Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Simple Data Backup use a proprietary backup format?
A: NO! While Simple Data Backup does have the ability to restore from all backups it creates, the backups themselves are completely non-proprietary. This means you never have to worry about not being able to access the data or restore from it. The default backup format is actually just a filesystem duplication (a straight file/folder copy). Other format options include backing up to .ZIP files or LZMA/LZMA2 compressed .7z files. Both .ZIP and .7z files can be opened with several third-party utilities.

Q: How fast is Simple Data Backup at backing up my data?
A: The real answer to this depends on your hardware and the size of your data, but on Simple Data Backup's end, it is generally quite speedy and usually much faster and less-bloated feeling than an awful lot of backup software out there. Simple Data Backup will use multiple CPU's/cores for some backup operations. There are many factors that can affect backup speed but the two biggest are the CPU (speed & core count) and the drives/disk interfaces. If you are backing up from a blazing-fast SSD drive to an old USB 2.0 flash drive that writes at 5MB/s, you should probably expect some pretty long backup times because even if the source SSD drive is fast, that old flash drive would be a giant bottleneck. On the other hand if you were to back up to a newer USB 3.0 flash drive or external drive that writes at 200MB/s on a computer using USB 3.0, obviously your backup will be a lot quicker. Likewise, when backing up to a network drive, backing up over a wired gigabit network is going to go a lot faster than most wireless networks or an old wired pre-gigabit ethernet network would.

Q: Can it back up "in use" files?
A: Yes, as long as you meet a few requirements, SDB can usually back up in-use files just fine.

Q: Does Simple Data Backup back up files/folders with Unicode characters?
A: Yes.

Q: Does Simple Data Backup support long paths (paths > 260 characters)?
A: Yes! Not only can it back these up, but it can restore them too if needed since Explorer or other file-utilities might not be able to due to Windows limitations.

Q: Does Simple Data Backup write log files detailing what happened during a backup?
A: Absolutely! This allows you to see exactly what happened during a backup.

Q: How reliable is Simple Data Backup?
A: Making promises when it comes to something like data is asking for trouble, but what can be said is this: Simple Data Backup has been publicly available for over 15 years and is considered a mature & stable piece of software. From day one, data safety has been a chief consideration. SDB does basic verification of files it backs up and any encountered errors are automatically dealt with and logged. SDB was written to be pretty smart in dealing with errors or warnings and it also takes several precautions to help safeguard your data. You can even optionally enable a mode that will allow you to rollback a backup to the state it was in prior to the last backup having been run. In 15 years it is believed that not one report has been received of SDB itself ever being the cause of any corruption or loss of backed-up data, with the exception of one case where it was later determined via the backup log to be a customer misunderstanding. On a personal note: This developer has personally used SDB since its inception to back up large amounts of my own personal data using different computers and devices through the years, including doing full restores from said data more than once, and NEVER has there been any data corruption or loss of that data.

Q: Does Simple Data Backup support multiple backup levels?
A: Yes and no. When a backup is run, SDB basically is taking a snapshot of the data as it currently is and storing that. Multiple backup levels means that there would be multiple copies of data for each time the backup was run, which among other things requires a lot of disk space. The general reason for such a feature is to allow you to go back to or restore from a previous backup if you later decide that you accidentally deleted a file or incorrectly modified a file in your source drive and a backup had already been subsequently run. SDB does offer the ability to use one additional backup level to help account for this scenario and can allow you to undo a backup using this extra backup level. So the correct answer is that SDB can support two backup levels, but not more than that. However, with this additional backup level option combined with the fact that most supported versions of Windows offer file-level multiple-versions functionality in the form of its "Previous Versions"/"File History" feature where if you make a mistake in your source, you could possibly just revert to the earlier copy through Windows itself, makes this largely a moot issue.

Q: What are the minimum & recommended requirements for Simple Data Backup?
A: Minimum requirements: Windows 7, 1 ghz processor, 512 MB RAM, 1024x768 or higher display resolution (900x570 effective resolution)
Recommended: Windows 7 or higher OS, 2 ghz or faster multi-core processor, 4GB RAM or higher, 1440x900 or higher display resolution
Basically most hardware from the last 15 years will work, but the newer the PC/device and drives are, the better! If you're going to be backing up to/from any USB devices, both the computer and the device should support USB 3.0 or higher for best performance. If backing up to/from network drives, it is best to use a wired gigabit (or 10 gigabit) network as opposed to wireless or an older pre-gigabit wired network. If you use a resolution less than 1440x900, SDB might resize itself or alter its look to allow it to fit on your screen.

Q: What about XP & Vista OS's?
A: The last version that supported XP SP3, Server 2003 SP2, and Vista SP2 OS's was v8.9.1 released in 2019. That older version is still available here but is not supported and is missing bug fixes and other features/changes that newer versions have and thus can not be recommended for use.

Q: Can backups run even if my computer is asleep or I'm not logged in?
A: Generally, yes. If your hardware supports it, devices can be woken up out of sleep to perform a backup if you enable this option (the device can also be put back to sleep after the backup is complete). There is also an option to allow for backups to run even if you are not logged into your account.

Q: Does Simple Data Backup use VSS?
A: Yes, if it can. VSS is used to help ensure successful backups and back up "in-use" files. All ZIP/7z backups attempt using it by default (when it can). For non-ZIP/7z backups, it only attempts using it on items that could not be backed up without it (thus saving backup time if it is not needed).

Q: What devices can I use to back up to?
A: If your drive/device can be accessed either by a Windows drive letter or a UNC network path and it is a device that has write ability, SDB can probably back up to it one way or another. Internal hard drives, external hard drives, flash drives, network drives/shares, NAS devices, DVD writers, etc.

Q: Can I use my computer during a backup?
A: Yes, but it's not recommended. If you are using your computer while the backup is trying to back up data you're working on, this could potentially allow for a higher chance of errors. Also, SDB only has one speed: as fast as it can. It won't throttle usage much if it's minimized as its goal is to complete the backup as quick as it can. But if you try to use your machine at the same time, (1) you may find your computer to not be as responsive as you'd like, and (2) your backups will take longer to complete. It's best to just wait for the backup to end first.

Q: Does Simple Data Backup do incremental backups? What about differential backups?
A: SDB was meant for you to not generally have to worry about any of this. The first time a backup runs it will do a full backup and upon success, it will from then on do an incremental backup, only backing up the items that have changed. Periodically a full backup will automatically be re-performed, but you can control how often this occurs. Unlike some other programs, basically SDB automatically takes care of all this stuff so you don't normally have to...

Q: Can backups be password protected?
A: Yes, ZIP/7z backups can be.

Q: Can I run backups via a batch file?
A: Yes. SDB is very versatile. It can run backups via a schedule, at logon, on demand including with a direct shorcut on your desktop, or you can run a backup yourself via command-line such as in a batch file.

Q: Is there a progress indicator so I'll know when the backup will end?
A: From a technical standpoint, this is a very hard thing to "get right" because of lots of variables such as variable speed of file transfer and so forth and requires a program to constantly keep re-evaluating on a continual basis to try to estimate completion time. SDB instead was developed to devote its full resources to actually backing up your data and it doesn't mess around with trying to figure this out, which often times would be wrong anyway and merely would slow down a backup. It will however show you which lineitem in a backup is being backed up. After a few incremental backups have been done, you should start to get a feel for how long they generally take.

Q: Can Simple Data Backup clone my drive?
A: Simple Data Backup is not cloning software, but file/folder-level backup software. It operates on the filesystem and doesn't do a sector-by-sector clone of a drive. Thus while it might be able to do a full drive backup, it may or may not be a 100% match and if the source drive is bootable, the target may not be. In general, SDB was designed to back up key folders of data on your system - it was never intended to clone entire drives.

Q: Can Simple Data Backup put my computer to sleep or shut it down when finished backing up?
A: Yes.

Q: Can Simple Data Backup keep my backup from becoming cluttered with old files I don't want any more?
A: Yes.

Q: How easy is it to use?
A: It's not called SIMPLE Data Backup for nothing! :) Seriously, a lot of backup software tends to be rather complex. This is quite possibly the easiest backup program out there! Oh, and unlike a lot of software these days, it comes with a decent help file.

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