Free Backup Software for Windows: 3 Excellent Tools That Don't Cost a Dime

Last Updated Aug 30, 2010 1:36 PM EDT

I know, I know: backing up your PC is about as fun and exciting as a root canal. But like regular visits to the dentist, it's something you must do regularly.

Thankfully, it doesn't have to be an expensive proposition. Grab yourself a cheap USB hard drive, then pick any of these free backup utilities:
  • Comodo Time Machine CTM works much like Windows' own System Restore feature, except that it does more than just protect your Registry and system files: it backs up files, folders, and programs as well. Choose this if you've ever needed to "roll back" your PC to an earlier point in time -- and recover that Word document you accidentally erased.
  • Easeus Todo Backup Arguably the most full-featured of any freebie backup program, ETB (pictured) covers just about any backup need. It can archive your entire system or just selected partitions, folders, and/or files. I especially like the Disk Cloning feature, which is helpful for moving everything to a new hard drive (should the need arise). You can also use ETB to create bootable CD-ROMs for system recovery.
  • Macrium Reflect This is an impressive program for a freebie, with handy features like scheduling, rescue-CD creation, and even network support. If you need help getting started (it can be a little confusing in places), here's a step-by-step tutorial.
Okay, those are my picks. Have you found a free backup program you like better? Shout it out in the comments! I know there are many fans of Cobian Backup, but I found it too complex for most users.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.

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