The best free backup software and services: Reviews and buying advice for protecting your data

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Finding a good free backup solution is easier than you’d think. A host of companies offer free online backup or free backup software—and perhaps surprisingly, nearly all of them are quite competent.

Of course these companies have ulterior motives. Their free versions usually only provide enough storage for essential data, or lack some advanced features that pros would want. They hope you’ll love the program or service so much, or find it so useful that you’ll eventually fork over some cash for additional storage or those advance features. 

But wait, you say: I have free online storage through Apple’s iCloud or Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. Then there are services like Dropbox, with 5GB for free.

The issue with all those services is that they’re not necessarily true backup, but syncing. That is, when you delete a file from any device or online, it’s deleted from every device. Lord help you if you make a mistake and don’t realize it in time. True backup means retaining data indefinitely no matter what’s happening with the data elsewhere.

Read on for our top picks in free online backup and free backup software, and of course the reasons we picked them. If you find yourself needing more features, more storage, or less ads and nags, see our roundups of paid options for best Windows backup software and best cloud backup services.

Best free Windows backup software: Aomei Backupper 6

Among the free programs we’ve tested, Aomei Backupper Standard wins primarily because it has the most features, including imaging, file backup, disk cloning, and plain file syncing, plus multiple scheduling options. In addition to that, the layout and workflow are intuitive and easy enough for even a backup newb to understand. 

There are plenty of honorable mentions, one of which may fit your needs or style better: Todo Backup Home, Macrium Reflect Free, MiniTool Shadowmaker, and Paragon Backup & Recovery Free. At the bottom of this article you’ll find links to our reviews of all the mentioned services and software.

Best free online backup: iDrive

There’s no more complete online backup storage service than iDrive. The free “basic” plan with 5GB of storage retains the features of the pay plans. 



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