Areca: An Open Source File Backup Software for Windows

Areca Backup is an Open Source file backup software that runs on Windows and Linux. It allows users to select and create backup copies of files (which can be encrypted and compressed) or directories for storing them on external drives, pen drives, FTP servers and others.

Free file backup software

Areca is not a disk-ghosting application, such as Norton Ghost or Symantec Ghost. It won’t be able to create an image of your disk partitions. It is an easy to use file backup software that has the ability to support different backups like:

1)   Incremental – Only the files which have been modified since the last backup are stored in your archive.

2)    Differential – Only the files which have been modified since the last FULL backup are stored in your archive.

3)    Full backups – Store all your files an archive (whether modified or not)

Once the backup parameters are defined, they can be launched with a single click. Areca even uses file’s size and last modification time to detect modified files. If it is found any one of these attributes is altered, the file is flagged as modified. This helps in fast detection of modified files.

The free program offers two user interfaces:

  1. Graphical User Interface (GUI) – It is the main interface of Areca, useful for general administration tasks. It provides all the facilities needed to define which sets of files/directories are to be stored (sets are “Targets” in Areca’s terminology), where and how they should be stored. It can also be used to explore your archives, search and recover files, explore a specific file’s history and much more. In a way, it is useful for general administration tasks
  2. Command-Line Interface – Firstly, This interface can be used to launch the backups that have been defined in the graphical user interface (“Targets”). Second, it can be integrated into a task scheduling software and can be used to recover your archives after a disk crash.

Areca Backup Engine Features:

  • Archives compression (Zip & Zip64 format)
  • Archives encryption (AES128 & AES256 encryption algorithms)
  • Storage on local hard drive, network drive, USB key, FTP, FTPs (with implicit and explicit SSL / TLS) or SFTP server
  • Source file filters (by extension, subdirectory, regular expression, size, date, status, with AND/OR/NOT logical operators)
  • Incremental, differential and full backup support
  • Support for delta backup (store only modified parts of your files)
  • Archives merges: You can merge contiguous archives into one single archive to save storage space.
  • As of date recovery: Areca allows you to recover your archives (or single files) as of a specific date.
  • Backup reports: Areca generates backup reports that can be stored on your disk or sent by email.

Areca Graphical User Interface Features:

  • Archives content explorer (including a ‘find file in archives’ feature)
  • Archive description: A manifest is associated with each archive, which contains various information such as title, date, description, and additional technical data.
  • File version tracking: Areca keeps track of your files’ history (creation / modifications / deletion). Each version can be selectively viewed and recovered.
  • Backup simulation (checks whether a backup is necessary)
  • User’s actions history: Areca keeps the history of user’s actions (archives deletion, merges, backups, recoveries).


Areca requires JAVA runtime environment and supports multiple storage modes. These include,

  1. Standard –  It is the default mode, mostly  recommended to users
  2. Delta – This mode is recommended for advanced users
  3. Image – The mode is capable of creating a unique archive that gets updated with each backup.

In addition to all this, Areca provides tools required for Archive recovery (with or without deleted files). Currently, there appears to be no Areca 64-bit package for Windows.

Looking for more Free Backup Software? These links are sure to interest you:

  1. Macrium Reflect: Free backup and image software for Windows
  2. GFI Backup, a FREE backup software for Windows
  3. Freeware Acronis True Image Alternatives & Norton Ghost Alternatives
  4. Paragon Free Backup & Recovery software for Windows
  5. Clonezilla Live: A Free Imaging Software for Windows to Clone Disks
  6. EASEUS Todo Backup for Windows, a free file backup, and disaster recovery software.
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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in bio-technology and has an immense interest in following Windows, Office and other technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.

One Comment

  1. Guest

    Hi there is a plugin named “ArecaVSS” that adds volume shadow copy support to areca backup (

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