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15 Free Security and Backup Utilities

Workhorse Programs to Keep Your Data Safe

Avoid data disasters with these seven downloads and services.

Sure, you regularly back up local data. But what about Facebook contacts, Twitter feeds, and Flickr photos? If you don't trust the cloud, sign up for Backupify to get 1GB of storage, weekly backups of all your online accounts, and the ability to download your backups to your PC.

Macrium Reflect Free Edition images your hard drive so that you can restore your system in the event of a disaster. This download can run automatically at set times, too. The utility's seemingly straightforward interface requires some understanding of the XML data format, however.

Windows Live SkyDrive gives you 25GB of free online storage, and SDExplorer lets you access that storage right from Windows Explorer. No more wrangling Live SkyDrive's rather awkward Web-based interface--this extension provides drag-and-drop simplicity for file management.

Protect your data files, folders, and programs--in addition to your system files--with Comodo Time Machine.
Like Windows' own System Restore, Comodo Time Machine can roll back your PC to an earlier state. However, this download does more than just protect the Registry and your system files: It backs up files, folders, and programs, as well. Windows won't load? Press the Home key while booting to access all of CTM's roll-back features.

SpiderOak gives you 2GB of free online backup space, a perfect amount for preserving small batches of data such as Word documents or Quicken files. This download runs in the background, saving your selected files whenever it detects changes, so you can set it and forget it. Plus, the software can archive data stored on network drives.

Courtesy of Microsoft, SyncToy syncs files between two home-network locations, such as a desktop and a laptop, or a flash drive and a network folder. Just choose a "left" and "right" folder and specify a few sync settings; this little-known utility does the rest.

The Todo Backup download creates an image of your entire drive or of a partition, among other tasks.
Compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7, the Todo Backup download creates an image of your entire hard drive or an individual partition. You can restore that backup from within Windows or via a bootable CD, which the download will burn for you. Note: This tool has no scheduling option.

About the authors: Adam Pash is the editor of Lifehacker. Rick Broida writes PCWorld's Hassle-Free PC blog.

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