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External Hard drive backup---what software to use?

Discussion in 'Backup and Restore' started by LouLocc, Mar 20, 2023.

  1. LouLocc


    Mar 20, 2023
    Operating System:
    Windows 10
    I have many 1000s of folders and files on my PC that I want to save to an external hard drive as a precaution in case my PC dies. I am using Windows 10 OS. For as long as I can remember, I have used “GFI backup freeware” (originally recommended by my computer tech) which has worked well for me especially because most of my data has file names or folder path names that exceed the 256 character limit, and GIF backup freeware was able to work around this obstacle.

    In fact, before realizing there was a file/path character limit, I joined Carbonite as a cloud storage service but soon had to cancel my membership since it would not accommodate my long file/path names. Similarly, when I tried “copying and pasting” my files from my PC to an external hard drive, it also gave me the same error message.

    In the last few weeks, my GFI freeware has not been working. I have tried to download a newer version, but I cant find any on the web, leading me to believe GFI is not offering it’s back-up freeware anymore. Is anyone aware of the status of GFI backup freeware?

    My current situation is that I need to back up my PC’s hard drive within a few days, since my new PC will be arriving then, so I want to have my files securely backed up before the new installation. The dilemma is that without GFI backup freeware, I will need another transfer app/program that will allow me to transfer these long file names from my PC to an external hard drive and I don’t know of any. I could go in and shorten the file/folder names to within 256 characters, but that would take me longer than a few days.

    I would appreciate any suggestions on what I can do.

    Thank you.
  2. allheart55 (Cindy E)

    allheart55 (Cindy E) Administrator Administrator

    Jun 11, 2009
    Operating System:
    Windows 10
    Computer Brand or Motherboard:
    AMD Phenom II X6 1090T-Thuban 3.2GHz
    Crucial-DDR3 SDRAM 1333-8GB
    Hard Drive:
    WD Caviar Black SE HDD 640 GB - WD Caviar Black SE HDD 500 GB
    Graphics Card:
    Sapphire Radeon HD-7870 2GB
    Power Supply:
    IJAC likes this.
  3. Tony D

    Tony D Administrator Administrator

    Sep 25, 2009
    SE Pennsylvania, USA
    Operating System:
    Windows XP Professional
    Hello and welcome LouLocc, Long file names or paths (over 256 characters as you found out) present an obstacle to Windows when it comes to copying individual files to an external hard drive. I offer two solutions if the new version of GFI that AllHeart posted doesn't work

    1) Use an alternate backup program.
    Go to our Recommend Software page at https://computerhelpforums.com/threads/chf-recommended-software.48136/
    Look in the Backup Software section. Macrium Reflect is a popular free backup solution

    2) Enable Windows 10 LongPaths.
    Windows 10 has the capability of copying file names up to 37,767 characters. For that option you need to edit the registry to enable it. Firstly I warn you that messing with the registry can mess you your machine so you need to back up the registry first.
    Fire Regedit.exe, the registry editor.
    Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
    Double-click LongPathsEnabled
    Set to 1 and click OK

    Note: I found that option was already enabled on this Windows 10 machine that I'm using today. I tested it and found that it just didn't work.
    IJAC likes this.

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