Always back up your important files. You never know when you’re going to need to restore them from a backup because disaster struck. Maybe you deleted files by accident, Windows or malware did, your PC was stolen or crashed beyond recovery, or you simply need the files on a different device.
Doing this manually can be difficult, and there’s always the chance that we may forget to save a copy of a file or files.
jaBuT is a freeware file backup program for Windows that can be used manually or as an automated solution. The program’s interface has a two-pane view, a toolbar and a menu bar. I’m not going to go into the visual elements now because, first you need to understand how the application works.
Note: It has a welcome wizard and an animated guide. It also comes with a Help.exe which provides a lot of information.
I’ll walk you through the basics here. jaBuT uses profiles to save backup tasks and settings. So let’s create one by clicking on the + button in the top left. You’re given options to select between “Express Setup” and “Custom Setup”.
Custom setup has more options for each step of creating the backup profile. But Express Setup should suffice for most users. You may want to start with Express as it is faster, or, if you prefer more control, select Custom instead.
Make your choice and click on the forward button. In the next step, you need to pick the data that is to be backed up. Do so by clicking the browse button, and navigate to the folder which contains the files you wish to save.
Remember to uncheck the “Include subdirectories” box, to exclude any sub-folders and their contents from the backup process. On the next screen, choose the destination folder where jaBuT will back up the data to.
There are 6 backup intervals to choose from.
Profiles can be set to run manually, or automatically on a given schedule that is customizable, you may set it to run every few minutes/hours/every day or every few days. Oddly, the program has an option that allows you to select specific days of the week when the backup should NOT run.
Alternatively, the task can be set to trigger when a specific number of the files you marked for backup are modified, and you can choose that number.
jaBuT has several backup modes that you can choose from. They are quite straightforward
- Simple Copy
- Exact Copy
- Exact Move
- Exact Compress
- Mirror Copy
Simple Copy will copy the data (new or modified files) from the Source to the Destination folder. The Move mode is quite similar to the Copy mode, but Moves the data from the Source to the Destination directory (only new and modified files from the source folder are moved).
Compress mode uses less storage space than a normal backup, as it archives the data in Zip or 7Z formats, jaBuT uses 7z for this. You may select the method for the compression, encryption, set a password, dictionary size for the archives. Synchronize mode in jaBut compares the source and destination folders, and copies missing/modified files. Mirror Copy is a one way synchronization mode, i.e., the data in the destination directory is not compared, instead, the data from the source folder is copied to the destination overwriting any existing files.
Exact Copy, Exact Move and Exact Compress – These modes copy the data like their original types (Simple Copy, Move or Compress), but in addition to that, the “Exact modes” delete the older data from the destination folder.
jaBuT does not create a sub-folder in the destination for storing the backup files i.e, if you set the backup to be saved in say D:jaBuT, the data is stored directly in the folder. This isn’t normally an issue, but should you choose the same folder as the destination for a different backup profile, it will save them all together (instead of organizing them in sub-folders). So, you should always use a different destination folder for each backup profile.
Aside from the compress modes, which create 7z archives, the rest of the modes store the data in their original format (TXT, DOC, PNG, JPG, ….) making them readily usable and also easy to restore. Just copy the files over to where you want them to.
Save your profile by giving it a name. Profiles that you create are displayed in the main screen of jaBuT’s interface.
The left pane in the interface is basically a search panel, while the right pane displays each profile that’s been configured, when they were run last, the next run time, the mode (backup type), source and destination folders, and the group (backup category). You can sort the list or switch to details view (to see the backup settings).
Click on a profile to select it, and then on the Profile menu option, or right-click on a profile to view a context menu that has the same options. Use this menu to run the backup task, view/edit the properties, the source folder and the destination folder, show the preview, etc.
jaBuT will display the preview of the task before it runs it anyway, so you can use it to see what’s being backed up.
Note: I updated from an older version to jaBuT 2020.06 Build 31284, but it appeared to be buggy as it got stuck on the Profile Completion screen after hitting save. So I reverted to the older version to create new profiles.
The program is available as an installer for 32-bit and 64-bit systems, with portable options available for either architecture. There are many command line options which are explained in the Help file.
jaBut has a neat interface, the options are customizable and the whole experience was very user-friendly.
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