I need to backup some windows machines and have been unable to find the proper tool. What I need is a tool that does efficient copying of changed files to a windows network location, like Rsync does. In turn, the server will then back that up using rdiff-backup, a tool which does very clever incremental backups.

Right now I'm using windows' 7 included backup feature, but I really don't get that. It's too much off-topic, but it doesn't suffice (seems buggy as well). I looked into Amanda, but as soon as it wanted to install MySQL, I aborted. I also tried Deltacopy, but unfortunately, I don't remember what the problem with that was...

Any advice for an rsync like tool that just does daily syncs to a network location?

  • I just rediscovered a deltacopy problem: no ability to exclude windows junctions (hard links), creating infinite loops and a lot of redundancy. This is a cygwin problem, so all cygwin apps do this... – Halfgaar Jan 10 '11 at 11:56
  • The proper tool to backups windows would be windows backup, I'm curious as to the problems you are having. Perfmorming an r-sync like backup will be far less efficient than a shadowcopy backup – Jim B Jan 10 '11 at 13:13
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    WIndows 7 backup stores inefficiently (doesn't do incremental storage like rdiff-backup); it has no 'delete older than x' option, the display of backups when you want to remove backups only shows three backup sets, all like "from 25-12-2010 to 25-12-2010" (same start and end date) and the dates it shows seem random, even though it backs up every day (which is confirmed by that I can pick a restore point properly). – Halfgaar Jan 10 '11 at 13:48
  • Cygwin itself is not vulnerable to the junction problem, just the very old copy bundled with deltacopy. – Kent Fredric Dec 9 '12 at 21:02

Synctoy seems to be what I need: it knows to skips junctions, it can simply run all tasks with synctoycmd -R, doesn't fail on unreadable files. Nice.

  • Synctoy is a vastly under-rated tool. I think people see the word "toy" in the name and sneer at it, which is perhaps understandable, but it actually does a great job. – Rob Moir Jan 30 '11 at 16:16


Have a look at the above links, you should be able to either setup rsync on windows or use an alternative tool as above.

hope that helps

  • See my comment above about cygwin. This would apply to Unison too... – Halfgaar Jan 10 '11 at 12:39
  • @Halfgaar , see my answer about cygwin/rsync, cygwin is not the problem, deltacopy is :D – Kent Fredric Dec 9 '12 at 21:07

Try BackupPC. It's a web front end wrapped around an rsync-based client/server system. (I haven't used it in many years, but it was pretty useful then and it's still being updated.)


The reason behind not liking DeltaCopy might be blameable on it shipping an old rsync/cygwin.

So, in that vein, I suggest:

Try Cygwin and Cygwin Rsync

Because some of the defects with rsync/cygwin ( Such as not understanding junctions ) are no longer a problem.

( Incidentally, I came here after hitting a problem with deltacopy being strange with junctions , and thought "oh, cygwin sucks". But after reading a few other places on the internet .... I discovered the truth of the matter =p )

A guide on installing Rsync tools w/ Cygwin can be found here: http://www.gaztronics.net/rsync.php

@rihatum also shared this link, but did so without clarifying that "Hey, don't be afraid of cygwin".

So. Now you can do so without being afraid of Cygwin :D


I think Robocopy is probably the closest Windows specific program to rsync that you're going to get. You can script it to have the same functionality as rdiff-backup.

  • Except that it doesn't use volume shadow copy, so it can't open locked files, it doesn't have a '--delete-excluded' option (can be overcome, but still annoying). – Halfgaar Jan 10 '11 at 15:40
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    I think your best bet is going to be to find some software that utilizes VSS, such as Cobian Backup or Microsoft SyncToy. – churnd Jan 10 '11 at 17:11
  • Is SyncToy scriptable/schedulable? – Halfgaar Jan 12 '11 at 7:39
  • Yes, using VBS or batch. It has a synctoycmd executable that you can pass arguments to. – churnd Jan 12 '11 at 12:12
  • Late comment, but synctoy seems what I need: it knows to skips junctions, it can simply run all tasks with synctoycmd -R, doesn't fail on unreadable files. Nice. – Halfgaar Jan 25 '11 at 11:37

The best way is to use .... rsync itself :) , you can download and install cwrsync it will provide you with the easiest way to use rsync on windows


Do this...Install DeltaCopy, get the latest CWRsync and install that. Take the contents of the bin folder in the CWRsync install directory and copy everything over to the DeltaCopy folder. Instant upgrade and everything should work. Works great for me. :)

This has worked flawlessly for me.

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