I fear loosing all my data. So, I am searching for hard disk mirroring software with with following features:

  1. It should be smart enough to detect only the changed files in an hour or day and do corresponding changes in the backup drive.
  2. It should be able to run hourly or daily, do the backup operation silently and stop.
  3. It should be able to backup c drive of main hard disk in a selected drive of backup hard disk assigned only for c drive, d drive of main disk to selected backup drive, e drive of main disk to selected drive of backup disk...and so on...

In nutshell, I do not want the backup utility to read all 500 GB every time I want to sync the changes in backup drive. Is there any such smart backup software?

I have read articles on hard drive backup and wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_disk_imaging_software but I do not know which backup utility has the above features.

Please let me know if such software exists. I already have dropbox of 50 GB but I have D drive that store virtual dirves of different OS, E drive has only software setups, F drive for personal data... and so on... So, drop box will not work for me. Also, it does not automatically detect changes at the end of the day and starts synchronizing. One has to drop files in dropbox folder to sync.

Please let me know. Thanks in advance.

  • Have you evaluated Clonezilla? Commented May 16, 2014 at 4:50
  • 3
    What OS are you backing up from? Commented May 16, 2014 at 6:34
  • 1
    Specifically: What OS must the backup solution be able to run on? Does it need to have a "nice GUI", or would a command-line solution be acceptable as well? Are you looking to create "disk images" (as per Wikipedia-Link), or files (as per #1 of your list)? Should the backed-up files be directly accessible (i.e. 1:1 copy), or is it OK if you had to restore them from some archive or the like? Are your "virtual drives" kind of containers on the host and should be back-upped like that?
    – Izzy
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 13:58
  • Backing up file by file is not equal to backing up a whole hard drive. The title mismatches your description. There may be a problem with permissions. Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 14:06

3 Answers 3


If you are running Windows, then I would suggest Allway Sync. It can copy only modified files. You can decide if it will retain copies of the earlier versions. It can be initiated on a timer, on an event (like plugging in the external drive), or simply always-on. It's free for personal use.

One thing that it doesn't do (as far as I know) is compress the files that it copies. If you are looking for a space-saving archiving tool, then this one isn't it :)

  • You should be aware that in the free version of Allway Sync, there is a file operation limit of 40,000 files in any 30 day period
    – Mawg
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 8:45

As per my answer here,

I have tried many (many, many) over the years and the best choice for you (for almost anyone) is Free File Synch

  • file and folder backup (although it's even better if the same tool supports system backups)
    yup and yup (Copy locked files (Volume Shadow Copy Service) )
  • incremental backups
    not so sure, but I consider them to be A Bad Thing (anything other than a total, unencrypted, uncompressed, normal file system backup introduces possible problems when restoring)
  • programmable, automatic backups (at a specific time / every night)
    yup (Automate sync as a batch job )
  • supports external hard drives (as target)
    yup (that's where I keep mine)
  • preferably free as in beer & speech (which one must mix with caution ;-)

Key Features

Detect moved and renamed files and folders
Copy locked files (Volume Shadow Copy Service)
Detect conflicts and propagate deletions
Binary file comparison
Configure handling of Symbolic Links
Automate sync as a batch job
Process multiple folder pairs
Comprehensive and detailed error reporting
Copy NTFS extended attributes (compressed, encrypted, sparse)
Copy NTFS security permissions
Support long file paths with more than 260 characters
Fail-safe file copy
Cross-platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Expand environment variables like %USERPROFILE%
Access variable drive letters by volume name (USB sticks)
Native 64-bit support
Keep versions of deleted/updated files
Prevent disc space bottlenecks via optimal sync sequence
Full Unicode support
Highly optimized runtime performance
Include/exclude files via filter
FreeFileSync portable and local installation available
Handle daylight saving time changes on FAT/FAT32
Use macros %time%, %date%, et al. for recurring backups
Case-sensitive synchronization
Built-in locking: serialize multiple jobs running against the same network share 

Supported Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows Microsoft Windows FreeFileSync runs natively on all 32 and 64-bit Windows versions:

Windows 10
Windows 8.1
Windows 8
Windows 7
Windows Vista
Windows XP
Windows 2000

After you get your disk image file ready (no matter what software you use), you can mark that image file as a Sparse File (potentially saving some space). To avoid saving continuous empty blocks with SparseChecker, see link here.

This will work on NTFS file systems on Windows starting with Windows XP.

It is not directly the software you were asking about, but, most of image creating software don't use this feature. Probably because system administrators tend to use more sophisticated backup file formats to get nice features like incremental backups.

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