14 Free Folder and File Synchronization For External Hard Drive Backup

Updated: August 11, 2018 / Home » Desktop Computer Software » Data Recovery and Backup Software

The number 1 mistake by most people is to save everything onto their external hard drive and calls it a backup. This is not the correct way, just because you save everything to your external hard drive doesn’t make that a backup copy. A backup copy is when you have duplicate copies of the same files, one copy in your desktop or laptop, the other in your external hard disk. Why is it important to have 2 copies? By having 1 copy on your external hard drive, what happens when you lose that backup hard drive? What if the external hard drive crashed? That is why you always keep 2 copies as an insurance.

Related Article 2019 ➤ Which is reliable? WD Elements vs. Passport and Seagate Expansion vs. GoFlex

backup tutorial method

↓ 01 – Paragon Backup & Recovery Free | Windows

The most powerful free backup solution ever! Take complete control of your PC’s safety. Create a backup of your data today. Based on solid commercial backup and recovery software from Paragon, the new Backup & Recovery 14 Free Edition will give you a rich set of features that you can trust. Backup Features:

  • Disk backup to save not only all on-disk information but also the system service structures. It is ideal for making a backup image of an entire hard disk (including GPT-discs) or system partitions to guarantee the operating system’s working capability
  • Differential backup to a sector image to only archive changes since the last full sector-based image, thus considerably saving the backup storage space. To restore this kind of backup you will require a full image and one of its differentials
  • Backup Capsule – You can place a backup image to a special secured place on the hard disk called the Backup Capsule that has an independent system layout (e.g. a separate partition) and will stay operable should the active file system be damaged. To avoid an accidental removing or unauthorized access of the backup data, this partition is hidden and thus cannot be mounted in the operating system
  • Back up separate partitions or entire hard disks to a pVHD (Paragon Virtual Hard Drive) format – a special VHD, optimized for storing backups of virtual and physical machines
  • Back up changes since the full, or the latest incremental image. It’s allowed to maintain several incremental chains based on one full image, provided each chain contains changed data of a particular backup object(s). pVHD based incremental imaging works much faster and rock-stable in comparison with the old PBF
  • Universal Image Mounter (UIM) – Mount pVHD backup images to browse their contents and retrieve data both, in the program and directly under Windows OS

backup recovery free

↓ 02 – FreeFileSync | Windows | Mac | Linux

FreeFileSync is a free Open Source software that helps you synchronize files and synchronize folders for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It is designed to save your time setting up and running backup jobs while having nice visual feedback along the way. This is one of my favorite syncing software. Yes, FreeFileSync may be used in business, commercial, and government environments without cost. Which features make FreeFileSync unique?

  • Synchronize network shares and local disks
  • Synchronize MTP devices (Android, iPhone, tablet, digital camera)
  • Synchronize via SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol)
  • Cross-platform: Runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X

freefilesync windows

↓ 03 – DirSync Pro | Windows | Mac | Linux | DOS

DirSync Pro is a small, but powerful utility for file and folder synchronization. DirSync Pro can be used to synchronize the content of one or many folders recursively. Use DirSync Pro to easily synchronize files from your desktop PC to your USB-stick (/Externa HD/PDA/Notebook, …). Use this USB-stick (/Externa HD/PDA/Notebook, …) to synchronize files to another desktop PC.

Using DirSync Pro you can make incremental backups. In this way you’ll spare lots of time because you don’t have to copy all the files each time you want to update your backup; only new/modified/larger files would be copied. DirSync Pro provides some preconfigured modes (e.g. Mirror, Backup, Contribute, ?) for common synchronization and backup tasks and some custom modes in which the user could set up the synchronization behavior to meet specific wishes. Prior to synchronization, DirSync Pro perfoms an analysis on files and folders and detect any kind of changes to any file/directory in the source. If a file is for example modified, removed, deleted, renamed in the source DirSync Pro synchronizes the destination accordingly. DirSync Pro detects also changes to file meta data (e.g. DOS attributes, POSIX file ownerships/group/permissions) and could preserve them to the destination file/directories.

dirsync pro

↓ 04 – Areca Backup | Windows | Linux

Areca Backup is an Open Source personal backup solution which is released under the General Public License (GPL) v2. It basically allows you to select a set of files / directories to back-up, choose where and how (as a simple file copy, as a zip archive, …) they will be stored, and configure post-backup actions (like sending backup reports by email or launching custom shell scripts).

  • Archives compression (Zip & Zip64 format)
  • Archives encryption (AES128 & AES256 encryption algorithms)
  • Storage on local hard drive, network drive, USB key, FTP, FTPs (with implicit and explicit SSL / TLS) or SFTP server
  • Source file filters (by extension, subdirectory, regular expression, size, date, status, with AND/OR/NOT logical operators)
  • Incremental, differential and full backup support
  • Support for delta backup (store only modified parts of your files)
  • Archives merges : You can merge contiguous archives into one single archive to save storage space.
  • As of date recovery : Areca allows you to recover your archives (or single files) as of a specific date.
  • Transaction mechanism : All critical processes (such as backups or merges) are transactional. This guarantees your backups’ integrity.
  • Backup reports : Areca generates backup reports that can be stored on your disk or sent by email.
  • Post backup scripts : Areca can launch shell scripts after backup.
  • Files permissions, symbolic links and named pipes can be stored and recovered. (Linux only)
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logical view Areca Backup

↓ 05 FBackup | Windows

FBackup has a simple interface and guides you through the process of defining a backup job using a friendly wizard. Once a backup job is defined, you can run it manually by pressing the Backup button (or F6), or if you add a scheduler it will run automatically. FBackup can easily back up sources from local drives (including USB connected drives) to destinations such as USB/Firewire connected devices or mapped network locations. It creates either standard zip files (when using “full backup”), or exact copies of the original sources without any compression (using “mirror backup”). The best thing about this freeware backup software is that it protects your data for free.

  • Backup with standard zip compression
  • Run actions before/after backup
  • FBackup you can back-up your files and folders in the Cloud to your existing Google Drive account.
  • Multiple backup destinations

main window FBackup

↓ 06 – Genie Timeline Free | Windows | iOS iPhone

Genie Timeline makes it easy to continuously protect all your files no matter where they are stored; on your computer, external and network drives. Genie Timeline works automatically to protect new and changed files without any intervention.

  • Fast and lightweight, swift backups that work in the background.
  • Smart mode to optimize your computer speed
  • Doesn’t take resources
  • Turbo mode backup when computer is idle
  • Backs up external, network or any storage attached to your PC.

genie timeline free

↓ 07 – EaseUS Todo Backup Free | Windows

Free and reliable backup & recovery software enables users to back up system and restore it to original state when disaster happens and performs comprehensive backup types. ToDo Backup supports 16TB high capacity hard drive support for any mission-critical backup plans such as server or mass backup via network.

  • Cloud backup solution – easy data backup to Google Drive, OneDrive & Dropbox
  • Free and reliable – backup & disaster recovery software for home users
  • Easy to install and use – intuitive interface guiding you step-by-step
  • One scalable solution – backup, disk clone, SSD migration & restore

easus todo backup

↓ 08 – FastCopy | Windows

FastCopy is one of the Fastest Copy/Delete Software on Microsoft Windows. It supports both UNICODE and over MAX_PATH (260 characters) file pathnames, and it automatically selects different methods according to whether Source and DestDir are in the same or different HDD(or SSD).

Reading/Writing are processed with no OS cache, as such other applications do not become slow. It can achieve Reading/Writing performance that is close to device limit. Include/Exclude Filter (UNIX Wildcard style) can be specified. ver3.0 or later, Relative Path can be specified. It runs fast and does not hog resources, because MFC is not used. (Designed using Win32 API and C Runtime only).

Related Article 2019 ➤ Which is reliable? WD Elements vs. Passport and Seagate Expansion vs. GoFlex

fastcopy screenshot

↓ 09 – Toucan | Windows [ Portable ]

Toucan is a small utility allowing you to synchronise, backup and secure your data with more options than the built in suite utilities. It is split up into 7 tabs, allowing you to easily find the function that you want. This version features:

  • Five synchronisation modes, Copy, Mirror, Equalise, Move and Clean. These can be combined with a variety of file checks such as File Size, Modified Time and a File Header Check to minimise the amount of copying needed.
  • Backup and restore in industry standard Zip, 7-Zip and GZip files, with support for complete backups, updating existing backups and differential backups, as well as restoring files from an archive. Automatic testing of created archives is also supported as is password protection.
  • AES-256 encryption using ccrypt.
  • A complete command line system allowing you to create new jobs and run existing ones from the command prompt or a batch file.
  • A Rules system that allows you to easily exclude files based on their name, a regular expression, their modified date or file size.
  • An advanced scripting system using the Lua programming language that allows complex scripts to be created, anything from a backup script that automatically uploads new backups to a script that synchronizes your files to a USB drive and then encrypts the sensitive files in case of loss.
  • A large collect of in built Variables for basic functions such as the date and time or more complex variables that point to the drives label or documents directory. You can also define your own as short cuts to paths on your USB drive or your PC.
  • Many other features such as support for the new Windows 7 taskbar, full drag and drop support and translations to many languages.
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toucan sync backup

↓ 10 – Personal Backup | Windows

Personal Backup is a program for saving personal data to any destination folder. This folder may be located on a local fixed or removable drive, on a Windows network server or on an FTP server. The 32-bit version runs under Windows 7, 8 and 10 (32- & 64-bit), Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003/2008(R2)/2012(R2), the 64-bit only under Windows 7,8 and 10 (64-bit) and Windows Server 2008(R2)/2012(R2).

At the destination folder the original drives (C:, D:, etc.) appear as subdirectories named LwC, LwD, etc. The original directory structure remains unchanged beneath these folders. All files may be compressed in gzip, either in toto or separated by subfolders as zip files. Optionally all data can be AES algorythm-encrypted.

Personal Backup

↓ 11 – AceBackup | Windows

AceBackup is a powerful freeware tool to create completely secure backups of your data. Store your data on any local storage device, on CD, DVD or on your remote FTP server! With the AceBackup Archive and Backup project types you can create easy, secure and quick backups of your (confidential) data at the highest stage – by request encrypted and thus virtually uncrackable!

  • 256 bit encryption – AceBackup has five different encryption algorithms to protect your data against unauthorized access.It can encrypt even the file names.
  • Remote FTP backups – A unique feature of AceBackup is the ability to store backup files on FTP servers as well as on any local storage device.
  • Scheduled backups – Enter the desired dates in the Scheduler and the program backs up your data at the dates and time selected.
  • Integrated zip compression – You can back up files with without compression or you can select the highest possible compression level to keep backups as small as possible.
  • Flexible source selection – Apply filter to exclude defined file name extensions. Or define a filter to only back up files containing the selected file name extension.


↓ 12 – SyncBackFree | Windows

SyncBackFree is the best Windows backup and synchronization program on the planet with great features and benefits at no cost. Backup Software that is free for personal, educational, charity, government, and commercial use. It comes with no Ads, Viruses, Spyware, Trojans, Nags or registration. 100% Free.

  • EncryptOnClick – Military grade 256 bit encryption.
  • DeleteOnClick – Securely delete data in one click and the data becomes unrecoverable.


↓ 13 – Synchredible | Windows

Synchronize Your Folders and Drives In A Quick and Easy Way. Whether it’s an individual file or an entire drive – Synchredible will synchronize, copy and save them for you. A software wizard will assist you to determine jobs that are either pre-scheduled or to be done through a USB connection. This way, you can keep your files in sync – automatically!

Over the years, our state-of-the-art technology in Synchredible has made copying files easy. It also makes matching your files a simple task while it automatically detects changes and synchronizes the most recently edited files safely and reliably! Thanks to its advanced system for identifying similar files, Synchredible saves you time – unedited files may be skipped if desired. This way, large folders are synchronized in seconds!


↓ 14 – SyncFolders | Windows

SyncFolders helps you to synchronize the contents of two folders, including any subfolders. The folders may be on different disk drives, on the network, or storage devices attached to the USB port, including external hard disk drives, flash drives, and any other type of USB storage device. The program allows you to easily copy new and updated files and folders in either or both directions. SyncFolders is a very useful tool for backup and synchronization purposes.

SyncFolders runs on all Windows versions from Windows XP and higher and you are free to use SyncFolders for any purpose. SyncFolders has a clean installer and does not contain any spyware and will not install unwanted programs.


6 comments on “14 Free Folder and File Synchronization For External Hard Drive Backup

  1. Gravatar
    Andrew Cutforth [ Reply ]

    Also have a look at AJC Sync. As well as giving you a powerful preview of what is going to happen to your files when syncing between drives it also gives you the option to keep multiple versions of files in a backup archive so you can undo if you make a mistake.

  2. Gravatar
    Maestrogarry [ Reply ]

    I used KrojamSoft SyncFile for synchronizing files. Its a simple and best software for synchronizing.

  3. Gravatar
    Landlordqin [ Reply ]

    I use AOMEI Backupper Standard to sync files and folders. Also free but with many other powerful and useful features: backup, restore, clone. For example, everyone knows the importance of backup, but not every form the habit of creating backup. With AOMEI Backupper, you can create automatically backup and rest assured.

  4. Gravatar

    Personally, I use FreeFileSync to update my Ebook library between both my system. Though the user interface is a bit intimidating and confusing, it is by far the best one I tried.

  5. Gravatar
    AMANDA [ Reply ]

    I had used some sync software in past, from my exprience i suggest to use either gs richcopy 360 or robocopy or good sync. They are best tool for file sync, gs richcopy have extra features and more reliable.

  6. Gravatar
    Jubal Sackett [ Reply ]

    This is my first foray into syncing my PC with an external USB drive and here is what I want a synchronization software to do (in addition to synchronizing):
    On my PC there are “primary” folders, example: Folder A. Inside Folder A are sub-folders X, Y, Z, etc. which contain the actual data.
    There is also a primary Folder B and inside Folder B are also sub-folders Z, Y, X, which also contain the actual data.
    When the PC is synchronized to my external USB drive, and I go to the USB drive I want to see Folder A and when I open Folder A, its sub-folders are visible. When I open a sub-folder, I want to see the data contained therein.
    Same with Folder B, etc.
    Is this an unrealistic expectation or is there a sync program that can do the above?

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