Simple way to backup folders on a local drive

I found a while ago that GoodSync was the best solution, however it is not really free with a very low limit of 100 files. I do not believe that software is worth $30, so I used AlternativeTo, and I was proven right with the quality of the free options available.

My requirements were the following:

  1. Free
  2. Ability to do offline backup on an external drive.
  3. Smart one way mirror with comparison of destination
  4. Configurable filters to not copy .svn folders for example
  5. Support of multiple sources and destinations

Seems like a pretty low bar, but I was surprised not to find a lot of genuine candidates. I am listing below only the ones worth talking about, most solutions were online only, and the ones I do not mention in general had terrible UI.

FileMenu Tools ended up being my pick. I had the software already installed, but never noticed that feature before. The interface is simple and functional, it provides an editable diff of the two folders before operating, and filtering was as easy as you would expect. You can save presets for different couples of folders. The only option it lacks is a saved list of folders for batches, but it was good enough for me.

PureSync emerged as one of the best at first, unfortunately it felt like written in VisualBasic with a terrible interface, poor stability, and ineffective auto-update.

WinDataReflector did not give enough insight into what was done in the backup and synchronization processes.

Toucan was also promising but lacked clarity about the basic options, and handling multiple folders as separate projects was cumbersome, and the filtering was again not well integrated in the workflow.

GFI Backup allows to backup and sync folder, however the backup would work for mirroring but it does not compare what was already done the previous time, and the sync option is not flexible enough to be configured one way.

Switching from Photoshop to GIMP. Yes really!

I own a copy of Photoshop CS3 purchased a while back. At the time Photoshop was the only real credible software, and GIMP was kind of a joke.

Things have changed, and GIMP since 2.8 has a robust single window mode, a pretty impressive set of filters, and even allows me to run my favorite Photoshop plugins inside Gimp.

So I decided to give the software a chance, evaluated it with the real kind of work I would do in Photoshop, as well as simpler fast random daily tasks. I have been impressed enough to adopt the software, and to put my copy of Photoshop on sale.

I recommend evaluating it, and making your own mind. If you do here is what I recommend trying.

  1. Download and install GIMP 2.8.1 from Partha’s website
  2. Download and install the useful plugins from the same site:
  3. Try HQ Rescale to get high quality upsized images
  4. Try LayerFX to emulate the photoshop layer effects
  5. Try Liquid Rescale to get smarter resizing respecting image details
  6. Try Upsize as another option to HQ Rescale
  7. Try Refocus to get the best out of blurry shots
  8. Try Save for Web to optimize images as you can in Photoshop
  9. Try all the others included in the default install:  Gmic, Refocus it, Resynthesizer, Saturation Equalizer, Wavelet Denoise
  10. Try some Photoshop plugins with PSPI. For example I recommend the awesome and free XiDenoiser and XiQuantizer