My experience with Duplicati, Arq7 and Restic under Windows 10

Hi there,

so I tried all three backup clients recommended for syncosync under Windows. I was dealing with 120,000 files totalling 1.7 TB worth of data. Here is my - personal and thus subjective - experience with them:

Duplicati 2.0

  • very easy to install, newbie-friendly
  • fast backup speed both on first backup and later snapshots
  • erroneous job control, e.g. when trying to cancel running backup jobs sometimes no reaction at all, also (I think) some strange behaviour when trying to continue a previously interrupted backup job
  • restore from existing (configured) backup job went smoothly
  • but: in case of a catastrophic event, the local configured backup job will no longer be available; I thus tried to restore a file just using the data in the backup, and there problems started; in particular it started to rebuild some database which progressed extremely slowly; after some 20 minutes or so I decided to cancel; this really did not instill trust in me
  • there are reviews on the net where people have commented; check out the comments by “Kevin Black” and “AJ” on this page: Duplicati Review 2022 [2.0 Features, Security & More] - I have to say, what “Kevin Black” writes agrees with my subjective impression; I did not feel that I could trust it in case of a full data loss, and that is for me a showstopper - so I will not go with it

Arq7

  • the GUI is really old-fashioned and cumbersome
  • backup speed was slower than Duplicati, but I did not complete the whole backup
  • 50 USD for one computer or 80 USD for 5 computers, and updates for only one year seemed unattractive for me
  • might be a good option for someone needing a GUI and having the same trust issues re Duplicati that I have

Restic

  • no GUI, thus really only for the tech-savvy
  • backup speed was (surprisingly) slower for me than with Duplicati
  • I found a very good set of scripts for Windows that very nicely wrap around Restic and set up a regular task within the Windows task scheduler: GitHub - kmwoley/restic-windows-backup: Powershell scripts to run Restic backups on Windows - once set up by an expert I think this will also work fine for newbies
  • restore works quick and reliably, but only from the command line; possibly also newbies can do it if given command line examples

So, my personal conclusion: I will go with Restic. But sadly it is not a solution for everyone.

Cheers,
Tim

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Hi Tim,

thx for your very impressive report! Right now I am using Duplicati with Linux and at least since one year and using the canary version the database rebuild looks fine. I have to try again to restore… I need some other empty machine for that :slight_smile:

So yes, without GUI restic may be the way to go. The files are rather small in restic, but not too small…

Have you made some research for other backup programs which could work?

Hi Stevie,

so your experience is that if I had just waited long enough for the Duplicati database rebuild, it would have worked? (But why then not just store a copy of the database in the backup? It just feels wrong!)

No, I have not looked into other solutions so far, as Restic seems to do the job for me. But indeed, some further research might be good. If I come across something, I will certainly let you know.

Hi once more,

another option that seems like it could be good for Windows users is Duplicacy. The command-line version is free for personal use, so an expert user could set up the automated backup purely with the CLI version. Then in case of a restore one can use the GUI in the free version, so that would also be possible for less tech-savvy users. From the other features Duplicacy also sounded quite sophisticated with some advantages over restic (lock-less access, compression). But I have not tried it and am quite happy with restic and the scripts I referred to above.

In 2020 there was a comparison between some backup tools in the duplicati forum, which looks quite interesting:

On question from a naive Linux-Only user: is there a way to set up restic on Windows so, that it backups once a week when the windows system is awake, so after a setup phase a normal windoze laptop user could be left allone?

Interesting indeed! It confirms that restic is way slower than Duplicati on the initial backup, which I also noticed. But for incremental backups this then hardly matters, it seems. This is outweighed for me by the issues I have personally seen and read about from many others regarding Duplicati restore when you have lost the database on the computer to be backed up, or corruption of the database has occurred. See also here: https://www.reddit.com/r/selfhosted/comments/nq6zh3/whats_your_experience_with_duplicati_other/

Yes! The windows scripts I mentioned above do just that. They set up a Windows task that is executed once per day (of course can be changed). They take care of pruning the backups in a reasonable way. They also set up proper logs and will send an email if an error occurred (or optionally also if no error occurred). So once set up by a tech-savvy person, I think it should be the perfect backup solution for “normal users”. Just when restoring one will need to go to the command line, but it is at least made easier also with the scripts.

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