Backup
Welcome to Abel PC World : Home to smart and easy tips on  the best backup methods, data protection, system maintenance, solid software, and web design. 
DataData
In our System Backup page, we covered the all-important practice of backing up your system drive C, which should only include your operating system and your installed software programs, and never your personal data. These should be stored in a different drive D, which should be as large as possible and preferably external if you are willing to use your personal files as an on-the-go plug and play. This page covers how to back up your personal data in three different ways, which we have arbitrarily named as default, synchronized and manual. 

Default Data Backup:
Whenever feasible, this is our favorite method of data backup. By default, most, if not all, the programs you install, including windows, designate a folder in your C drive where your personal files and settings are being stored. This is usually in your Windows USER folder. The simple modification here, again whenever possible, is to change the default personal data directory of some of those programs from Drive C to Drive D. And here we are talking about your emails, documents, pictures, music, videos, contacts, favorites, browser profiles, etc. This no-brainer backup method becomes very crucial considering what we talked about in our page: System Backup. Simply put, if your system drive crashes and you must restore it to an older date you only need to worry about any Windows and installed program changes you have made in the meantime and not your personal files, which remain current and intact. To this purpose, we have created four pages to cover, using this default backup method, the following personal folders:
Windows Folders, Firefox Profile, Chrome Profile and Microsoft Outlook

Synchronized Data Backup:
Although the default backup mentioned above is the simplest and our preferred method, we also like to use synchronization, particularly when using multiple drives and computers. What is data synchronization and how do we use it best?
Per Wikipedia, "Data synchronization refers to the idea of keeping multiple copies of a dataset in coherence with one another, or to maintain data integrity." We are going to explain this process in how we like to use it most via networking and that is between two computers, which we are going to refer to as PC A and PC B. We are also going to use one of our below-mentioned four favorite synchronization software as examples. The first program in question is FreeFileSync, our number-one pick, and the "Synchronization Settings" popup screenshot we have chosen for our illustration is from version 8.6 as shown here: 



























Let's say you want to sync your documents folder between PC A left and PC B right. Then you have the follwing options:

1- Two Way Method
(usually symbolized with two arrows pointing left to PC A and right to PC B:
<-Two Way->.)
In this method, your documents data between PC A and B is made identical and the copying and updating of files goes both ways.

2- Mirror or One Way Method
(usually symbolized with one arrow pointing either to PC A or B:
Mirror->> or <<-Mirror.
In this method, the target folder is made to mirror the source folder, and in the screen above this will include the deletion of dissimilar or older files from the target folder. If you don't want this deletion to occur, then you need to select the "Update->" method. In the other two programs, we picked below, the "propagation of deletion" is included as an option in the "Mirror" method. FreeFyleSync does a good job by simplifying the grasping of these methods by its smart use of the directional icons. As you hover over each "category" and its corresponding "action" below you will see a popup note that explains each action, which you can then click to change what it does. This simplicity and straightforwardness is unmatched in the other programs we have tried.
FreeFyleSync gives you three options on how to treat deleted files from each directory. You can either simply select to send them to the recycle bin, delete them permanently, or choose the "versioning" option to save the deleted files in a designated folder. This is unlike GoodSync, for instance, which does the same thing but it stores the deletes files in hidden "gsdata" folders inside each of your sync folders. While Goodsync's default method is good in saving and allocating deleted files, we were not too fond of having many hidden "gsfolders" laying around, even after you uninstall GoodSync. For more on FreeFileSync's specs visit its page of frequently asked questions.
Another simple feature we like about FreeFileSync is the fact that you can swap your synchronization folders, from source to destination, and vice versa with one single click of the two-arrows icons between the two folders. In SyncBackFree, this feature is carried out similarly under the "Restore" icon, though when used it asks a few long questions of clarification and precaution.    
Here we hope to have explained the process of data synchronization; and though its concept and purpose seem to be the same, various programs use different ways in using their methods. We included links in the menu to the right to several capable and popular syncing software. The following description includes our four top picks:


1-
FreeFileSync:
Pros:
This is our number one pick for the simple fact that it does a good job, is easy to use and it's
FREE.
It allows to create a "batch job" that you can schedule to automate synchronization.
It allows the import and export of backup settings.
It also comes as a 64-bit portable app.
The program updates regularly.

Cons:

From what we have seen, it does not offer online storage --if you consider that a con.
The biggest drawback of FreeFileSync is its tendency to want to install crapware on your computer. Depending on the version, it may prompt you during installation if you want to install some additional software. Many users have claimed that it installed the malware OpenCandy on their computer (Wikipedia definition;) however, when we installed version 6.8 we did not experience such a thing. It is a shame that a good software would build such a reputation to the extent that a security software like Superantispyware automatically blocked our installation of FreeFileSync as soon as we double-clicked on the install file (same version mentioned above.)

2-
SyncBack Free:
Pros:
This is our number two pick, though by a slight margin and it's
FREE.
It allows to create a "batch job" that you can schedule to automate synchronization.
It allows the import and export of backup settings; and it also allows to create and view profiles in easy or expert mode; which offers more features than FreeFileSync does.
This programs also offers frequent updates.
SynckBackFree can also be run as portable app that can be found here:
http://support.2brightsparks.com/knowledgebase/articles/213441-running-syncback-from-an-external-storage-device
Cons:
You need SyncBackPro or SyncBackSE to enjoy the fuller features of the program. And though SynBackFree offers more options than FreeFileSync, it still lacks in the interface that the latter has. The syncing speed is also slower and the configuration is less straightforward.

3-
Allway Sync:
Pros:
This is our very close number-three pick because it also scores well and it's
FREE, for personal use only.
Cons:
Although it does everything FreeFileSync does and then some, it may be, in our eyes, a wee bit not as easy to use and there is a limit on the number of files that can be synced (n more than 40.000 files in a 30-day period.

4-
GoodSync:
Pros:
If it were not for the price GoodSync would be our top pick, for it not only does a solid job, but it also includes other specs, such as GoodSync Connect and several cloud sync options.
Cons:
Goodsync's power comes with a price, though worth it. The free version offered, after the trial expiration, puts a limit on the number of files that can be synchronized.

Manual Backup:
Our last method of backing up your personal data may be a must. It involves doing things old school and that is by simply burning or copying and pasting your data to external storage devices like media disks and USB flash drives. This is particularly crucial when it comes to your most sensitive data, like your identity, which you may want to keep, as it were, very far away from those clouds: the further the better (Italics APW's-:
Backup HowTo
Datamills
Backup Academy
Norton Online Backup
Mozy Online Backup
Carbonite Cloud Backup
Iperius Backup
Shawnblanc Backup Tutorial
Axcient Backup & Recovery
Avast Backup
Windows File Backup
Bvckup
Google Drive
Gladinet Cloud Backup
Microsoft Skydrive

Wikipedia Software List
Acronis True Image
Aomei Backupper
Macruum Reflect Free
EaseUs Todo Backup
Paragon Backup & Recovery
Comodo Backup
Storage Craft ShadowProtect
Backup Genie
SmartSync Pro
MozBackup
Clonezilla
DriveImage XML
Leo Backup
Laplink
Goodsync
SugarSync
Allway Sync
FreeFileSync
Windows SyncToy
SyncBack
Syncovery
BestSync