backup solutions - a story about every backup software I ever used

- 3 min to read

Backups are important, and there is no excuse for not making backups. I learned this lesson pretty early and tried many different backup solutions, which saved me a lot of headaches, since. Most of them didn’t do exactly what I wanted, so I made a list of pros and cons for each backup software I have used or considered using over the past few years.

📙 Quick overview

Software Server My experience
Windows Backup no Don’t touch
WD Backup no Unusable if drive gets to small
Duplicati possible Database breaks regularily
Borg yes Hard to setup & very slow
UrBackup yes Fast & Reliable, restore speed limited by server speed

👿 Windows Backup

Do yourself and your data a favour and don’t use this. I tried using it on multiple of my devices over the last few years and something always breaks.

👍 WD Backup

This was my main backup software for a long time. It came with my Western Digital drives. It should be noted that it only works with WD drives. I never had problems restoring data, altho it fails silently once the drive is full and there is no easy way to delete an old backup, so I needed to switch between two drives. Once one of the drives got filled up, I deleted the old one and redid a full backup before continuing my normal operation of incremental backups.

😠 Duplicati

Duplicati seemd like it was perfect. It was reasonably fast and it had the possibility to delete old backups. It ran quite well for some time but then the database broke regularily. It was able to repair it most of the time but it didn’t seem like my data was very secure, so I moved to the next alternative.

😠 rsync

This tool isnt really designed for use as an incremental backup tool, so it is really lacking some of the core features of a good backup programm. If you want to completely copy a system to another one the fastes way possible, this tool is great. But for incremental backups it isn’t that great.

😠 Borg

Another more barebones tool was borg. It says it is really fast but for me it was really slow. It never finished its first backup even after a few days of it running. After some time I gave up on it.

👍 UrBackup

This is the software I am currently using. It runs on a Rasperry-PI 1 and therefore it isn’t the fastest thing ever in restores, but the backups speeds are just insane. It only sends the files that changed to the server and therfore most of the time is spent locally figuring out what files have change since last time. It also supports multiple clients, so if you are looking to backup multiple pc in your home or at work, this tool is perfect! For some people it might be a bit much, as it requires a server, but it is really easy to set up using a spare Raspberry-PI and docker.

Configuring is done mostely over the web-gui. Backups are configurable globally or on a per user basis. It is able to ignore files (e.g. Windows Installation or other stuff you don’t want to backup) and you can configure the amout of full/incremental backups you want to keep. Backups can be scheduled atomatically or triggered by the client/server manually. One of the best features in my opinion is the option to run a custom script when a backup completes, I use this to notify my Uptime-Kuma instance that the backup was sucessful, in order to be notified in case something breaks.


Other options to consider, that I have not tried yet.

  • EaseUS Todo Backup
  • kopia
  • AOMEI Backupper