Windows backup files understandable for a non-technician


I’m using firstly times a backup tool. Duplicati was suggested to me.
It seems to work with the GUI very easy but not the way I imagined it would be.

I’m using Syncthing to sync my pictures, videos and documents between my Smartphone and my Windows 7 PC.
I’ve a folder on my PC (FolderA), which should be backed up on an external HDD (FolderB).
What I mean by backup is:

  • Copy the Files in FolderA to FolderB in this case:
    – If a file on FolderA is deleted, don’t delete it on FolderB
    – If a file on FolderB is deleted, don’t delete it on FolderA

  • Show everytime the stored files on FolderB (like in Windows Explorer?)

Is Duplicati the wrong tool for me or do I have to set it up other way as the standard konfiguration?

Thank you for your help in advance.

Hello @Windows_User and welcome to the forum!

Maybe, but you might change your mind on what you want.

It doesn’t work as you ask. Duplicati is a backup program, not a copy/sync one. It won’t create a direct file copy, but uses special file formats to help it do backup efficiently. One difference is that backup programs usually have a focus on storing multiple versions, whereas sync programs usually don’t. Multiple versions help when you need to go back in time for reference or reversal of changes or deletions. A sync program usually concentrates on keeping two or more copies in sync, regardless of problems introduced into files.

Your definition of backup sounds like it has this in mind. For example accidental deletions don’t propagate. Unfortunately ransomware damage, editing goofs, etc. could propagate and leave you with no old version. Unplugging the external drive when not doing the backup can reduce the risk of ransomware destroying it, however a physical disaster could destroy it if it’s stored locally. Duplicati has many cloud storage options.

Your wish list sounds almost like a copy from FolderA to FolderB, except I’m not sure you want copying of files seemingly already on FolderB in identical form, however you might want copying of any updated files. xcopy with /d can sort of do that, but it’s purely date-based. rclone copy can check the files more carefully.

None of those were GUI programs, if that matters. I’m not sure what copy programs have nice GUIs. Sync programs often do, but then there’s the question of whether you have enough control over deletion sync…

Karen’s Replicator (which I have not used) might do what you asked, and it apparently has a checkbox for “Replicate File and Folder Deletions” which possibly can solve the mirroring-of-deletions issue you raised.

Behavior of visual backup on Windows seems like the same question as this, after you did experimenting.

Fact Sheet can give a flavor of Duplicati’s aims in being a good backup program (not a file copy program).