Backup Software Guides

This article will show you how to set up many types of backup software, step-by-step.

If you need to pull data off of a broken computer, please see our Live Linux Session article first.

File and Folder Backups

These tools will back up individual files and folders on your system, and require you to manually specify a directory to back up.

Dropbox (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

  1. First, go to www.dropbox.com and create an account if you do not have one already. You will need a valid E-mail address and you must have access to it.

  2. Go to the Dropbox webpage.

  3. Create a sub-folder of the Dropbox folder (such as “Files”) and use this exclusively to store your files.

  4. Next, follow the steps for your device:

 

Desktop instructions:
  1. Download the client for Windows, Mac, or Linux.

  2. Sign into Dropbox in the client and it will begin syncing with Dropbox.

  3. Once it has finished syncing, you can either move documents into the Dropbox/Files sub-folder mentioned above, or (optionally) you can create a symbolic link to them. Dropbox will recognize the new files and begin syncing them.

To create a symbolic link on Windows:

  • Shift-right-click in the Dropbox\Files sub-folder
  • Click “Open command window here”
  • Use mklink /J Foldername C:\Path\To\Foldername.

To create a symbolic link on Mac/Linux:

  • Open a Terminal in the Dropbox/Files sub-folder or navigate to there using cd
  • Use ln -s /path/to/foldername.

 

Android instructions:
  1. Download the app for Android.

  2. Sign into Dropbox in the app. You can now download individual files to your device.

  3. Download the Dropsync app for Android.

  4. Open the Dropsync app and sign in.

  5. Go to the synced folders tab, and click the “+” at the bottom to create a new synced folder. Set the local folder to whatever you want (on my device I use /storage/emulated/0/Dropbox) and set the remote folder to the “Files” sub-folder mentioned above. Set the sync method to two-way and set sync enabled. Click “SAVE” and syncing will begin. Now, your Dropbox will be synced to your device in the folder you set.

 

iOS instructions:
  1. Download the app for iOS.

  2. Sign into Dropbox in the app. You can now download individual files to your device.

  3. Unfortunately, there is no way to sync folders on iOS. You’re limited to individual files.

 

MEGA Sync Client (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry)

  1. First, go to mega.nz and create an account if you do not have one already. You will need a valid E-mail address and you must have access to it.

  2. Next, follow the steps for your device:

 

Desktop instructions:

  1. Download the client for Windows, Mac, or Linux.

  2. Sign into MEGA in the client and it will begin syncing with MEGA.

  3. Once it has finished syncing, you can either move documents into the MEGA folder, or (optionally) you can create a symbolic link to them. MEGA will recognize the new files and begin syncing them.

To create a symbolic link on Windows:

  • Shift-right-click in the MEGA folder
  • Click “Open command window here”
  • Use mklink /J Foldername C:\Path\To\Foldername.

To create a symbolic link on Mac/Linux:

  • Open a Terminal in the MEGA folder or navigate to there using cd
  • Use ln -s /path/to/foldername.

 

Mobile instructions:

  1. Download the app for Android or download the app for iOS or download the app for BlackBerry.

  2. Sign into MEGA in the app. You can now download individual files and folders to your device.

  3. Unfortunately, there is no way to sync folders on mobile. You’re limited to downloading individual files and folders. Files added to downloaded folders are not synced.

 

Web browser instructions:

  1. Download the Chrome/Chromium extension or download the Firefox extension.

  2. Just use the MEGA website normally, and it will now work properly for downloading files.

 

Google Drive (Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, iOS)

  1. First, go to www.google.com and create an account if you do not have one already. You will be given a Gmail E-mail address.

  2. Go to the Google Drive webpage.

  3. Create a sub-folder of the Google Drive folder (such as “Files”) and use this exclusively to store your files.

  4. Next, follow the steps for your device:

 

Desktop instructions:

  1. Download the client for Windows or Mac.

  2. Sign into Google Drive in the client and it will begin syncing with Google Drive.

  3. Once it has finished syncing, you can either move documents into the Google Drive/Files sub-folder mentioned above, or (optionally) you can create a symbolic link to them. Google Drive will recognize the new files and begin syncing them.

To create a symbolic link on Windows:

  • Shift-right-click in the Google Drive\Files sub-folder
  • Click “Open command window here”
  • Use mklink /J Foldername C:\Path\To\Foldername.

To create a symbolic link on Mac/Linux:

  • Open a Terminal in the Google Drive/Files sub-folder or navigate to there using cd
  • Use ln -s /path/to/foldername.

 

Android instructions:

  1. Download the app for Android.

  2. Sign into Google Drive in the app. You can now download individual files to your device.

  3. Download the Drivesync app for Android.

  4. Open the Drivesync app and sign in.

  5. Go to the synced folders tab, and click the “+” at the bottom to create a new synced folder. Set the local folder to whatever you want (on my device I use /storage/emulated/0/GoogleDrive) and set the remote folder to the “Files” sub-folder mentioned above. Set the sync method to two-way and set sync enabled. Click “SAVE” and syncing will begin. Now, your Google Drive will be synced to your device in the folder you set.

 

iOS instructions:

  1. Download the app for iOS.

  2. Sign into Google Drive in the app. You can now download individual files to your device.

  3. Unfortunately, there is no way to sync folders on iOS. You’re limited to individual files.

 

ChromeOS instructions:

TODO

 

OneDrive (Windows, Android, iOS)

  1. First, go to www.microsoft.com and create an account if you do not have one already. It is recommended to have a valid E-mail address, but you can also be provided with an Outlook address instead.

  2. Go to the OneDrive webpage.

  3. Create a sub-folder of the OneDrive folder (such as “Files”) and use this exclusively to store your files.

  4. Next, follow the steps for your device:

 

Windows 7 instructions:

  1. Download the client for Windows 7.

  2. Sign into OneDrive in the client and it will begin syncing with OneDrive.

 

Windows 8.1 and 10

They will already have OneDrive installed (it can be configured via PC Settings), but you need to sign in with a Microsoft account on your PC to use it. If you don’t want to do this, see below.

 

If the above options don’t work, or aren’t available to you, try this. Any version of Windows, XP SP2 and above, instructions:

  1. Download the unofficial syncDriver client.

  2. Install it, and sign in. You need to click the “More…” button on the bottom-right.

  3. Select where you want OneDrive to sync (for example, yourusername\OneDrive)

  4. An important note, one feature of this client is currently broken. Deleting files and folders locally doesn’t delete the copy stored in OneDrive. However, all other functions work: Changing files and creating files locally or on OneDrive sync correctly, and deleting files from OneDrive will sync the deletions to you.

 

For all of the above:

Once it has finished syncing, you can either move documents into the OneDrive\Files sub-folder mentioned above, or (optionally) you can create a symbolic link to them. OneDrive will recognize the new files and begin syncing them.

To create a symbolic link on Windows:

  • Shift-right-click in the OneDrive\Files sub-folder
  • Click “Open command window here”
  • Use mklink /J Foldername C:\Path\To\Foldername.

 

Android instructions:

  1. Download the app for Android.

  2. Sign into OneDrive in the app. You can now download individual files to your device.

  3. Download the OneSync app for Android.

  4. Open the OneSync app and sign in.

  5. Go to the synced folders tab, and click the “+” at the bottom to create a new synced folder. Set the local folder to whatever you want (on my device I use /storage/emulated/0/OneDrive) and set the remote folder to the “Files” sub-folder mentioned above. Set the sync method to two-way and set sync enabled. Click “SAVE” and syncing will begin. Now, your OneDrive will be synced to your device in the folder you set.

 

iOS instructions:

  1. Download the app for iOS.

  2. Sign into OneDrive in the app. You can now download individual files to your device.

  3. Unfortunately, there is no way to sync folders on iOS. You’re limited to individual files.

 

SyncToy (Windows)

  1. First, make sure .NET Framework 3.5 is turned on. To do so, go to Control Panel > Programs and Features > Turn Windows features on or off. Check the .NET Framework 3.5 box and click OK.

  2. Go to the SyncToy download page and download the appropriate SyncToy Setup Package – x86 for 32-bit Windows, x64 for 64-bit Windows. If you are unsure of which version you are running, go to Control Panel > System.

  3. Double-click the SyncToy Setup package to install. This is the first screen you will see when the install is complete. As you can see from this screenshot, the Left Folder will be the folder you want to back up, and the Right Folder is the target folder for your backup. You will want to create a folder on your backup drive for the next step.

  4. Click Create New Folder Pair. First, click Left Folder, and browse to the folder to be backed up. Then, click on Right Folder, and select the target folder you have created. In this example, the folder to be backed up is Pictures on the C: drive, and the target folder is the Pictures Backup folder created on an external drive (H:, in this case). Click Next >.

  5. You will now be prompted to choose from 3 backup options for your folder pair – Synchronize, Echo, and Contribute. The Short Explanations describe how the folders will be synced. The Synchronized option is useful for dynamic files that need to be synced between machines – documents, spreadsheets, etc., via a USB drive. The Echo option should be used with care, as anything deleted from the Left Folder will also be deleted from the Right Folder when the SyncToy is run again. The Contribute option is a cumulative backup that will not delete anything from the backup folder. After selecting an option, click Next >.

  6. Name your folder pair. Click Finish.

  7. The new folder pair will now be listed in the left-hand pane of the SyncToy window. Click Preview to see what will be synced. This is always a good idea, as the Preview window will show what, if any, files will be overwritten or deleted. In this example, the folder pair is set to Echo, and as it is the first run, nothing will be overwritten or deleted. In this example, pictures have been deleted and added from the left C: folder, and running the pair will mirror the right H: folder accordingly.

  8. You can now create as many folder pars as needed. NOTE: When using removable USB drives, make sure the drive path Windows assigns to the removable device matches the path set up in SyncToy. To change drive path assignments for removable drives, use the Disk Management utility. This can be done in the Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management. Under Storage > Disk Management, right-click on the drive you want to configure and select Change Drive Letter and Paths…. There you can change the drive letter that’s assigned to the removable drive.

 

Rsync (Linux)

Set up your ~/.ssh/config to store remote host configuration (optional)

Something like this will do, making sure you use the details given to you by your storage provider:

Host bs backupserver cust1234.servername.provider.tld Hostname cust1234.servername.provider.tld Port 12345 User cust1234 LogLevel VERBOSE Compression yes IdentityFile ~/.ssh/path/to/SSH/key StrictHostKeyChecking no TCPKeepAlive yes UpdateHostKeys ask

Create cron jobs to run backups on the basis you specify. Use crontab -e to edit your crontab file, then add jobs as you see fit

Examples:

@daily rsync -avz ~/Documents/ bs:~/Documents ## Copies the contents of ~/Documents to ~/Documents on the remote server

@weekly rsync -avz ~/Music bs:~/ ## Copies the ~/Music directory and its contents to ~/Music on the remote server

For more details, check the man pages available for your distro, specifically, use commands man 5 ssh_config, man 1 rsync and man 5 crontab.

 

Disk Image Backups

These tools will create full images of your drives. These are the most thorough, but require tons of extra space elsewhere.

CloneZilla (Any OS; Live Media)

  1. Download CloneZilla as an ISO file.
  2. Put the ISO file onto bootable media using the Step 1 section of this guide.
  3. Reboot the computer and boot the flash drive or DVD.
  4. CloneZilla is a complicated tool, so please refer to the CloneZilla documentation for more information.

 

Veeam Endpoint Backup (Windows)

Step by step picture guide for creating a full system image.

 

 

 

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