My favorite free file-based backup program: Areca Backup

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by MrBrian, Jan 17, 2010.

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  1. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I recently tried out 5 free file-based backup programs. My favorite easily was Areca Backup, and I highly recommend it.

    My requirements of a file-based backup program:
    • Is free
    • Uses non-proprietary storage format
    • Can restore exact contents as of any backup date, including non-restoration of deleted files
    • Can do archive integrity check
    • Can do incremental backups to save space
    • Ability to list, view, and recover any backed up version of a given file

    I tried the latest versions of Cobian Backup, Comodo Backup, GFI Backup Home Edition, Toucan, and Areca Backup. Areca Backup was the only program that met all of my aforementioned requirements.

    Cons of Areca Backup:
    • Can't backup locked files (they can be skipped though)
    • Can't backup to CD or DVD within the program
    • Information presented to user upon detection of archive corruption could be improved
    • Backup scheduling can be done only with operating system scheduler

    Areca Backup has many features. I recommend that new users view the tutorial. This is a gem of a program :).

    Download is available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/areca/files/.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  2. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thank you,

    I require versioned files, is the program capable.

    Mind you if its doing incrementals I guess it must be.
     
  3. firzen771

    firzen771 Registered Member

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    does it support windows 7?
     
  4. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Documentation:
    Since Vista is supported, I'm guessing it will work on Windows 7 also. It doesn't install services or drivers or do any low-level access, if I remember correctly. It's a Java-based app.

    Any version of a backed up file can be listed, viewed, or restored. This screenshot shows 13 versions of a backed up file.

    Another feature Areca Backup has is user-initiated merging of datewise-contiguous archives in order to consolidate storage requirements. So you could, for example, do a daily backup, and then later on consolidate 7 older daily backups into one weekly backup, merge 4 older weekly backups into a monthly backup, etc. The documentation also mentions a "Backup strategy" feature which may allow you to automate such user-initiated archive merges.

    Note: users of v7.1.5 may wish to avoid Delta storage mode until v7.1.6, because the news section for v7.1.6 beta states that "a bug that could occur when recovering single files in 'delta' mode has been fixed."
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  5. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    I realize one can use Windows scheduler, via command line, but that's not as convenient as I'd like.
     
  6. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    The program certainly looks very nice.

    Since there is no ability to set a backup schedule I take it that the program will not watch for changed files and initiate a backup when it finds a change. That is, all backups must be user initiated. Is this correct? Also, I am not sure what a locked file is, is that a file that is in use or something else?

    I would require a program that would update a backup as the files are modified and saved even if they were still open and in use. I have a list of possible file backup program candidates but have not gotten around to testing them yet, it would be nice if I can add this program to the list.
     
  7. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    No - the program can generate a backup script, which you can then schedule with your operating system's task scheduler.

    A locked file is one that is in use. It appears that locked files cannot be backed up with Areca Backup.

    Documentation:
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2010
  8. SourMilk

    SourMilk Registered Member

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    I've found robocopy that comes with Windows 7 satisfies my humble file copy needs. Pros: free and reliable. Cons: it helps to know how to make batch files.

    SourMilk out
     
  9. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    That's what I was afraid of, too bad. Thanks for the info.
     
  10. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    You're welcome :).

    If you still want to use Areca Backup despite its apparent lack of ability to backup locked files, you could first run a program which can copy locked files - such as FreeFileSync - to mirror the folder(s) that you wish to backup to a different location, and then use Areca Backup to backup the mirrored folder(s). FreeFileSync has a command-line version, and Areca Backup allows you to run commands before a backup starts.
     
  11. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

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    Thanks, I may give that a try.
     
  12. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I'm testing Areca Backup on Windows 7 x64 right now. Everything appears to be working as expected, with the exception of an error message about missing file MSVCR71.DLL that appears every time the program starts. I believe this error occurs only on x64, and is merely an annoyance, one that can be solved by following the instructions found at http://sourceforge.net/tracker/index.php?func=detail&aid=2421240&group_id=171505&atid=858191.

    Areca Backup v7.1.6 is available, which fixes the 'delta' mode bug that I mentioned earlier in this thread.
     
  13. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    FreeFileSync installs a program called RealtimeSync that allows one to run any command when anything changes in monitored folders.
     
  14. YeOldeStonecat

    YeOldeStonecat Registered Member

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    A quick glance, I couldn't find the answer. What is its ability to "over write" media? That's one feature that's hard to find with free backup software...the ability for it to automatically overwrite media..so you can keep recycling media without having to manually clear the media. Or...better yet...have it keep a set amount of backups on the media..say....keep 3x backups on the media..but overwrite backup jobs older than 3.
     
  15. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    There is a wizard for Backup Strategy. I haven't used it.

    From the documentation:
     
  16. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Areca Backup v7.1.7 is available.

    Areca Backup v7.1.6 has been working very well for me so far. The only issue I've experienced is that the modification date of restored read-only files is set to the current time; this is a known bug.
     
  17. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Areca Backup v7.1.8 is available.

     
  18. Spiral123

    Spiral123 Registered Member

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    I have been using Areca for over a year, and it does do a great job. I especially like storing files in a zip format, and the versioning of the incremental backup files.
     
  19. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    Areca Backup v7.1.9 is available.

     
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