Windows Backup: Built in Microsoft Tools vs. Third-party Solutions

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Windows Backup image

Native Windows backup tool is a strong, capable instrument of safekeeping for almost all sorts of data. From version to version, Windows backup service becomes more and more advanced.

What is Windows backup and how it works compared with typical third-party solutions is a matter of comparison, not of quality. Let see how to backup Windows using native capabilities, and compare the might of it with typical third-party solutions.


A Short History of Advancement

  • Early versions of Microsoft Windows Backup and Restore service. Starting with NTBackup service provided by Windows NT, the native Windows backup uptakes several steps after. Vista edition was equipped with Backup and Restore service capable to backup files, directories and entire disk images at scheduled basis.
  • Vista Backup. The service was designed for file-level backup of user files and entire images. Disk image backup was also possible. It is based on Volume Shadow-copy Service (VSS) integrated in Windows for a long time. Windows Vista Backup and Restore backup service has an advanced GUI and possibilities to schedule backup activity.
  • Windows 7 Backup Capabilities. Next step was the upgrade of a tool to Windows 7 version, as well as providing advanced backup instruments for server editions of the most popular OS. But these tools are lacking the proper integration to Windows environment, such as context menu item for restoring previous versions of file instead of stand-alone GUI. As a result, backup Windows 7 using native utility is like using an external solution.
  • Modern days. And for Windows 8, there is a radical turnover, as the Windows Backup and Restore service was removed completely from the bundle as obsolete and replaced with File History instrument, also capable to take a shot of entire disk images.
  • Server Backup Native Techniques. Server-type Windows backup tools have a bit more principal features for copying and restoring data. Details of these processes are intrinsic, however, and can’t be explained here with any reasonable quantity of information.

How to Backup Windows Using File History of Windows 8

The main function of Backup and Restore service was keeping copies of system files and user folders in some safe place. That was a mainstay of daily fast backup processes, but cannot cover an entire area of safekeeping valued data.

Windows 8 file history backup

Windows 8 File History Backup

Nowadays, the Windows backup File History service included in Windows 8 provides a user the following basic functionality:

  • Automatic copying of all libraries, desktop, IE favorites, contacts and SkyDrive / OneDrive contents – and no other data sourec for Windows 8 Backup!
  • Scheduling Windows backup operations from minute- to daily-based time lapses.
  • Keeping backup data on built-in or external drive, as well as on a NAS;
  • Integration in the common system interface (GUI) on a context-menu level.

According to Microsoft, with some advanced Windows backup settings applied, File History can also take a snapshot of an entire system image.

These functions are simple, stable and durable for everyday common work. But, sadly, this list is too short for a serious activity or commercial-based workflow.

What is Windows Backup Likes to Be?

Data Backup

So, capabilities of File History cannot satisfy an advanced user or company. The best solution is to use third-party software for safekeeping. Which functions that are missing in the Windows standard backup tool are needed by the most of users?

It is a reasonable consideration that the program must be reliable (including a strong encryption of data) and demonstrate a not-too-heavy price tag.

Here is a list of these functions allowing keeping data with comfort and safety.

  • Ability to backup all types and sorts of data, include any file or directory, selected by mask or by location, such as Word (*.doc*), Excel (*.xls*) or camera images (DSLR*.JPG), as well as capability to snapshot an entire disk image or system state;
  • Processing of typical business communication data such as Microsoft Outlook data, contacts, E-mails and Skype calls;
  • Automated backing up for all sorts of databases, including a “hot backup” technique (without stopping the database engine when the backup proceeds) where possible;
  • Using tapes, FTP/SFTP/FTPS servers, private clouds and popular commercial cloud storages such as Amazon S3 or Dropbox as the backup destination;
  • Operating with server-level application and OSes, e.g. performing Windows Server 2012 backup allowing saving most of typical server data types;
  • Possibilities to divide data by types using file masks and to group the backup of these data at different tasks, scheduling independently in a wide list of time-steps from minutes to months;
  • For system administrators, it is actual to use one console for backing up the entire network with different types of machines and OSes, grabbing these activities in one or more tasks;
  • Windows backup software must be capable to warn users about backup operations, as well as be able to run other software utilities and tools before and/or after the backup task completes.

Handy Backup Software for Automatic Windows Backup

Handy Backup is a commercial third-party Windows backup utility which has a full set of functions described here. The power of Handy Backup allows you to keep in safety not only your local computer data, but also any information needed from network computers, websites and network-attached storages.

Version 7.4.8, built on April 21, 2014
22.9 MB, 32-bit (above) or 29.1 MB, 64-bit version

The wide list of backup destinations possible, availability of encryption and compression algorithms for data stored, comfortable classical user interface (GUI) and all-time technical support makes Handy Backup one of the top-functional Windows backup solutions on the market of backup tools.


Handy Backup Windows Compatibility

Windows 8 logoBackup Software Compatible with Windows 7Backup Software Certified for Windows VistaWindows Server 2012 logoBackup Software for Windows Server 2008

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