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Backup Software Comparison & Reviews

Comparison of Backup Software

While there are countless backup programs available, I have included below a few of the utilities that I evaluated in trying to find the "best" backup software for my ultimate backup scheme. Note that the list contains both synchronization (mirror) utilities and backup utilities -- but the emphasis has been on backup programs. Generally, the entries with No Catalog are synchronizers. For my offsite backup, I am reliant on a full-featured backup utility, while for other operations (such as mirroring certain files between drives), I can use a simple synchronization utility.

For background, please have a look at the article: selecting the best backup software.

Programs that I have fully evaluated

Backup UtilityVer Vendor & Cost Catalog EncryptionFTPVersioning Non
Proprietary
Reviews
Backup4all 3 Softland
$44.95
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Reviews
BackupNOW Deluxe3NTIUS
$69.99
No No No No No Reviews
DirSync 3 Archersoft
$24.95
No No Yes Yes Yes Reviews
Genie Backup Manager 7 Pro Genie-Soft
$69.95
Yes Yes Yes Yes No [1] Reviews
Second Copy 7 Centered Systems
$29.95
No No [2] Yes Yes Yes Reviews
  • Note: [1] - Genie Backup Manager Pro (GBM) uses a standard ZIP format for compression, but a separate proprietary utility for the encryption.
  • Note: [2] - Second Copy supports encryption, but not in profiles using FTP destinations.

Other programs to consider

Backup UtilityVer Vendor & Cost Catalog EncryptionFTPVersioning Non
Proprietary
Reviews
FileBack PC 4 Maximum Output
$55.00
No [3] Yes No Yes No [4]  
NovaBackup 7.5 Novastor
$44.95
No Yes No No Yes  
SyncBack SE 5 2BrightSparks
$30.00
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
SyncToy 1.2 Microsoft
FREE
No No No No Yes  
VersionBackup 4 Master SB-AW
$58.00
No Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Beyond Compare 2 Scooter Software
$30.00
No No Yes No [6] Yes Reviews
  • Note: [3] - FileBack PC uses a mechanism that uses file deletion rather than incremental updates. This negates some of the disadvantages over using the archive bit.
  • Note: [4] - Even though FileBack PC provides a free decompression utility for their backups, it is still single-source and runs the risk of not being supported someday.
  • Note: [6] - Through some use of scripting, Beyond Compare can potentially provide a basic form of versioning.
Key
Catalog Uses an internal database of changed files, instead of trying to rely on the archive bit file attribute. The archive bit is only practical for the most basic of backup jobs. Therefore, I am generally less interested in programs that do not use a catalog.
Versioning The program has some ability to allow roll-back to previous versions of your files, should you need to recover one. This helps prevent against user error, where you may damage / corrupt a file, backup the corrupted version, and then be unable to recover any older version.
Non
Proprietary
Not all backup programs will be supported indefinitely. Therefore, you really want to be sure that your backup data can be recovered by other third-party utilities if necessary. This column refers primarily to the type of files created when one uses compression and/or encryption. Thankfully, many programs rely on a ZIP file format (with encryption), so that WinZip or other ZIP archivers can recover the backup job if necessary. I have a strong preference for programs that use a non-proprietary format for the job.
Encryption Strong encryption based on an industry standard (such as AES). Utilities that advertise password protection don't use encryption unless explicitly mentioned. Simple password protection is often useless.

Conclusions

To implement my ultimate backup scheme, I have currently selected Backup4All by Softland. It offers all of the features I need for a secure remote backup system, and appears to be relatively bug-free. Genie Backup Manager Pro was promising, but it does not seem to be stable enough to rely on.

For simple mirroring purposes, I have relied extensively on DirSync, which I would highly recommend.

Command-line Tools

For those who are very comfortable with the Windows scripting environment, there are a few other products that may be worth consideration. These programs are inherently more difficult to use, but may provide more flexibility in certain configurations. Note that some of the more comprehensive programs listed above may also offer command-line invocation as well.

 


Reader's Comments:

Please leave your comments or suggestions below!
2011-03-16Briantj
 I've just bought GBM Pro V8. I had to upgrade from my prvious version of GBN because of a move to a new 64 bit computer running Windows 7. First problem was with the interface with Sonic (no problems with my 32 bit version of GBM). Second problem was the self-restorable backup disks it creates aren't self-restorable, in fact they won't work! Their tech support tell me that this is because the code was written for 32 bit platforms. If they haven't got the 64 bit platform version designed and implemented competently, which it seems they haven't, then this is very worrying for such a critical application as backup.
2011-03-14Bob
 For enterprise / organizations, I suggest to take a look at EdgeSafe Backup http://www.datamills.com.

It is centrally managed, works automatically, can backup PST files even if they are in use, and does a fast incremental backup that is easy to recover from...
2010-06-09shumisha
 Hi
I sort of came to the sme conclusion as you had, tried several software and finally settled on backup4all (just las tmonth), then conducted more testing. I unfortunately came across a significant issue in backup4all, which was acknoledged byt tech support, who said there was no way to cahnge this behavior.
The problem is that if you have 2 directories with same name, but different letter case, bakcup4all can't handle them, and will always use the first one it met.
For instance, c:\Files\Documentation and c:\Data\documentation will be backed up both as c:\Files\Documentation and c:\Data\Documentation (notice the case of second directory has been changed to capital D).
When restoring, the directory name is thus restored with the wrong case. That's fine in most cases on windows, except if you do some web development for instance, where some programs can read directory names and make comparisons that are case-sensitive (not a theoritical case, I spent hours trying to debug a sofwtare of mine, before finding out it was the data on disk that had been modified, after a restore operation).
I have now switched to syncback (which, contrary to your table made fro SyncBackSE probably, has a catalog, versionning, etc + Sftp, which was my first requirement). Looking good so far, but a bit slow I found.

Cheers
 Thanks for the feedback. I have also updated the table entry for SyncBackSE.
2010-05-23John
 Can you review this backup program Dmailer http://www.dmailer.com/dmailer-backup.html i want to know better before i will buy it.

Thanks,
Best Regards
2010-03-20derek
 Thank you for providing such a useful comparison of backup tools. I have also been looking for a good file level backup.

In addition to files, I am also looking for an disk image program that uses a non-proprietary format.

I wondered if you had encountered anything in your searches.
2010-03-14JRS
 I did not phrase the question properly-I see that now. Sorry.
I meant syncing between a couple of pc's and different drives as well as online storage.
My understanding of Backup4all is that it's a one pc program.
I need to be able to back up between at least 2 computers as well as my different drives and online.
I am not sure what to use.
Thanks.
JRS
 Ok, that's definitely a more involved feature requirement. I am not aware of any tools that handle this specifically. If anyone knows of tools that can provide such a capability, please feel free to share what you've found.
2010-03-14JRS
 What do I use for syncing when I use Backup4all for backups?
I use Windows 7 Pro.
Thanks for any advice.
JRS
 Backup4All will synchronize your backups to wherever you have configured the backups to reside. Perhaps I misunderstood your question?
 
2010-02-01jwg
 hi,
i'm testing Genie Backup Manager Professional V8.0 & Acronis TrueImage Backup 10 for my Win2003 Server

both software cannot Include files/folders only using wildcards and only GBM cannot exclude Folders using wildcards (but can exclude files using wildcards)

have you evaluated Acronis backup without crashes/glitches?

thanks
2008-04-22elvis n
 One problem with Backup4all is that if temp is used for zipping and it's happens to be under your windows home dir, it will cause to loop.
 Thanks elvis -- If this is the case, I assume that there is an easy workaround: selecting a different directory for the temp?
2008-03-07Miron
 Hi,

I tested the Backup4All. I was completly happy with the software until one serious problem occured. It deleted its catalogues and it even deleted the backup data (it was not an misuse or misclick, I tried it repeatedly - I had three mirror backup).

I'm now trying the Genie, the only problem is the proprietary format. It seams that it is possible to make it non-proprietary.
(Well it is non-sence either it is proprietary or not, but I hope you got my point)
"7z x data +password" creates .genc files that are no more encrypted and also some part of the path is created. Each of this files can be unzipped without dificulties in total commander.

It seams as if the Genie zips data into packs of files ("supernodes") and then joins these files into one (or more) and encypts them. But this is just my guess.

if it will work this way it is imho non-proprietary. In the bad case I would be unable to use the Genie, I'm able to get the data.

I'll test it further with all my backup data (I tried just few files now) and I'll also let you now, if there is any simplier way with Genie.

Thanks for the reviews!
Miron
 Miron -- That failure you had with B4A; what did tech support say about it? Did they confirm that their program might have caused this to happen? This is the first time that I've heard of any real issue. With GBP, I realize that the format is still probably reliant upon the ZIP engine, but I wasn't sure if the encryption was ZIP-compatible. If you find out more information, I'd be interested in hearing it.
2008-01-24David
 do you take requests to review other backup software? i've been running the trial of Ion from Universe point, and i'm looking for other opinions before purchasing.
thanks
david
 Ion looks reasonable, particularly for simpler backup requirements. If I get some time after my holiday, I'll see if I can put it through its paces. Thanks.
2007-10-02Robert
 Hi JimD,

After spending 20 satisfactory days of using Genie Backup Manager Pro V8.0 I believe it has what you are looking for.

Genie Backup Manager Pro V8.0 offers a very easy to use search feature called "The Catalog", which contains a list of all backup jobs and the files backed up during each job.

Using this catalog feature you can view, search for and extract files directly without going through the restore wizard.
2007-09-20JimD
 I do not need security for my backups, and would like to know if there is a backup app that will allow me to look at my backed up files without having to restore them to the c drive; I back up to a maxtor external hard drive and also to dvd. Currently, I use acronis which requires files to be restored in order to view them.
Thanks for any help.
JD
 What I think you are looking for is a program that simply does file copying, not compression or encryption. Backup programs often use compression to save disk space, but then this would limit your ability to view the files on the external drive (for example) without restoring them. Have a look at DirSync as I think it will do what you need.

Some backup programs (such as Genie Backup Manager Pro, if I remember correctly) will allow you to backup while compressing each file into their own ZIP file (not one huge ZIP file). This way you can have a look at a particular file that you've backed up by running the unzip utility on the single file, without having to restore it to the main drive first.
2007-09-09Robert
 Thank you ... is there anyway or any website that would assist me in evaluating V8.0 of genie backup manager professional?

I've downloaded it's trial copy and it's working smoothly so far.
 That's good to hear that it is working well for you. I had a hard time trying to find decent unbiased review sites for software such as this (i.e. sites that don't accept free review copies, advertising, etc.), so if you find one, please report back.

In the interim, if you do get an opportunity to evaluate it with large, encrypted offsite FTP backup jobs, I would be most interested to hear about your experiences. Thanks.
2007-09-07Robert
 Hi,

Have you tested Genie Backup Manager Professional V8.0?

I need a backup software with disaster recovery and offsite backup capabilities and a friend of mine recommended Genie Backup Manager Professional V8.0 by Genie-soft.

any help would be appreciated.

thanks,
Robert
 Although I did spend considerable time evaluating v7, I became frustrated with a number of critical software bugs and had to move on to a different product. If Genie has resolved their stability issues, then v8 may have the potential to be a great solution for your offsite backup needs.
2007-04-02Warren
 This is a great article. Thanks for all your hard work.

 


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