Best free backup software of 2024

The best free backup software solutions make it simple and easy to automate your data backups, without having to pay for a subscription.

Best free backup software: quick menu

If you haven't already begun a program of backing up your data, then you should start doing so now. It's so easy for files and folders to be accidentally deleted, or for a hard drive to fail, which means losing everything on your computer that wasn't already backed up. 

That means losing anything from work, to personal photos and videos, as well as any creative projects you might have been working on over the years.

This is why backup software has become such an integral part of using a modern computer, whether for personal use or business.


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Most people are aware of this, and so make a basic effort to back up their data, such as by copying files and folders to a rewritable CD or DVD, USB drive, or external hard drive, or even using a cloud backup solution so you can access and sync your files and folders between different devices. 

However, over time this can make managing your backups difficult, as USB sticks can be mislaid or lost, and if you accidentally delete something on your computer that is being backed up to the cloud, the cloud copy will also be deleted. 

This is where backup software really comes into its own, as it allows you to more easily manage and automate backing up tasks, letting you let everything run and save in the background while you're working, while ensuring you keep proper copies of everything.

There are a number of paid-for back software solutions available, but even better is that there are also free versions available so you can discover for yourself which software is best for you.

We've looked at the range of free backup software solutions out there, comparing customization options, ease of use and setup, scheduling features, data recovery options, and whether add-on features require payment.

Below we list what we think are the best free backup software options currently available.

We've also featured the best disk cloning software.


The best free backup software of 2024 in full:

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Best overall

(Image credit: Google)
Best if you like lots of cloud storage

Reasons to buy

+
Straightforward setup
+
Easy to use
+
Back up and sync

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for full system backups
-
Limited customization options

Google Drive isn't a traditional backup tool by any means, it is cloud-based and just what you are able to back up will depend on how much online Google storage you have available.

You're given a limited amount of space for free, and there are various ways to boost it without having to part with any money, but in reality, Google Drive is going to be useful for backing up individual directories – not your whole system.

For backing up key files and folders, however, it's superb. You can easily specify any number of folders for the software to monitor, and any changes, additions or deletions are implemented near-instantaneously.

Additionally, the software can be used to synchronize files between computers, and they are accessible on any device via the Google Drive web app. An excellent, if slightly limited, backup tool.

Confusingly, Google Drive is also sometimes called Google One, and additionally to run Google Drive you need to download the app Google Backup and Sync in order to set it running. 

Additionally, you will need to be alert that when files and folders are backed up that they have a green tick next to them - if not, it means your files are not being backed up, something that has previously caught users out when Google updated the service.

If you need help using Google Drive, check out our guide: How to back up files with Google Backup and Sync.

Read our full Google Drive cloud storage review.

Best for ease-of-use

(Image credit: Paragon)
Best for ease-of-use - just set and forget

Reasons to buy

+
Wizard-based setup
+
Highly customizable
+
Advanced data recovery

Reasons to avoid

-
No support for cloud storage

The free community edition of Paragon Backup & Recovery does an excellent job of making the process of backing up as simple as possible, holding your hand with a wizard-driven interface. You can opt to back up your entire computer, partitions, select files and folders based on location, or files based on their type.

Once that's done, just set a schedule and choose the type of backup you want to create, and then leave the software to take care of things by itself.

That's not all – as the latter portion of its name suggests, this isn't just a backup tool. Paragon Backup & Recovery is a whole data management toolkit, and also includes an impressive CD or USB-based recovery system that can be used to get your data back even if you're not able to boot into Windows.

It's all very impressive. Once you've signed up for a free account, this free backup software is a thing of beauty.

Read our full Paragon Backup and Recovery review.

Best for experienced users

(Image credit: Cobiansoft)
Best for experienced and confident users

Reasons to buy

+
Highly customizable
+
Optional encryption

Reasons to avoid

-
No wizard for beginners

Cobian Backup is the most advanced free backup tool around, and might be overkill for new users, but if you know exactly how you want to configure your backups then you can be confident it'll give you the flexibility you need.

Cobian Backup can be used to create and schedule multiple backup jobs, and files can be archived to another local hard drive, network location or, if you have access to one, an FTP server. It can back up to multiple locations at the same time, so it's possible to run multiple backup jobs simultaneously. 

Backups can be compressed to save space, and there's optional encryption to keep your data secure.

Cobian Backup loses when it comes time to restore data – there's no simple wizard to automate the process, so you're left on your own having to copy files back into place, decrypting and decompressing first if necessary.

Still, for backing up your most valuable data, this is one of the most comprehensive tools out there.

Read our full Cobian Backup review.

Best for privacy

Screenshot of the Internxt homepage

(Image credit: Internxt)
A cloud storage provider that’s big on privacy and security

Specifications

Pricing model: Subscription
Free storage: 10GB
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android

Reasons to buy

+
Top-notch security 
+
Easy to use  
+
Free version includes all the same features as the paid plans 

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited collaboration tools
-
No SMS 2-factor authentication

Internxt’s affordable pricing plans, intuitive interface, and reliable support make it a great cloud storage service to consider. While it does not offer the same advanced features that you’ll find with Dropbox and OneDrive, individual users and businesses that prioritize security will enjoy the cloud service provider’s advanced security features and commitment to privacy. 

Internxt’s basic free plan offers 10GB of storage, however there is a large emphasis on “up to”, here. All accounts start with a 2GB allowance, while more storage can be added for free by completing certain tasks, like installing the mobile app, subscribing to the company’s newsletter and referring friends.. Beyond that, seven other pricing plans are available for individuals and for businesses. 

We rate Internxt highly for its range of useable features, including its interface which most users will find already familiar, the option to backup folders elsewhere on your computer, and the free, out-of-plan virus and password tools.

Read our full Internxt review.

Best for control

(Image credit: EaseUS)
Best balance of automatic protection and manual control

Reasons to buy

+
Full range of backup types
+
Easy scheduling
+
Automatic 'smart' backups

Reasons to avoid

-
Some features are paywalled

EaseUS Todo Backup Free has lots of bases covered: backing up individual files and folders, whole drives or partitions, or creating a full system backup. There's also a 'smart' option that automatically backs up files in commonly used locations, and you have the option of using cloud storage.

Backups can then be scheduled, running as incremental, differential or full backups as required (see below for a full explanation of the differences).

The free version of EaseUS Todo Backup has almost all the features of the premium edition. You can still run backups on a schedule, but lose the ability to have these backups triggered by various events – not something most people will miss. The same goes for command line-driven backups, PC-to-PC data transfer, and Outlook backup; they're all nice to have, but their absence is unlikely to be a deal-breaker.

A few features are exclusive to the premium version, but EasusUS Todo Backup Free is more than enough for just about everyone out there.

Read our full EaseUS Todo Backup Free review.

Best for scheduling

(Image credit: FBackup)

6. FBackup

Best for easy scheduling

Reasons to buy

+
Automatic scheduling
+
Wizard-based setup

Reasons to avoid

-
No encryption
-
No incremental backups

FBackup has a slightly unappealing (and Office-inspired) interface, but don’t let that put you off. Beneath the ugly exterior is a capable backup utility, although it isn't as feature-rich as tools like Paragon Backup & Recovery.

FBackup offers a choice of wizard and advanced modes. Whichever you choose, it's easy to create backup jobs comprising files and folders, which can be saved to local or network drives, removable disks, or Google Drive. Scheduling is available to keep your backups up to date.

There are in-program ads suggesting you upgrade to the paid-for Backup4all, but thankfully they are relatively unobtrusive so hopefully you'll be able to ignore them if you're not interested.

The free version of the program lacks a few features, but these might be inconsequential, depending on your needs. If you can live without encryption, FTP backups, email notifications and incremental backups, Fbackup is well worth checking out.

We've also featured the best data recovery software.


Also consider these free backup options

A couple of other software applications worth considering are cloud backup software include the cloud backup solutions listed below. Although you install the application on your PC or other devices, your files are backed up in the cloud. This means not only do you have an easy way to recover those files if your PC or hardware fails, but you can also ensure that your backup is continuous, as well as accessible from any device through synchronization.

Microsoft OneDrive is the backup and sync storage option bundled with Microsoft Office 365. There is a free version that allows up to 10GB of storage and there are paid options to upgrade, but this can prove expensive over the long term if you want to backup and sync a sizable hard drive. Even still, it's useful to keep the most essential files safe. What makes OneDrive potentially ideal is if you also have a subscription to Office 365, as that entitles you to a huge 1TB of cloud storage.

Dropbox is another cloud server that allows you to save important documents online, again being free to use with the same limitations as above. But as before, the ability to save a smaller number of essential files, such as for work, study, creative projects, and similar, can be invaluable.

We've also compiled a list of the best online photo storage services.


FAQs

How to choose the free backup software for you?

When you're choosing backup software it's worth understanding the different types of backups.

An image is an exact copy of an entire drive or partition, including all installed programs and system files. If you need to reinstall Windows, you can boot from the image file and avoid having to reinstall all your programs and reconfigure your Windows settings. Note that you can't use an image to restore your system on a different PC.

Images are very large and take a long time to create, so you won't want to make one every day. For everyday backups, you'll only want to copy the most important data on your PC – your documents, photos and music, for example. There are several types of regular backup:

  • Full backup: a copy of all selected data.
  • Differential backup: a copy of the data that has changed or been added since the last full backup.
  • Incremental backup: a copy of the data that has changed since the last backup, whether that was full backup or incremental.

Each differential backup will be larger than the last, but to restore your system you'll only need the full backup and the latest differential one. Incremental backup files are smaller, but to restore your system you'll need your full backup as well as all subsequent incremental ones, which takes longer.

When deciding which free backup software to download and use, first try to determine how difficult the data might be to recover. For example, not all will backup multiple partitions at the same time.

Additionally, free or budget software options may have built-in limitations on how much data or how many files you can actually backup.

How we test

To test for the best free backup software we first set up an account with the relevant software platform, whether as a download or as an online service. We then tested the service to see how the software could be used for backing up data from both a normal hardware as a well as an external hard drive. The aim was to push each software platform to see how useful its basic tools were and also how easy it was to get to grips with any more advanced tools.

Read how we test, rate, and review products on TechRadar.  

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Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 25 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

You can find her on Twitter and Mastodon.