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Discussion On Best Windows 98SE Data Backup Program


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OK ... I use Ghost for a complete backup of all my computers but I have been thinking I would like to get a good data backup program to keep from having to use my Ghost backup all the time ... unless there is no other option and the hard drive is beyond repair. I did once use the Windows 98 backup program but it doesn't backup to CDs or DVDs unless someone was able to work on that and update that backup program ... I have searched on Google and have not found any information anywhere concerning Windows 98SE and if someone might have updated the Backup program to now work with CDs or DVDs. I want to use RW DVDs ... Just today I found this article written from last November (2010) dealing with 20 free Windows backup programs. Not all work with Windows 98 but some still do. I particularly like the one called AceBackup ... haven't had a chance to try it out yet but it may be what I am looking for ... another is EZBack-it-up which is also listed as still working with Windows 98 ... but AceBackup is more recently updated ... April 2009.

I just thought I would ask what others here at this forum might like or be using with Windows 98SE? Haven't used one of these programs for several years and I thought about it yesterday that maybe I should search around and see what is still out there for Windows 98SE. If anyone knows if the backup program that comes with Windows 98SE has been updated to work with CDs / DVDs, let me know ... perhaps someone took this on as a project.

20 Most Reliable Windows Backup Programs For Free ....


AceBackup is a powerful 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! A special advantage of AceBackup is the possibility to backup single files and groups of files, for example for important or confidential documents. The program can also store different versions of your files. This can be useful if you would like to restore a certain version of your file at a later date.

System requirements

AceBackup 3

* Operating system: Windows® 98 or later (XP, Vista etc) or Windows NT® 4.0 with Service Pack 6 or later.

* 400 MHz Intel Pentium II processor or later

* 512 MB RAM or more

* 15 MB of free hard disk space

... thanks

Edited by duffy98
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I personally use Images for Dos v1.99.


Spartan interface, will do byte for byte copy. The TBI viewer will allow you to view or extract individual files from an image.

Does not install but runs from a bootable cd (which I prefer) and will create images directly to external media via usb2 (or burn to CD/DVD).

Not free but excellent in my opinion. I did try Acronis prior to that but for some reason I had issues.

Good Luck

Edited by risk_reversal
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Well, I've already said most of what I think about this matter in various posts scattered around MSFN. So I took the liberty to collect those I think more relevant to answer your question and collect them here. While each unity is coherent in itself, and the subjact remains the same, I do not claim the particular order in which I now present them is the best one possible, nor did I try to edit them (except minimally) to better concatenate them nor to remove repeated ideas. Bear in mind this became long-winded, but that is the inevitable result of such a joining of quotations. HTH

[...] there are as many solutions for this as the proverbial stars on the night sky, so any attempt at being exhaustive is futile. So I'll tell you something about those I use (but even of those there are many variants and I'll be focusing in the ones I use, too).

An Image may be thought of as an exact, sector by sector copy of a whole disk or of a single partition, regardless of any higher-level organization, and of these we have:

  • A Forensic-quality Disk Image contains all sectors in the disk, and permits the re-creation of a truly identical image, including all the otherwise irrelevant unaccessible sectors created by partitioning (such as the last 62 sectors in the MBR track of a common HDD and all sectors in any leftover unpartitioned space at the end of the disk). Such an image requires , to be deployed on a diferent HDD than the one it was made from, that the second HDD be of the same brand, model and size, but will result in a truly exact copy, that is a true clone.
  • A Common Disk Image may be thought as similar to the Forensic-quality one, but omitting those otherwise irrelevant secftors, and, maybe the free sectors also. When deployed it'll result in something near a true clone, but not identical. Depending on what was considered irrelevant at image acquisition time, it may result in an almost perfect copy of a disk, yet be imperfect enough to render it unbootable, or even completely unusable, in the worst case.
  • An Exact Partition Image (my favorite) would be like the Forensic-quality Disk Image, but restricted to a single partition.
  • A Common Partition Image would be like the Common Disk Image, but restricted to a single partition.

To create such images one may use a "dumb" imaging program or an adaptive imaging program. The "dumb" one will acquire the image as-is and deploy it "as-is". The adaptive one can do much more interesting tricks, such as deploying a partition image to a bigger partitition (thus serving to grow a partition in a safe way), or even deploying a partition image to a smaller partition, provided it's big enough to contain all but the free sectors in the image (thus serving, in a limited way, to shrink a partition safely). The same kind of tricks can also be played with full disk images.

The best imaging programs, besides being adaptive, are also capable of compressing the images they create, so that one has no need of compressing them with another program for storage purposes, and also provide one with an image browser, so that one can extract individual files from the (compressed or not) image without having to deploy it somewhere just to do so.

That much having been said, the bottom-line is: in principle, imaging is based in sectors, and should be independent of the underlying OS.

A Backup may be thought of as an exact, file by file copy of a whole disk or of a single partition, so it involves interpretation of the existing structure by the OS, and of these we have:

  • A Full Backup
  • An Incremental Backup

Taking the partition backup as the example, the full backup would be a file-by-file copy of all the contents of a partition to another empty partition or a directory (a somewhat worse alternative), while the incremental backup would be to add or update just the new and/or modified files to an already existing backup. So one always starts doing a full backup, but then can switch to incremental backups, which are much faster (at least when based solely on date-stamps and file sizes). The de-facto standard program to do backups is the freeware xxcopy, IMHO, and if we're thinking Win 9x/ME, one should use XXCOPY FREEWARE v.2.96.5 - xxfw2965.zip, which is the last version that works in 9x/ME.

I tend to favor using images for the system partitions (on a weekly to fortnightly basis) and incremental backing-up for data partitions, on a daily basis, because data partitions change much faster than system partitions. YMMV, though.

Usually the drive makers provide imaging tools. Seagate, for instance, provides Acronis, which is quite good. Then, there is the free Partition Saving, which can do full disks also, despite its name. I've been discussing imaging on some unrelated threads, the latest which is this (and there are pointers on it for the older posts in other threads). There's also a sticky thread about imaging programs. In any case, the bullet-proof backup is a full-disk, sector-by-sector "dumb" cold image, which must be acquired (= collected) while booted from a bootable CD (or DVD or diskette or other device), since the disk containing the OS must be passive during the imaging (that's what the "cold" part means). The "dumb" part means that the imaging program should make no assumptions and just copy all the disk sectors, without skiping any of them.

Now, you have and use Ghost. Ghost is not for free, but it's the best of its kind. So, with Ghost, and with XXCopy, you should be able to cover all your back-up needs pretty comprehensively.

I just put the the System Commander HDD, cloned with Ghost sector-by-sector with the "-ir"switch from a .gho file, into the original computer: it works fine :thumbup

Great! When in doubt, this is the way to go! This kind of image (-z9 -ir) can be called a compressed "True Image" or "Dumb Image", or "Raw Image" (hence "ir" = image-mode: raw), because it makes no assumptions whasoever and, instead, just copies sector-by-sector. You can get it somewhat smaller, by zeroing-out the unused areas. And ghost can restore it to any HDD bigger or equal to the original one the image was acquired of. It's as near fool-proof as you can get and quite a good backup, but it's time-consuming.

For saving and recovering the state of my system partitions, I usually do single partition images. Once you have the full true image backup optimized, do a partition backup of one of your system partitons, reformat that partition, sdelete -c that partition and restore that single partition image back to its place, and test to see whether everything is working OK. If so, that's the best way to create snapshots of a system being tuned or debugged. Repeat the test for your other system partitions and, all going well, start a library of backups for them. Before doing major experiments, always create a new image of the partition you're gonna mess with, so, no matter what you do, you remain less than 1h away from having it back as it was when you started (compared with full-disk operations, single partition operations are quite fast).

What we want is a sector-by-sector image from the *full* disk, omitting nothing. Since this process is dumb-as-a-doorbell, almost any imaging software can do it satisfactorily. But not all software will be able to test it afterwards, so testing ability is needed, and since we cannot afford to go wrong, a well reputed software like Acronis is preferable. If the imaging software can compress the image, too, that also helps, although it makes the already long and tedious process of acquiring the image even longer, but helps with storing the image afterwards, and does not cause a very big penalty on redeploying. So, I'd have to read the manual again, looking for how to do these things with Acronis, which is not the software I'm used to (I use Norton Ghost, but it's not for free, nor do you need it). So, to me, it will be a refresh course in Acronis, which I've not used for some time already. And since I own 4 Seagate disks, I'm entitled to it, too. Now, if we can compress the image, we should make the best of it, by zeroing-out all free space in the disk, because long sequences of zeroes compresses best. And Sysinternals (now MS) offers a free program called sdelete, to do just this, among some other possible uses for it. This is necessary because, since it's a blind sector-by-sector image, we're bound to copy the free sectors, too.
1) It's not possible to make a sound full-disk "dumb" sector-by-sector image of one HDD while running the OS from it, at the same time. While the OS is running, it's changing files, so the image is doomed to be unsound. It's a physical impossibility.

2) A sound, known-good image is guaranteed to boot from exactly the same disk as it was acquired from.

It'll also most probably boot OK from a similar or bigger HDD of the same type, used to replace the physical HDD in case of hardware failure. The more similar the replacement HDD is to the one it is replacing, the more probable one gets a good result.

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If I may, let's not (yet again) confuse two DIFFERENT things Backing up is one thing and Imaging is another, each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

There is a dedicated thread to imaging solutions available:

a number of those will also run from DOS or Windows 9x/Me.

As dencorso said, if you want to image, you DO NOT run the tool from the booted system, but from "something else", so you have NOT the limit of it needing to run on Win9x/Me, and there are several Linux based solutions.

For Backup (NOT imaging) the now discontinued SAMEDIR:



is in my experience a very handy solution


Edited by jaclaz
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jaclaz said:

If I may, let's not (yet again) confuse two DIFFERENT things Backing up is one thing and Imaging is another, each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

Sorry, misread the OP's requirements which was for data backup.

In which case, I use SyncBack. Version 3.2.18 works on 98SE (even through filehippo does not show it under requirements)


Good Luck

Edited by risk_reversal
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I appreciate the feedback on my Windows backup post. I guess I should have put the word "data" with backup, which I have now added. I will probably just keep using Ghost for a complete "image" backup, since I know how to use it and it works 100% of the time for me. I was just interested in learning what other "data backup" programs might be out there to check out. I also made a discovery yesterday after my original post. I have the Nero 6 package installed and forgot that it also has a complete backup program (Nero BackItUp) ... never used it but I remembered later that it was on the computer. I am also going to check out Samedir v3.9.7 mentioned by jaclaz and SyncBack. v3.2.18 mentioned by risk_reversal. The Nero backup program might be just what I'm looking for and it's already installed.

Thanks again for the input ...

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I did download tons of free backup/synchronization tools a couple of months ago. All those seem to work under Win98/ME (perhaps some require KernelEx) so if you are bored you may want to have a look at them:

Wow, nice list you got there. B)

Used this one for a while to sync files : simple, light, and free.
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Agree with glocK_94 ... an impressive list. I have tried some of them before ... Replicator, BackUp4all (last free version) and some others ... still working with AceBackup and EZBack-it-up. You didn't mention which one(s) you liked in the end ... so the big question, which program, if any, did you decide to keep on your computer? I thank you again for the list, it will probably be helpful to others also ... I was wondering what I was going to be doing this summer ! ... I guess trying out backup software !!!

Edited by duffy98
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I just thought I would ask what others here at this forum might like or be using with Windows 98SE?
I have been using utilities like DCF/WinImage, UltraISO, WinRAR, Beyond Compare and Nero Burning ROM for making backup copies onto HDDs/CDs/DVDs, and standalone Ghost v11.0.2 for partition/HDD images. I have had no need for special backup software.

My main backup problem is not creating backups, but getting rid of/deleting unneeded old backups.

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My main backup problem is not creating backups, but getting rid of/deleting unneeded old backups.


I need to go back through all of my earlier backups. Several of them contain files I downloaded that never made it off of the desktop. I've since moved the desktop to the data partition, which solved that problem but created another, big time clutter!

On my PCs, the operating systems are on their own partitions. Data is on separate partitions and/or drives. For most system partitions, I've been using an Acronis Rescue CD, version 8. It's been reliable and reasonably fast. Compression could be better but my system partitions are quite small, averaging around 1GB for the 98 units.

For data partition backups, 7zip works just fine for me. It takes a lot longer than Acronis but gives a much better compression level. 7zip has a low priority option for the process, which allows me to back up a partition while working on something else, so the extra time it takes is not an issue.

Most of my system backups get stored on a separate partition on an internal drive. A few of the ones I make for specific purposes or after certain upgrades get stored on an external drive or CD. The data partitions that I don't back up often enough get stored on a separate hard drive.

A while ago, I experimented with using a command line version of 7zip on a boot CD that has USB, long file name, and DPMI. Most of the time, it worked quite well with a very high compression level, about 50% better than Acronis. I did have problems with some file paths that contained too many characters and with file names or shortcuts that used uncommon characters, like µTorrent. It's main drawback was its speed, very slow. At the time, I was very short on hard drive space. Now that I have bigger hard drives and flash drives available, I no longer use it.

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  • 6 months later...

I don't use any programs to "back up" my files, I do it myself.

For programs:

- I place the original installation files and zip archives of all the software installed on my computer into a designated folder, nothing else goes there.

- I create and edit a text file, which includes descriptions of each program and it's version number, in alphabetical order (just like in the folder itself, so I can quickly compare the contents of text file and folder)

- in said text file, roughly anywhere from 50-100 entires, alphabetized and with version numbers, and I use the asterisk symbol to indicate programs which need to be checked for updates. Since this is Windows Me, I don't have many asterisked programs.

For Games:

-I have a designated "game folder" for zips and the install programs only. Sub divided into categories for either DOS, Win31, Win95, Puzzles, Arcade, Qbasic, etc.

- I use UnzipThemAll to extract several hundred zips simultaneously, thus creating a simple directory structure. Takes only a minute to unpack several hundred games into folders using the same name as the original zip file.

My documents:

-I keep all these in "My documents", big surprise. Sub folders are made for resumes, guitar pieces I'm writing, letters, PDF files, recipes, old emails, etc.


-I organize them in folders, they're not scattered everywhere at random. They're all neatly organized (nearly 5,000 family photos that my mom took). Ready to be copied to CD at a moment's notice.

.... then, I just use Deep Burner* or ImgBurn* to drag and drop my folders to a data CD. That's it.

After I burn the CD, I format Windows Me, re-install, then copy the stuff from the data CD back onto the computer. Doesn't take more than 100 mintues. And most of that time is spent formatting the hard drive and installing the OS, so I don't have to actually be there while this is going on.

I prefer to do it this way, a clean install I mean. Because it reduces the chance of viruses being passed along, plus it fixes other problems too (registry, corrupted programs, bad system files, removes unwanted files, saves disk space, generally makes the computer faster, etc.)

I will never use any of those "online" backup programs. I'm not going to pay them to do a "service" that requires simply (1) Organizational skills (2) A blank CD (3) A freeware program such as DeepBurner. Plus, I wouldn't be surprised if those online backup companies aren't a CIA or NSA front. Wouldn't be surprised if they mine your personal information and sell your personal data to the highest bidder. So much for privacy.

For example:


^ People actually pay money for that crap! :( Why? You can buy a pack of CD-R's at K-Mart for $2.99. And they come in a cool assortment of nifty colors. My favorite is pink.

Sure, I might use online backup. Only if my data was encrypted with a 200 character password of random letters and numbers (which i would store on a piece of paper under my mattress). You know, just to slow down their system for the fun of it. :)

*my recommendations for best backup programs

Edited by ScrewUpgrading
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