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 and that is recommended for ideal operation, 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 (Direct File Copy) 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 of which can be optionally password-protected. Both .ZIP and .7z files can be opened with several third-party utilities.

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: 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, SSD drives, flash drives, network drives/shares, NAS devices, DVD writers, etc. In addition to this, you may also be able to back up to "the cloud"/servers on the Internet using FTP, SSH, WebDav, or S3 protocols.

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 very well 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. SDB only operates on the filesystem level in backing up files and folders.

Q: How fast is Simple Data Backup at backing up my data?
A: 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. With that said, the real answer to this depends on your hardware and the size of your data and other variables such as any real-time antivirus/antimalware software that may be scanning all files during backups (you may need to exclude Simple Data Backup in such software to prevent this). Simple Data Backup itself though is generally speedy and will use multiple CPU's/cores for some backup operations. There are many factors that can affect backup speed but hardware-wise 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 15MB/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 or greater, obviously your backup will be a lot quicker. Likewise, when backing up to a network drive, backing up over a wired gigabit (or 2.5+ gigabit) network is likely to go a lot faster than most wireless networks or an old wired pre-gigabit ethernet network would.

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 almost 20 years and is generally considered to be mature & stable 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. On a personal note: This developer has personally used SDB since its inception to back up my own personal data using different computers and devices through the years, including doing restores from said data on several occasions, and NEVER has there been any data corruption or loss of any backed-up data.

Q: Will Simple Data Backup spy on me?
A: NO! In this era where much software seems to like to 'phone home' and report any manner of information, you can rest assured that Simple Data Backup was never designed that way and that the developer is strongly against practices like that where personal data gets sent without approval. There is no known malware or spyware of any kind in SDB, no SDB "telemetry", no automatic sending of your personal data, etc. The only time Simple Data Backup connects to the Internet itself is to occasionally check for updates (which you can then choose to install or not) and handle purchase/registration stuff. There are optional features in the Pro edition that allow you to have backups/data uploaded or sent over the Internet but you have to specifically set those up.

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 at least to some degree a moot issue.

Q: What are the system requirements for Simple Data Backup?
A: Minimum requirements: Windows 7, 1 ghz processor, 1GB 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
Bottom-line: Common hardware from 2008 or later can run Simple Data Backup, but the newer the better. If you use a display resolution less than 1440x900, SDB might resize itself or alter its look to allow it to fit on your screen. Even though SDB does not take up a lot of space on install, the installer will enforce that you have 1GB free disk space on the drive you install and running backups will always require you have at least 800MB free space on your Windows drive in order to help ensure proper operation and system stability. If you want your backups to go as fast as they can, you should ensure your system supports technologies that can transfer data quickly such as USB 3.0+, Gigabit (or 2.5Gb) wired internet and so forth and that all of your drives/backup devices support fast sustained data transfers.

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: Can it back up EFS encrypted files?
A: Yes, for Direct File Copy backups, there are several options available for dealing with EFS encrypted files, including an ability to force them to always end up decrypted on the target or to back them up in their raw encrypted state.

Q: Can it back up reparse points such as junctions and symlinks?
A: Yes, for Direct File Copy backups, there are several options available for dealing with reparse points, and SDB has enhanced support for dealing with junctions and symbolic links (symlinks) for both files and folders. They can be backed up as themselves or followed through to their target.

Q: Can it back up ACL for files and folders?
A: Yes, for Direct File Copy backups, presuming your source and target drive/volume both support ACL, you can optionally enable SDB to back up ACL.

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: Can backups be run silently?
A: Yes, you can set backups to run minimized or completely silently.

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, it is possible that this could potentially allow for a higher chance of errors. It is also possible depending on your computer and the backup that you may find your computer to not be as responsive as you'd like, and backups will likely 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 or script?
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 or script.

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

Q: What is the difference between the Free edition and the Pro edition?
A: The free edition is functional and does not nag users, however some functionality is disabled that if you try to use will tell you it is only available in the Pro edition. Some Pro edition features include advanced schedule/logon settings control, possible backing up to the 'cloud'/remote servers via FTP/SSH/WebDav/S3 (potentially), email alerts, web reporting (backups can report status to a web server you control so you can view status anywhere), ability to create multiple backups, and ability to create more than 5 backup lines per backup. If you think you might want to purchase the Pro edition, you should first download and install the Free edition and familiarize yourself with it.

Q: How does the Pro edition Web Reporting feature work?
A: This is a powerful and useful feature of Simple Data Backup, especially for those that want to monitor multiple backups across multiple devices (and potentially across multiple businesses). It allows backups to report their status to a web server you provide via FTP/SSH/WebDav/S3 (potentially) so you can always view the status of backups via most any web browser (including one on a cell phone). Basically for backups that have been set up to do this, at the end of each backup run, it will upload a brief HTML status report highlighting success or key warnings/errors (if any) and can also optionally include the entire backup log (highly compressed) downloadable from this report. This HTML status report can be viewable on its own, but if your web server supports PHP, SDB can provide an overview of all backups that are reporting to the same location. Thus, if you are managing multiple backups (even backups from multiple locations and businesses), if you set them all up to report to the same location, you can view a status overview of all of the backups grouped together by their identifying code you provide. Want to see a sample of what this might look like? See an example report overview here.

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.