Regular data backups are an important part of our digital lives because the computer electronics cannot be trusted and can get damaged at any time. There are a huge number of data backup solutions available for Windows, including Microsoft’s own SyncToy. Each backup and sync program has some unique features that others don’t have. This is why different users choose different backup software to backup and synchronize their data.
WinDataReflector is a free backup and synchronization solution which lets the users create backup and sync jobs and execute them with a click when needed. You can also schedule automatic backup and synchronization tasks. WinDataReflector also supports two way synchronization which means that the source and destination will always be kept identical. All the changes to source will be propagated to the destination and vise versa.
Although WinDataReflector is very easy to use, one needs to keep a close eye on each step of the backup and synchronization because some steps can be confusing. I will try to guide you in a step by step way on how to use WinDataReflector. The steps below are for backing up a folder and then enabling automatic scheduling. The synchronization, two way sync and restore operations are pretty similar and will be very easy once you go through the following steps.
When you start WinDataReflector for the first time, you will notice that it uses tabbed windows in order to create each backup and sync job. There are four main buttons in the toolbar.
- Synchronization – create a new synchronization job
- Backup – create a new backup job
- Schedule – Create and manage schedules of all created backup and sync jobs
- Options – program preferences whether you want to start WinDataReflector with Windows Startup and show it in system tray.
Since we are interested in backing up a folder, we need to click on the Backup button. This will open up a new window where we have to input the name of the backup (only to be used in WinDataReflector) and the type of the backup (normal or compressed to a ZIP file). The type of the backup doesn’t seem to be functional but we can configure this later in backup settings. So just leave this to Normal and press the OK button.
You will see a new tab in the main WinDataReflector window. Notice that the title of the tab did not change to the task name.
Now we have two fields labeled L and R. L field will contain the path of the source folder which we want to backup and R field will contain the destination folder where the backup has to be saved. You can select multiple folders in either fields. This means that you will be able to create multiple backups in multiple destinations. Just make sure that you click on the Add button after browsing and selecting the source or destination folder.
After filling in the L and R fields, click on the pencil icon next to the R field which will open up settings for the backup job.
In the settings window, you can configure different settings specific to the backup task. Here you can check the checkbox “Compress to ZIP file” which will create a single destination file in ZIP format. You can also copy the NTFS permissions along with the files to be backed up.
If you click on the Time menu from the left hand pane, you will be able to configure whether you want to run this backup task manually or automate the process by scheduling the backup. Please note that WinDataReflector needs to be running in order for this automation process to work correctly. You will need to start WinDataReflector with Windows Startup under options.
Clicking on the Process button will make the backup task ready to be executed. After clicking on the Process button, you will need to click on the Backup button in order to actually run the backup job.
The synchronization and restore jobs are created very similar to the backup job with some changes in the settings window.
You can create as many backup and synchronization jobs as you like and then schedule them as per your needs. I have been using WinDataReflector and the only problem I have had was the frequent crashes of the software. Otherwise, it does a good job of seamless automation of backup and sync job and make our lives easier.
What are your thoughts about WinDataReflector? Which backup and sync software do you use for backing up your data?
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