Top 10 Best Free Backup Software

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Free backup software can provide a useful option for getting devices safely backed-up without any software licencing costs or ongoing subscriptions required. For this reason, amongst others including learning how such software works and how it can help protect important data, free backup software can be a great place to start when getting your first backup in place.

    top 10 free backup software - featured post graphic

    In this guide I will be looking at some of the best free backup software titles currently available in order to help make the process of choosing a free backup solution as simple and as straightforward as possible. This includes covering important topics such as the features usually found in such software, functionality which is usually missing, the types of storage supported (including cloud storage options), the upgrade path to premium editions plus the differences between free and open-source backup software.

    Free backup solutions can be a great way of protecting any important data both quickly and without the need to pay for licences nor cloud subscriptions. Time to get into the pros and cons of such backup software and how it can be of great help to many PC and Mac OS users alike – Vamos!

    Check out my top free backup choice...
    easeus best backup software logo
    ToDo Backup

    Tips for Selecting Free Backup Software

    Before listing my top 10 favourite free backup software titles (which is further down if you want to jump straight there), here are a few quick tips and things to look out for when choosing free backup software for yourself.

    Free vs Open-Source

    One of the first things to be aware of when choosing free backup software is the difference between a free edition of a premium product (often with some limitations on functionality) and a fully function backup solution which is open-source (meaning anyone can download and use it for free).

    Generally speaking, when it comes to free to use software of any nature, many software developers will offer a free version of a premium product in order to help with further testing, development and promotion of the software line as a whole. This approach means customers can often gain access to a limited, but still functional edition of a product with no initial costs due (although it is important to check what functionality might be missing from such free editions as I will discuss later on).

    Top 5 free backup choices:

    Below is a quick look at the top 5 choices mentioned in this guide, scroll down further for the full and detailed list of free backup software choices.

    Provider Solution Upgrades Website
    1 easeus best backup software logo ToDo Backup Free Home edition from $39.95 / year
    2 ascomp review logo BackUp Maker Business use licence @ $39.90
    3 aomei backup logo Backupper Standard Pro edition from $39.95 / year
    4 Ashampoo best backup software logo Backup FREE Backup Pro 25 from $18
    5 minitool review logo ShadowMaker Free ShadowMaker Pro from $3 / month

    An open-source backup solution, on the other hand, will provide free to use software on the basis that said software is often community built and supported (although in some cases commercial companies do sponsor development as well). Whilst open-source software can (at first glance) appear to be very good value, it is important to factor in that support options could be limited as could be any further development of the tool (in many cases support will be delivered by the software’s community using a forum).

    What Features are Included

    As was mentioned earlier, free backup software is often simply a limited edition of a premium backup solution with some functionality removed so as to justify it being free. Whilst the remaining software will in many cases still be a competent product, it is important to take careful note of what features are still included.

    top 10 free backup software - easeus todo backup free in-use

    Generally speaking, free editions of premium backup solutions might be lacking in cloud storage support, disk imaging options, encryption strength (or might have no encryption support at all) and might also have fewer scheduling options available amongst many other features which cloud be either limited or missing. Being this the case, always check what features any free backup software has retained and be sure that said software will meet your own backup needs before committing to using it.

    File vs Disk Image Backups

    Whilst this might not have been the case a few years ago, many free to use backup software solutions now feature full disk image-based backups as a core part of their offering.

    Put simply, whilst file level backups will focus on backing-up individual files and folders, a disk image backup will back up the entire device by taking an “image” (or 1:1 copy) of the entire hard disk and in doing so ensure that all data on said disk including files, folders, applications and the operating system itself are included in the backup. By including everything within an image backup, we begin to see many benefits come to fruition including no data being missed out, the ability to recover an entire system to new or different hardware plus the ability to save the operating system and user settings making for less configuration work after performing a full system recovery.

    top 10 free backup software - easeus todo backup free disk image backup configuration

    NB – For more information on disk image backups and the differences between these and file-level backups, please see my guide to system image vs file level backups.

    Whilst such disk imaging functionality is often considered a premium feature, there are now several free backup software titles offering such capabilities as a core part of their offering. This includes my current favourite free backup software choice EaseUS ToDo Backup Free amongst several others.

    NB – Multiple software developers now include the ability to create bootable recovery media within their free backup software as well. This helps to enhance the usefulness of disk image backups by allowing un-bootable systems to be more easily recovered form a disk image backup and can also be useful when migrating to a new or otherwise dissimilar hardware.

    Network, Cloud or Local Storage

    Where to store backed-up files is a very important consideration when performing any kind of backup operation, especially so when using free backup software given that these storage options could be limited when compared to a premium backup software solution.

    top 10 free backup software - easeus todo backup free backup storage location options

    Most premium backup software titles will allow for the storing of backed-up data either locally on an external drive, on a NAS device (or shared folder) as well as on cloud storage (which cloud be available via the developer’s own cloud service or that of a third party). When making use of free backup software you might find that these storage options are limited. For example, in various cases it might be that free backup software only allows for utilising local storage or NAS devices (with cloud storage only available in premium editions).

    With this limitation in mind, it is important to think not only about the making of a backup set itself and what data will be protected, but also where and how this data will be stored and how accessible it will be should it be required in the future. For example, backups stored on storage devices physically near to the device being backed up could be vulnerable to many of the same dangers (including fire and theft) as the device itself – something which would not be the case if cloud storage was being used.

    The Upgrade Path

    Whilst it might be the case that free backup software meets your requirements at the time of choosing it, this might not always be the case, especially so given that backup requirements tend to change over time. With this in mind, it is always worth thinking about the upgrade path of any free backup software and what might happen should you start to require more from your chosen solution.

    top 10 free backup software - easeus todo backup free in-app upgrade options page

    Given that many free backup solutions are simply free editions of a premium counterpart, it is always worth checking out the premium edition of the tool as well. When doing this, be sure to check that the premium features are plentiful and cover any potential changes in your own circumstances which you might anticipate. Also look at the pricing options for these premium editions and how easily the developers have made it to upgrade from the free edition to any premium editions (as this cloud help to save a lot of time if you do upgrade).

    NB – Be aware that an increasing number of backup software developers are now offering cloud storage as a core feature of their premium backup software. If you are seeking some of the highest levels of data protection and simplicity then such a solution with everything included might be a good way to go, even if a fee is payable for the service!

    Security and Privacy Concerns

    Finally, but still very importantly, the security and privacy of any backups should be taken very seriously, even when making use of free backup software.

    top 10 free backup software - easeus todo backup free encryption settings

    Securing any backups made using strong zero-knowledge encryption (using AES 256-bit encryption) is often seen as one of the most reliable and effective means for protecting such important data. In fact, even if your backup storage is ever compromised (e.g., an external hard which becomes stolen or lost) then the use of strong encryption will ensure any data remains safe given that such encryption is virtually impossible to break.

    NB – When used correctly, with a strong and secure password, AES 256-bit encryption is considered very strong and all but impossible to break. For this reason, it is always recommended to encrypt all backups regardless of where the data is eventually stored!

    Free Backup Software FAQs

    Making use of free backup software is, without doubt, the easiest and most reliable method for backing up important data for free!

    Such free backup software has come a long way in recent years and, whilst once considered little more than a free trial for a premium title, free backup software as of today can be found with many useful functions including disk imaging, cloud storage support plus AES 256-bit data encryption included by default.

    As of my recent testing in September 2023, EaseUS ToDo Backup Free is my favourite free backup solution.

    Whilst the premium edition of ToDo Backup does provide a comprehensive backup solution which is almost unrivalled in the home and small business backup market, the Free edition still retains much of the advanced functionality. This means EaseUS ToDo Backup is a great “go to” choice for anyone seeking a free but still highly functional backup solution.

    Some key features found in EaseUS ToDo Backup Free which are worthy of note include cloud backup support, full disk image backups plus the ability to apply strong zero-knowledge encryption to any backups made using the solution (features often reserved for premium editions by many other software developers).

    The downsides to free backup software will naturally differ depending upon the person making use of such software and the specifics of what is required from it.

    Generally speaking, one of the biggest downsides to using free backup software is that certain features will be missing (or limited) when compared to the premium edition of the same product. This can have the negative effect of making backups both harder to configure as well as more time consuming and stressful in the process.

    By offering less features, free backup software might see users having to compromise on what is backed-up, how it is stored and, crucially, how well their device is protected. If your backup requirements are fairly basic and a free backup solution works for you, then such software can be a great option. Otherwise, it might be worth considering a premium backup software product and evaluating how the additional functionality can be of help.

    Whilst it is commonly acknowledged that free backup software will be limited in its functionality compared to any premium titles it sits besides, the exact nature of these differences can vary.

    One common area in which free backup software is limited is in the available storage locations for saving backups to. Whilst premium solutions will often allow multiple backup storage options to be used (including both third party cloud storage and cloud storage provided by the developers themselves), free backup solutions might be limited to using just locally accessible storage (e.g., external hard drives or NAS devices).

    Other limitations of free backup software might include a lack of any encryption functionality, a lack of advanced scheduling options, the inability to apply compression plus the inability to make use of advanced backup methodologies including making incremental backups amongst other limitations.

    As of my latest testing of free backup software in September 2023, Duplicati has stood out as my favourite open-source backup solution!

    Whilst being free to use is undeniably a big highlight of Duplicati, the software itself also includes many great features such as support for using many S3 compatible cloud services, support for zero-knowledge encryption, good file version retention options, effective scheduling, command line tools plus a web-based interface which, whilst a little unconventional at first, is actually fairly easy to use.

    NB – For more information on Duplicati and the full set of backup features it offers, be sure to read my full Duplicati review right here on BestBackupReview.com!

    My Top 10 Free Backup Software Titles

    In this final section I will be listing 10 of my favourite free backup software titles as per my own experience and the reviews found right here on BestBackupReviews.com.

    Remember, any ratings and rankings given below reflect my own personal opinions and that the software titles with the highest ratings might not necessarily be the best for your own personal needs. With this in mind, please refer to my detailed reviews of each entry on the list for more information on the software itself and how it might help with your own individual backup requirements.

    1
    ToDo Backup (Free)
    2
    BackUp Maker
    3
    Backupper Standard
    4
    Backup FREE
    5
    ShadowMaker Free
    6
    Duplicati Backup
    7
    Backup & Recovery
    8
    Veeam Agent
    9
    FBackup
    10
    DriveImage XML

    Free Backup Software Summary

    The use of free Backup software, such as those titles mentioned in this guide, can often prove some of the best methods for getting a backup in place without having to first pay any licence fees or subscriptions.

    Despite being free to use, such backup software titles can often provide a lot of backup functionality and, in my own opinion at least, much more than was typically available from such free titles just a few short years ago. However, despite bringing a good degree of backup functionality to the table overall, it is still important to note the limitations of free backup software (be it a free edition of a premium product or an open-source solution) and fully understand how any chosen title will meet your own backup requirements before being put into place.

    Ultimately, whilst free and open-source backup software can be a great choice for some, it is important to be realistic about the value of the data being protected and if more advanced functionality or additional support is required, to then recognise the need to look for a premium backup solution in certain cases.

    Looking for backup software?

    Are you looking for help and advice on choosing the best backup software for your PC or Mac? If so then be sure to check out our guide to choosing backup software which also contains a list of our favorite choices as tested here on BestBackupReviews.com!

    Scroll to Top