Serious Question: Which Backup App For Windows Can We Trust?

Good morning,

This is a research topic that I’ve really been wrestling with to the point where I’m so worried about making a bad choice that I don’t want to make any choice at all!

I need to choose a backup app to backup my data. I bought Windows 10 Pro in the hope that it’d come with a local backup solution and it does have a “backup feature” but even Microsoft doesn’t recommend it…

I searched the “Recommended Tools” and the “Forum” but it definitely seems that a definitive backup app hasn’t been chosen yet.

I know there are so many cloud storage options available but I just want to backup locally: to USB HDD’s.

To me, it seems that choosing a backup app that respects user privacy and personal user data is the most important app to choose since we’re literally giving it access to ALL of our files on multiple devices. Perhaps more important than choosing a web browser or email client or VPN app that respects user privacy.

In my research I’ve come across these open source options that have the best reviews:

https://borgbackup.readthedocs.io/en/latest/installation.html

There are so many closed source backup apps out there and I hate these yearly subscription apps as much as anyone but it definitely seems like it’s worth it to preserve the security of all of our files!

Thank you for reading my question.

http://www.urbackup.org/index.html

Windows File History

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I appreciate your reply!

I’m aware of this but even Microsoft discourages people of using this as their backup solution.

This isn’t a backup app per se but it does seem useful as it does have some great features like being able to check that data was successfully copied over to external USB HDDs and it also provides a log of the files that were backed up. I have so many small size files to backup that it’s getting hard to keep track of everything! Does anyone think this is worth using?

Windows has two backup applications, File History and Backup and Restore. It’s only the second one which is deprecated.

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Otherwise — I’ve never tried this on Windows myself so YMMV, but…—you could try out this: https://restic.net/ - it’s sort of similar to Borg which you linked to.

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Unfortunately Restic’s encryption hasn’t been audited and it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon: Code audit for restic · Issue #1515 · restic/restic · GitHub. I’d recommend using rsync to copy all important files to Cryptomator’s FUSE mount. Unlike Restic, Cryptomator has been audited (as shown on its section in PG). This results in all files being transferred to your HDD while still using common tools which are secure/reliable and available on Windows.

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Yes, well it should go without saying that if you’re backing up to a USB hard drive you should use full disk encryption on that hard drive. But maybe it doesn’t and it’s good to point out anyways :slight_smile:

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Control Panel-System and Security-Backup(Windows 7)
works both on Windows 10 and 11

What about Macrium? Acronis is also there but it has extra unneeded features

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I appreciate your replies!

However, I’ve looked at this and even Microsoft recommends a 3rd party app for local backups. Microsoft recommends their cloud storage for backup, but I’m only wanting a local backup solution.

I’m aware of Macrium and it seems really popular, but there’s so little talk about it in this community.

It’d be great if there was more discussion about safe backup apps simply because backup apps have access to ALL of your files.

GitHub - gilbertchen/duplicacy: A new generation cloud backup tool has some advantages over other solutions, for example cross-device deduplication. Haven’t used it yet, but will eventually switch to it, because managing backups for the same files on multiple devices is a bit cumbersome.

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I’m using veeam agent for microsoft windows free. Its a free software that allows file and system image backup. It’s probably not private thought, works fine for me. For this use case, the ease of use and reliability of the software is more important than absolute privacy. The backups are made encrypted on the client side, and done to another computer in my network, so data and metadata stay with me. The software does not require an inline account to install and execute, so if its sending data, its less targeted to me. You can review their privacy policy if you’re brave enough.

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I’m not aware of any significant open source backup programs. I second Macrium. It’s set-and-forget easy.

I’ve had occasion to perform several restore operations on a few of my devices’ C drives. Macrium performed flawlessly each time.

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