Duplicacy File Backup solution

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 4, 2016
Updated • Oct 4, 2016

Duplicacy is a file backup solution for Windows and Mac devices that supports local and remote backup storage locations among other things.

System backups are great, but they are often not well suited for taking into account files that are modified multiple times in between backup periods.

If you create new backups once a day or week, modifications to files that change more often are not taken into account. The same is true for files that are newly created in directories.

That's where file level backups come into play. They may run more frequently than system backups because they target only specific folders or files, and not the whole system. This results in more frequent backups to take changes into account.

Update: Duplicacy is no longer free. A personal license is available for $1 per month, commercial licenses for $3 per user.


Duplicacy is a free for personal use open-source file backup solution for Windows and Mac. The program installs quickly and displays the backup setup screen on start which you use to configure backup jobs.

This involves selecting a root folder on the local hard drive that you want to back up (called repository). Then you select the target directory for the backup (storage), which can either be local, network or cloud-based.

Duplicacy supports SFTP, Dropbox, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Storage, Amazon S3 and Backblaze B2 as options besides local disk.

Backups runs hourly by default on all days. You may change the frequency and the days you want backup jobs to run, for instance every 30 minutes on weekdays, or every six hours on Monday and Friday.

Snapshot pruning is enabled by default. The program deletes snapshots that are older than 180 days by default, but you may set a different time period or even disable pruning completely.

Backups may be encrypted with a password. This encrypts not only file contents but also file paths, sizes and other information.

The program uses incremental backups to keep the required storage requirements for the backup jobs as low as possible. It supports deduplication to further that goal.

Restore is built right into the GUI, but also supported using the command line.

Experienced users may use commands for better control and additional features that the gui version does not offer.

Some of the options provided are to backup to a different storage location, use hash file comparison instead of size and timestamp comparison, or assign a tag to a backup for identification purposes.

A guide on Github lists commands and the options they ship with.

Closing Words

Duplicacy is a basic file level backup program that ships with interesting under the hood options. Some features that are missing are options to manage multiple backup jobs using the graphical user interface, compression settings, or options to control network transfers.

Now You: My favorite backup program is Veeam currently. What is yours?

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  1. Darren said on October 4, 2016 at 9:33 am

    It is not free now.

  2. Martin said on August 14, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    I’d like to set up backup for my parents, my idea:
    – a software that starts upon attaching the USB HDD
    – that does automatic differential backups of user files
    – that ejects the USB HDD upon compeltition to prevent crypto trojans.
    Is Duplicacy the right tool – or other suggestions?
    Can Duplicacy backup more than one path (in the picture I can only see one path)?

  3. olidie said on August 14, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I have been a big fan of Syncback Pro for quite a while now. Although it’s not that cheap to purchase it’s a very usefull since powerfull programme. Backups are extremyl adjustable. Syncback offers a lot more than just file backups.

  4. Antonio said on August 4, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    EaseUS Todo Backup free version, discovered almost by chance.
    It supports compression, encryption, local and cloud destination (limited to one in the free version) and has a smart retention policy (http://kb.easeus.com/art.php?id=10007).

  5. Jeff said on August 4, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    My favorite is Bvckup 2 for file backup and the built-in Windows Backup for image-backups. I also use AOMEI Backupper free for image backups. All 3 support incremental/delta backups and shadow copy backups (to backup locked files).

    1. beemeup4 said on August 4, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      +1 Bvckup 2 is a beautifully well-made program. By far the best Windows file backup solution. For image backups I use Drive Snapshot (drivesnapshot.de). It’s great because you can do system drive snapshots without rebooting or interrupting your work.

      1. marcovh said on August 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

        +1 Drive Snapshot

    2. Rotten Scoundrel said on August 4, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Jeff, you don’t need Shadow Copy to backup locked files. An application just needs to use the built in windows CopyFileEx with the correct Flags set. To use Shadow Copy for a few locked files is a huge waste of storage space.

      I have my own that I have called “KitchenSync” as it copies everything defined individually, locked, in-use, hidden, everything. :)

  6. Dave S said on August 4, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Karens Replicator

    1. Joe Winett at KarenWare.com said on September 7, 2017 at 5:57 am

      Thanks! We’re releasing one fixed for Windows 10 Creator’s Update problem… https://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator

  7. Tibob said on August 4, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Doesn’t Incremental backup means that when you wish to restore a ceratin file it needs to go through the whole incremental chain to get to that file?
    Doesn’t it means that you have to make a full backup every period to avoid long chains?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      The company website states that every backup behaves like a full snapshot for easy restoration and deletion. I don’t know how this is achieved though.

      1. Gilbert Chen said on August 4, 2016 at 5:57 pm

        Hi, Martin,

        I’m the developer of Duplicacy. Glad to see your writeup!

        Duplicacy first splits files into chunks, and then compresses (and encrypts if required) chunks before uploading them to the storage. Each backup is no more than a list of chunk indices, and one chunk may be shared by multiple backups. When you restore from a backup, you reconstruct files from chunks referenced by that backup. To delete a backup, you just delete chunks unique to this backup and not shared by anyone else.

        Let me know if you have further questions.


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