Backup Your Windows Data the Simple Way – with Cobian Backup

Cobian Backup is a real treat for anyone looking for an easy-to-use backup solution for their Windows desktop.  The latest release, Cobian Backup 9 (Amanita), provides support for Windows NT, 2000, 2003, XP and Vista.  This multi-threaded application can be used to schedule and backup your files and folders from your local system to a local or network connected storage location of your choosing.  Bi-directional FTP support is also available.

You can run Cobian Backup as either an application or a Windows service.  In this tutorial we will examine installing the program as a service, which will be fitting for most common installations.

Cobian Main Screen

Installing Cobian Backup

Installation couldn’t be any easier.  The default settings are preset to allow for optimal installation on most systems.  Start by downloading the installation package, then begin the install process by clicking Run.  The first screen that pops up is a language selector.  I chose English, however you might prefer one of the many other available languages such as Czech, Danish, Espanol, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Russian, Taiwanese and many more!

Select a language

When you get to the screen to select the installation type, make sure that you chose a type that auto-starts.  As you can see, I selected the default which is “as a service“.  With this setting I can basically forget about the whole backup process because it will run in the background without requiring user intervention.

Select your installation type

When you get to the welcome screen, click Done and then open up the application interface to configure your first backup job.  You should also see a new icon in your system tray that looks like a little red mushroom. Cobian Tray Icon

Scheduling a Backup Task

On the Task menu at the top of the window, select New Task.  Next, give your task a name.  I called this one “My Documents”, since my goal is to backup my user documents.  I left all the other settings on the General tab at their defaults.

New Task Settings

Now you are ready to add some files to be backed up. Click on the Files tab on the left-hand side, then click the Add button in the Source section. A small dropdown menu will appear. I chose directory, again because I plan to back up my entire documents directory.

You’re presented with a standard windows directory selection dialog box. Browse to the directory you want to backup, then click Ok. Next click the Add button in the Destination section to choose a place to store your backups. I chose C:\backups\, however you can put them anywhere that makes sense to you.

New Task Files

A good rule of thumb is to store your backups on a different drive than the files you are backing up. This way if the hard drive fails, you have a much greater chance of recovery. If you do backup to the same drive, you might consider burning the backups to disk periodically.

In most cases you’ll want this to be a recurring task that runs on a scheduled basis. Click on the Schedule tab and select the frequency that you would like your files backed up. This part is a personal choice, so choose what makes the most sense for you. I chose weekly because I don’t make changes to my documents very often and this will use less disk space than a daily backup.

New Task Schedule

The last change that we will make to the new task is on the Archive tab. Here you can choose whether or not to compress your backup and/or add encryption to secure it. Turning on either of these options will slow down the backup process a little bit. I opted for Zip compression and no encryption. Click the OK button when you are finished.

New Task Archive

That’s it!  Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the time to pass until your scheduled task starts.  You can also sleep a little better knowing that your data is safe and sound.