Areca Backup is a free backup utility for Windows and Linux. It is written in Java and released under the GNU General Public License, which makes it open source software.
- Quickly compresses and backs up files
- Powerful archive/storage settings
- Supports full, incremental, and differential backups
- Works on Windows and Linux
- Steep learning curve
- No built-in scheduler
- Can’t backup locked/open files without plugin
The Bottom Line
Areca Backup is a great, free backup utility for computer savvy users.
You create a new backup by creating a new “target”. A target is Areca’s term for a backup task.
Areca Backup supports 3 storage modes:
- Standard: Creates a new archive for each backup. All new or modified files will be stored. This is the default and recommended mode.
- Delta: Creates a new archive for each backup. Only parts of changed files will be stored. This is useful for backing up large files.
- Image: Creates a single archive and updates it after each backup. No new archives are created.
You then specify sources (such as your Photos, Documents, and other folders) to be included in the backup.
By default, files are compressed using Zip64. You can optionally encrypt your archives as well.
When starting a backup, you can choose from incremental, differential, or full backup types. Areca will automatically check the integrity of the backup after it’s completed.
Areca Backup gave me an error when trying to backup locked/open files. Apparently, this can be avoided by using a VSS plugin which adds this functionality. I just chose to not backup those files, however.
To restore files, switch to the “Logical view” tab. You’ll see a list of all your backed up files. Restoring is as simple as right clicking on files and selecting “Recover”.
What I Liked
Once I got the hang of it, I found Areca Backup surprisingly easy to use.
I liked that files are not stored in a proprietary format, so I’ll always be able to recover them even if Areca ceases to exist.
Areca can also backup to FTP, FTPS, and SFTP locations. This makes it useful for creating offsite backups.
What I Didn’t Like
Areca Backup has a steep learning curve. I had to dive into the manual to figure out what “standard”, “delta”, and “image” modes are. The terminology will confuse all but the most die-hard computer users.
The lack of a built-in scheduler means you’ll have to manually add it to the Windows Task Scheduler. This isn’t so hard, but it could be a lot easier.
Areca Backup is a somewhat complicated, yet powerful backup utility. Best of all, it’s free, which makes it very hard to complain about its shortcomings.
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