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What is Backup Software?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon352267 — On Oct 21, 2013

If you want to feel safe and not to have problems in the future, installing some kind of backup software is just a must for you. I don't think that it is still a problem for anyone to choose such solutions as there are tons of them for any taste possible. I have been using Acronis for a long time and I have had several crashes which I overcame easily because of excellent backup.

By anon208443 — On Aug 23, 2011

@wander: As letshearit says, free online backup services should be adequate to your needs.

Make sure you understand what online backup is, and thus why some of them have bulky implementation. Many people think that online backup is just like saving a copy in an FTP server. Personally, I think a backup software should at least be able to schedule for backup and backup changed contents only.

By wander — On May 27, 2011

Do you think that backup software that stores your files virtually is less safe than that which stores your files to an external hard drive?

I really would like to make sure all of my computer files are stored safely because losing data is a huge headache. Right now I burn CDs with the data I don't want lost and it takes forever. Plus buying numerous disks can get costly.

I would like to find the cheapest option for backing up my data, that won’t risk me losing all of my work. Any recommendations for a program would be appreciated.

By letshearit — On May 27, 2011

For those who are worried about losing the data on their computers there is backup software available for free on the Internet. These services also allow you to store your information online in a virtual hard drive so you can securely access it from anywhere.

Most companies will offer you a certain amount of gigabytes for free storage, then they will switch you to a payment program if you want more space.

This is a great idea for people who just want to backup things like photos and schoolwork. The best thing is, that because you are only storing a few things, the chance of you ever needing to pay for a service is slim.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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