Backup software is software which is designed to automate the process of backing up, making it easier and ensuring that people back up their files routinely. Several companies produce free backup software with basic functionality, and it is also possible to purchase backup suites which have an array of settings and options which can be used to customize the backup process. For people who have trouble remembering to back up, or people who deal with important material, backup software can be extremely useful.
Typically, backup software has an automatic mode and a manual mode. When the software is first opened, the user is asked to select from an array of settings, ranging from where the files will be backed up to how often backups should occur. On sophisticated software, users may be able to choose to backup to a server at an offsite location, an external hard drive, or storage media like CDs. Some backup software is specifically designed for online backups, moving files to a secure offsite server and allowing users to retrieve their files from a website. In addition to being useful in the event of data loss, this can also be handy for people with multiple offices, as the software can be set to synchronize every day to keep a current working version of files available anywhere.
In automatic mode, backup software starts a backup at the time interval set by the user. The software initiates the backup automatically, prompting the user as necessary, and a manual override is required to stop the backup. Automatic software can also be programmed to prompt the user to back up periodically, rather than initiating backups on its own. In manual mode, the user activates the software when he or she wants to back materials up.
In addition to completely backing up files, backup software can also save specific settings, including data in web browsers. The software may also generate a recovery disc which can be used to restore an operating system in the event that a computer is compromised. Users can typically also choose between a full backup of every file, and a backup of only selected files, or files which have been altered within a certain time period.
Regular backups are strongly recommended for computer users, as data loss can be extremely frustrating. People should also routinely check their backed up and archived material to make sure that it is still accessible. Making double copies of a backup can be a good idea, to confirm that data will be accessible when it is needed.