups can be secured using simple password protection, or full 256-bit AES encryption.

Maximum Compression – by default, compression is applied to the drive images you create.

Compatibility – automatically recognizes and backs up used area of FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, Ext2, Ext3, ReiserFS, and XFS partitions. Partitions with other file system types can be backed up in their entirety.  Supports all standard partitions in both an MBR or EMBR.

Windows Servers – supports both Workstation and Server versions of Windows.

Cost Effectiveness – includes Image for DOS and Image for Linux at no additional charge, making it a uniquely affordable and complete disk imaging solution.

RAID Support – Works seamlessly with on-board hardware- and firmware-based RAID.

Image File Validation – Allows you to thoroughly check the integrity of the disk image files, either as part of the backup process, or at any time thereafter.  TeraByte imaging products are renowned for their thorough and accurate validation process.

Here you can read more about it.

The picture was taken from here

Paragon Drive Backup 9.0


Paragon Drive Backup 9.0 represents feature-rich software that managed to get quite a significant appreciation from a great amount of users.

It easily restores your system whenever disaster strikes, and optimizes storage utilization to keep your system running at top speed.

In addition to that, this powerful application provides you with a new approach to file backup and enhanced recovery tools.

Here are the key features of the given solution:

Complete Recovery Environment on USB Flash Drive – the Recovery Media Builder allows the user to create bootable recovery media on a USB flash drive, then boot the PC and perform any operations directly from flash drive in case of operating system corruption or boot problems.

Built-in Scheduler – use powerful built-in scheduler to perform regular backup, clone, or restore operations.

Paragon File-level Backup™ and File-level Complement™ – an innovative file-level protection system that allows users to protect all files, including emails, Outlook files, photos, music, videos, spreadsheets and other documents from damage through the creation of a backup copy.

Dual-boot Backup Capsule – provides Linux and DOS recovery environments for a bootable Backup Capsule. Now it’s possible to choose your recovery environment and keep the benefits of both Linux and DOS (safe mode) environments.

Paragon Adaptive Restore™ – a powerful and unique technology which allows restoring Windows Vista and XP on completely different hardware or even on a virtual machine.

Blu-ray disc support – burn backup archives to Blu-ray discs. A single layer disc can store 25 GB, more than five times the capacity of a single layer DVD.

If you need some extra information, please visit Paragon’s official web site.

The picture was taken from here

Migo PC Backup Pro 10


Migo PC Backup becomes more and more popular. In fact there are a lot of reasons for that, among which the most important are: user friendliness, functionality and flexibility.

Its Flexible Scheduler takes the hassle out of making backups, so that you won’t have to remember when to do it. You just select your options and the frequency it backs up, and are rest assured that your valuable files are protected.

Here are the features that should be emphasized:

Smart Select technology allows you to backup your Photos, Music, Documents, or Emails with a couple clicks.

Basic and Advanced Modes for easy access to only the features you need.

Image based Disaster Recovery backup takes a snapshot of your entire PC to quickly restore your system in the event of a system crash or hardware failure.

Virus Scanning keeps your backup free from infection.

Email Log Delivery automatically sends a status report after each Backup or Copy.

Device Support – works with your backup device including CD/DVD, Blu-ray, local or network drives, USB drives, flash drives, Tape drives, and other removable storage devices.

You can find more about it here.

The picture was taken from here

NTI Backup Now 5


NTI Backup Now 5 improving on the best PC backup protection available is considered to be one of the most comprehensive and easiest solution for backing up your valuable data.
NTI’s newest version seems to be even more user-friendly. It is the backup software that provides completely modular upgrade path. Start with Standard version for stand-alone and complete network backup of all attached PCs. Backup to Hard Drives, Flash Drives, CD, DVD or choose any attached drive letter.
Here are the main characteristic features:

NTI’s EasyStep® interface to backup, restore, and migrate Data

Security – secure 128-bit or 256-bit data encryption

Extensive Backup Device Support – CD-R/RW, DVD-R/-RW/-RAM, DVD+R/+RW, internal/external/network hard drives, FTP servers, MO, Zip, Jaz, USB pen drives, and more!

Dynamic Drive Support™ – Our software is constantly updated to ensure compatibility with the newest CD/DVD writers.

Password Protection – Protect your backups from unauthorized access.

Advanced file filtering for improved control of your backup jobs.

You can visit this page, if you need more info.

The picture was taken from here

Cobian Backup 9 Linux Backup

In fact this program differs enough from the ones described before, however I felt the necessity to include its review as well (I will explain why in a moment).
Cobian Backup 9 represents a multi-threaded program that can be used to schedule and backup your files and directories from their original location to other directories/drives in the same computer or other computer in your network. FTP backup is also supported in both directions (download and upload).
This program uses very few resources and can be running on the background on your system, checking your backup schedule and executing your backups when necessary.

Cobian Backup is not an usual backup application: it only copies your files and folders in original or compressed mode to other destination, creating a security copy as a result. So Cobian Backup can be better described as a “Scheduler for security copies”. Cobian Backup supports several methods of compression and strong encryption. Thus you are not able to make a system backup and some other things, but the point is that this program is FREE, so I think you can find it to be useful.

As regards the main features they are the following:

Support for 7zip compression

Pausing the backup process – you can pause the backup in any place

UFT transfers – FTP operations can use UTF transfers if the server supports it

To download or to get additional info, please visit this page. The image was taken from here

Keep 0.4.0
It is completely free to download and use without any sort of trial or restrictions. Moreover, fwbackups is open-source, i.e. anybody can use, share it and improve it.

Keep 0.4.0 represents an automatic backup program that allows users to set the parameters of the backup, including the frequency and the number of backups. It’s absolutely free.
Originally it was designed to be a simple backup system for KDE. Unfortunately since November 2006 it had stopped to be maintained.
It’s really easy to make a backup: you select a directory to backup, you select the directory in which you want to backup it, you set up some options (eg. frequency) and it’s done! Of course you can add later some other directories.A built-in daemon automatically performs the backups when they are needed.

Here are the main features of this app:

Simple graphical user interface

Backup size preview

Backup Logging

Integrates into KNotify to use events

Uploader system to forward backups to external devices, over ftp, etc.

Please visit this page to download or to get any additional info.

The image was taken from here

Fwbackups 1.43.3


Fwbackups is a multifunctional backup program that gives you to backup your documents anytime and anywhere.
Fwbackups has really nice looking and simple interface. With support for scheduled backups and backing up to remote computers, you will never have to worry about losing your data again.
As far as the features are concerned they are the following:

Cross-platform –  it doesn’t matter if you’re running Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X or Linux – fwbackups will protect you from data loss. This also makes fwbackups handy if you’d like to move your files from one computer to another – just make a backup on one machine and restore it on the other.

Flexible backup configuration – our development team didn’t sacrifice any features when designing fwbackups. Choose between a variety of backup format and backup modes, including the archive format and clone copy mode for recovering data off of damaged disks.

Backup your files to any computer –  fwbackups can backup files to a locally attached drive like USB memory keys or to a remote computer such as a backup server, making it perfect for both home and corporate environments.

Backup the entire computer – create disk images of so that the entire operating system, documents and applications are safe.

Scheduled and one-time backups – choose to run a backup once (on demand) or periodically so you never have to worry about losing your data again.

Speed – make your backups faster by copying only the changes since your last backup with the incremental or differential backup modes.

You can download it here.

The image was taken from here



Clonzilla represents a console based backup solution that is very similar to well-known Symantec Ghost according to its functionality.

Clonezilla is based on DRBL, Partition Image, ntfsclone, partclone, and udpcast, allowing you to do bare metal backup and recovery (the process of rebuilding a computer after a serious falure).

There are two types of Clonezilla to download – Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition).

Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore and Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. It should be emphasized that Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the hard disk the fact that really increases the clone efficiency.

There are several characteristic features to mention:

Opportunity to save Hark Disk Drive (HDD) image both to local and external HDD

Image distribution via network or storage medium

Different file systems are supported – ext2, ext3, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of Linux, and FAT, NTFS of MS Windows. You can therefore clone Linux or MS Windows. For these file systems, only used blocks in partition are saved and restored. For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla

LVM2 (LVM version 1 is not) under Linux

Multicast is supported in Clonezilla server edition, which is suitable for massive cloning. You can also remotely use it to save or restore a bunch of computers if PXE and Wake-on-LAN are supported in your clients

To download and read more about it, please visit this page.

The image was taken from here
PartImage 0.6.7


Partimage is a Linux utility which saves partitions having a supported filesystem (most Linux and Windows file systems are supported) to an image file.
The image file can be compressed with the gzip / bzip2 programs to save disk space, and they can be splitted into multiple files to be copied on CDs / DVDs. Moreover you can save partitions across the network.
The partition can be restored if there is a problem on the partition (file system error, virus, error in data, and etc.), from the image file. This software is commonly used to install the same image to multiple computers that have identical hardware over a network.

As in Clonzilla, for speed and efficiency, free blocks are not written to the image file. Partimage also works for large, very full partitions. For example, a full 1 GB partition can be compressed with gzip down to 400MB.

The features of this program include:

Support for the following file systems – Ext2fs / Ext3fs, Reiser3, FAT16 / FAT 32, HPFS, JFS, and XFS

Beta support for UFS, HFS

NTFS is not fully supported

Here you can more detailed information.

The image was taken from here

Mondo Rescue


Mondo backs up your GNU/Linux server or workstation to tape, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R[W], DVD+R[W], NFS or hard disk partition. In case of a data loss, you will be able to restore all of your data, or as much as you want, from bare metal.

Mondo is in use by Lockheed-Martin, Nortel Networks, Siemens, HP, IBM, NASA’s JPL, the US Dept of Agriculture, dozens of smaller companies, and tens of thousands of users.

It supports LVM 1/2, RAID, ext2, ext3, ext4, JFS, XFS, ReiserFS, VFAT, and can support additional file systems easily: just e-mail the mailing list with your request. Moreover it supports software RAID as well as most hardware RAID controllers. It supports adjustments in disk geometry, including migration from non-RAID to RAID.

Mondo runs on all major Linux distributions (RedHat, RHEL, SuSE, SLES, Mandriva, Debian, Gentoo) and is getting better all the time. You may even use it to backup non-Linux partitions, such as NTFS.

And the main point is that it’s free!

Here are the features of this software:

Migration from non-RAID to RAID – backup a non-RAID file system and restore it as RAID including the root partition

Different formats – backup a system running on one format and restore as another format

Backup Linux/Windows systems, including the boot sectors

Verify the integrity of a computer

Here is the official page of this program.

The image was taken from here

One thought on “System and File Backup on Windows and Linux

  1. Jim C.

    This is a great article. I think you hit all the big players and did a good job evaluating their relative strengths. The sreen shots are nice touch, and help users to visual the experince.

    I’d like to suggest one other, Kleo Bare Metal Backup for Server. It has the ability to backup to hard drive, cd/dvd or even to store backups on the network.

    Kleo is free for any use (commercial & personal)

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