Plain and simple: I need to make differential backup of my files without using the typical file attribute logic.
Possibly with a free software.
So the software I need should rely on it's own indexing logic to understand which files need do be backed up.

Currently I'm using Cobian backup for doing Full/differential backup.
I backup from/to disk installed in my PC. (some entire disks and some specific folders)

The issue is that the "file attribute" logic is heavily flawed (this have nothing to do with Cobian Backup, which is a very nice piece of software)

The main flaw I've encountered in the "file attribute logic"-based backup software is that when I move a folder, it wont be backed up. This is a nonsense: When I move a file, the attribute bit of the file get set, and the file is backed up.
But when I move a folder, nothing get changed, not a single attribute bit is set, and so the folder (and it's contents) in their new location wont be backed up... and this make impossible to restore the original folders/files structure.
Maybe this is a Windows issue (or feature, who knows...)
Another bad flaw is the incapability to track deleted files.

Just in case you want to know: I'm doing differential backup because they are simpler to restore than an incremental backup... but the ideal solution is to have incremental backup, and have a software that can restore the original files/folder structure at the required/specified date.

Hoping that a free software like this exist, I like software with a GUI... but command line is my friend from the old MS-DOS 3.31 days, so no problem if it only exist in command line version :-)

closed as not constructive by joeqwerty, Zoredache, Michael Hampton, mgorven, mdpc Feb 14 '13 at 1:35

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • sounds to me like a "shopping recommendation" question, which are off topic on SE sites – fuero Feb 13 '13 at 23:35
  • @fuero I'm looking for a free solution, so this is not a "shopping" recommendation... Actually I don't want to spend a dime :-) Anyway, tanks for pointing out that this kind of question is forbidden (sorry, I didn't know about that), I'll try to ask it in a different way that doesn't resemble a shopping recommendation. The fact, IMHO, is that a certain kind of backup logic is flawed, and I need a fix for this flaw. (I hope I can ask for this.... if I write the question in the right way) – Max Feb 14 '13 at 8:13

I'd probably suggest CrashPlan here. The software itself is free - the cloud storage is the paid addon. It uses block-based hashing to only transfer changed blocks to your storage backend - this means that your deltas will only be the changed portions of big files, not even the whole file itself.

It's multiplatform, headless-friendly, and solid as a rock. No affiliation, I just use it myself and I'm very satisfied with the results.


Found this little gem on the "Hey Scripting Guy!" section of Technet:


Why would I post an article about 'toggling the archive bit' when you want a new backup program? because the program you have will work perfectly well if we solve the problem at hand, that "moved" files don't get archived, whereas 'copied' files do.

(We could go into a discussion as to WHY microsoft elected to do things like this, but it's probably a bit of a Holy War type topic, so I'll refrain.)

What I recommend is to save the script on the Technet page, and then run it against the target folder whenever you move files or folders. This will ensure that they get flagged ("touched") for your next incremental backup. If you move stuff via a scripted or scheduled process, add this step to the script doing the moving.

  • Thanks for the suggestion, it's also easy to set the archive attribute with a simple batch command like "attrib +a C:\MyPath\MyMovedFolder*.* /S" (it's easier than powershell.... :-) The fact is that I've just discovered this issue after I moved a lot of folder for "data re-structure" process, and then found a lot of missing files in the backup folder... :-| Luckly I didn't lost anything... but I've used this backup exactly 4 days ago, and this king of issue would have been a big problem in case I needed the backup after I moved my folder around... – Max Feb 14 '13 at 8:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.