Best Free Backup Software


Your new external hard drive may come prepackaged with free backup software – but Leo suggests you find a better software solution.–PC Pitstop.

Best Free Backup Software

By Leo Notenboom

On your recommendation I recently purchased an external drive to use as a place to put my backups. I was surprised to find that it came with free backup software included. Why wouldn’t I just use that instead of downloading or even purchasing something else?

I get this question a lot, so you’re most certainly not alone in wondering.

Here’s my take on the situation: I don’t know what free backup software came with your drive.

And chances are, neither do you.

And that should tell you something.

Free backup software with external drives

Many external drives come pre-loaded with software.

Let’s face it, when you purchase a drive, the vendor has a lot of room to put whatever they want to on that drive. It’s an opportunity for them.

But an opportunity for what?

In my experience, the backup software that comes with external drives falls into one or more of several categories.

  • It’s backup software from a company you’ve never heard of. You have no idea how good or reliable it is. But it’s free!
  • It’s a pared-down version of software from a company you have heard of. The good news here is that you can research that software’s reputation, and make a semi-informed decision as to whether or not it really meets your needs.
  • It’s a trial version. Much like the trial version of software programs that come preinstalled on many PCs1, what you have isn’t really free backup software at all; it’s a trial version that will work for some amount of time, after which you’ll need to purchase something if you want it to continue working.
  • It’s exactly what you want. And it’s free!
  • OK, that last one is facetious; I’ve never seen it happen, though I suppose it could.

    In all the other cases, though, you either don’t know exactly how good the backup software is, or you know that it’s not really everything you need.

    As you might imagine, my advice is not to bother.

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