Zback: Freeware Backup And Synchronization

Zback

Zback (version: 2.70.0.c2) is a simple but capable backup and sync tool that works over network drives too. The program’s tabbed interface is divided into Simple back, Simple sync, Manual and Batch.

The Simple back is just like a manual no frills back up, one interesting option is the Include source path option that keeps the files’ directory structure in the backup location. For example if backing up C:\Program Files to H:\ the backed up files on H:\ will be in H:\C:\Program Files. This can make it easier when restoring files. Zback starts the restore process with a preview before offering to execute the restore.

Simple sync keeps two folders synchronized with both having the latest version of the files.

Manual is the user controlled, option filled feature of Zback. The available modes are perhaps best described by copying the help file section.

update (backup) – it will copy new files from source to target directory and update to new versions of existing files. This is default mode, it is good for backup files to other disk, external USB drive or a stick. You may also choose to keep old (multiple) versions of backup files.

mirror source to target – target directory will be identical as source (it adds new files to target, updates existing, deletes surplus files and directories from target, overwrites target files even if newer then source). Use this mode only if you are sure that target files may be discarded.

copy all – copies all source files that pass filters to target directory regardless of which is newer

synchronize <> – update bidirectionally (from Source to Target and vice versa). This mode is good for synchronizing home and office computer directories using USB stick.

erase source – erases files from source directory, no copy (useful for erasing temporary files)

backup [date] – copy source files to unique dated target directory (for example to D:\Backup\[2009-12-15_9-37-31]\). This mode is good for making chronological backups. You can make daily, monthly, etc. backups (see Options)

restore < – restore files from Target to Source. It is used to restore files from backup location back to Source directory.

The [mkDir] button creates the target or backup directory if it doesn’t exist. To the right there are filters for file types, directory names, files dates and options to keep old versions instead of overwriting them. There are Preview and Execute buttons here too. Once the settings are chosen it is possible to create a batch file to use in the next, Batch, tab.

Zback

The Batch tab uses a already saved batch file or lets the user write a new one. An example (example.bal) is included. The batch files can look complex and it is a fun exercise to create one by reading the available options or modes. For example v is the key for keeping old versions in the target folder (old files are renamed adding file_Date_Time) and can be used like:

C:\Program Files\*.* > H: /v

The program options include ‘Compare files by content’ that compares content when file name, date and size are equal. This is probably a rarely encountered situation and likely extremely slow.

Zback is Unicode ready, does not pollute the system registry, is portable and works on all Windows versions and in Linux using Wine too.

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