Looking for a backup solution hosted on my own machine

I am looking at backing up 2 different machines. My laptop and my desktop. Both run windows 10 pro. The solution has to be automatic, since I don’t see much point dragging and dropping files every a couple of weeks. The backup can be only, when the machine is connected to WLAN/LAN on my personal network.
Why I don’t use onedrive? I couldn’t get it to back-up my L’math-files, which are the major thing I need to back-up. Those include physics, maths etc. Many calculations, which I need backed up. And I would prefer, that the backup would be totally on a different machine for potential security risks.
This would include having to reinstall windows to my desktop. And something might happen to my laptop, since its my daily carry.

I have curretly a couple levels of hardware that I might be able to dedicate to this, but highest end would be an i5-3470 or an intel celeron duo. I am not yet familiar with linux, but with a good guide, I might be able figure out a storage solution running on top of it.

What do you think would fit these requirements? Or something that would fit these needs?

Straight into the deep end…?

The amount of software and number of different strategies for handling data can be paralyzing…

You mentioned no Linux experience, where would you rate yourself when it comes to general understanding of computers / filesystems?

Can you answer / perhaps inline?

Are you looking to protect (backup/restore) project files, or an entire system?

How much data would it be? (megabytes, or low gigabytes, hundreds of gigabytes/terabytes/tens of terabytes?)

Are you looking to get protection from:

  • hardware failures?
  • ransomware?
  • House burning down?
  • Yourself accidentally deleting stuff?

What time granularity are you looking for?

For example there’s an option of holding your data on a server and accessing it through on a network share to begin with, and snapshots would then be made automatically in the background and left for you to browse in read-only form somehow?

These snapshots could be replicated to other hosts, that could be local or to your network, or could be replicated to some kind of cloud storage service.

… or if you have very little data, and don’t have data drives and OS drives, you could snapshot your entire system in some way, and in the unlikely event something happens you could restore this snapshot onto same or similar hardware?

Can we start with the questionare above?

For example, lotts of folks are doing TrueNAS scale based systems for network storage + something like restic or syncthing for getting just the critical data off of Windows

Have you looked into these perhaps already?


Hi Risk
Thank you for your anwer. I should have mentioned those things in the original post.
The data granuality would be in the neighborhood of a week. Althought most of the stuff has to be baccked up for a couple of years. The target would be to protect a set of folders. Currently, there is about 10gb of data to backup, with maybe a couple of gigs every year for next 2,5 years. So about 20 gb.
This data I am looking to backup is mostly my excersizes, which I want to look up, once reading to the Final exams.

Yes, I was actually looking also at truenas, and its snapshots.

This would include having to reinstall windows to my desktop. And something might happen to my laptop, since its my daily carry.
More broadly, that would be potential hardware failures, being forced to reinstall windows 10 (accidentally/purposefully having to delete stuff), and potential for ransomware.

Veeam agent or macrium reflect, both free, both will do the job as far as I can understand it and are pretty easy to use.

1 Like

It’s a small amount of data, and you kind of already have 2 machines, not sure you need a third… except for maybe a copy in the cloud?

You can use syncthing to stop having to manually copy files from one machine to the other.

Releases · canton7/SyncTrayzor · GitHub is an easy Windows installer for it.

For versioning / backups in time, either local or remote for your files there’s duplicati – recommending this one because of GUI.

@Ruklaw mentioned Macrium Reflect

It’s good for “image backups” of entire machine, however, you’ll be backing up all kinds of things, including OS and apps and that’s potentially a larger thing you need to store somewhere… for that, you do need a third computer or some kind of cloud service, but it doesn’t need to be very powerful.

A big enough hard drive or ssd attach to whatever kind of computer, e.g. even a Raspberry Pi would do the job.

In general, the functionality you need is a running samba server which is a piece of software allows a Linux directory/folder to be shared and accessed using windows file sharing protocols, it runs on every distro. That software itself is very non demanding - can run ok on a potato.

A basic basic Linux install, e.g. Ubuntu Server LTS is a popular choice that would allow you to install samba - would need a bit of maintenance setup. OMV is also popular and n demanding, TrueNAS Scale is better suited for larger use cases, but if all you need is a shared folder, it does that perfectly fine. OMV and TrueNAS come with a web ui out of the box.

1 Like

IMHO, it’s not about how you backup, you can use Macrium or Veem, or Acronis or 7zip if you want, hell you can even use Transcend Elite with their external drive, it’s more about your backup targets.

Most pitfalls are in your backup target(s), so I would caution against using samba server without thoroughly understanding network shares, permissions, snapshots, how ransomware works to start with.

For example, you can backup to a NAS but if you have write permissions all the time ransomware will just nuke that, so snapshots are important. Then you go about setting up your snapshots, but your ssh root user is enabled and you have something like “passw0rd” to protect it and malware nukes that. Then you go and secure your ssh, but you only have one physical drive and that fails when you need it the most. OK, so you go and do RAID and now you are safe, right? WRONG! You get a flood or lightning or fire aaaaand it’s gone. Then you need to do offsite backups to account for that and so on…

I’m not trying to scare you away from DIY, it’s very rewarding learning experience, just don’t rely on your very first setup to be 99% effective, have a separate solution in place. Additional backup method will go a long way to protect you, even just a humble USB drive you zip your files to every now and then.

Just as a side note, OneDrive can be weird about file extensions and names, but you can zip those files and it will backup just fine.

1 Like

yeah, Althought I did not mention this, but I am aware of these issues.

Most of my experience is with windows, and I haven’t looked into networkshares etc. And that experience is only in windows.

To this point, my backup system has , in practise been mostly onedrive/google drive for their respective documents (for my studies). And I have a backup USB-thumbdrive to backup. Althought, because I don’t have any automatic backups, some files, containing exercises I did might be lost.

Yeah, I ll just double check the solutions already mentioned in this thread.
The biggest problem me however seems to be, that some of the info I have been looking for seems to be based on many different places.

1 Like

… how exactly are you using one drive / google drive?

Both can sync folder contents in near-realtime, I’m surprised you’re having issues.

Are you worried that they’re too slow?
…or did you run out of space and are looking to avoid paying for additional storage at extortionate rates?

btw, with SyncThing you can mirror your shared folder to a friends (ie. “untrusted”) computer… that way you can pool resources with your friends/family without too much worry.

… and you can also employ some form of basic versioning scheme… which they don’t really call a backup, … but it kind of could be.

… and if your computers are often behind nasty restrictive firewalls that don’t let your computers communicate directly (often the case with coffee shops, libraries, academic institutions and weird dorms, rented/shared/cheap internet), try Tailscale – it’ll find a way between two computers somehow - just keep it always on.

The storage volume shouldn’t be a problem, since I have a 1TB onedrive with my school office 365 account. The problem is still that, it really doesn’t support backing up L’math files that well in the automatic backup.
I actually always save office 365 files, such as word, excel etc. to there as well.
I checked the backing up options.

Both computers I am backing up are my personal, so that isn’t a problem.
I have also deployed onedrive on my school workstation, althought I should prob switch away from office v. 2016. Althought I rarely use it, apart from some spesific lessons.