Disaster Recovery

Five friendly apps for backup-shy users

The complexity of many backup tools scares off a lot of users. These less intimidating choices are effective and easy to use.

We all know that we should be backing up our systems on a regular basis. Unfortunately, backup software tends to be hard to use, which keeps people from using it. If you're looking for a friendlier way to handle the task, here are five utilities that are well suited for backup novices.

1: Carbonite

Carbonite is an online backup system that's dead simple to use. Really, you just do the installation and a basic registration and it is working. There are few options to configure and little to get wrong. Carbonite has the usual drawbacks of online backup (namely, the restore speed and lack of bare-metal restore), and it would be nice if it had options to copy to local storage. Carbonite has a continuous backup option, which backs up files when they change.

2: Mozy

Mozy is another well-respected online backup service. It makes life easier, but it also has all the disadvantages of online backup. Like Carbonite, Mozy can do continual backups as files change, and it has mobile apps so you can view your files on the go. Mozy's pricing is based on your storage needs, which works out well for some users and no so well for others.

3: Windows Backup

Windows Backup is one of the more complex choices on this list, but it still has enough wizards to walk a novice user through setting it up. Unlike some other offerings, Windows Backup does not provide continuous backup. It has the advantage of being free, and it can perform bare-metal restorations with nothing other than the backup files and a Windows install disk.

4: Comodo Backup

Like Windows Backup, Comodo Backup is a bit more sophisticated than some other options, but it has the wizards needed to walk new users through setting up a backup. As of this writing, it offers a free session with an expert to perform the configuration for you, which is a unique proposition. It also features a "profiles" capability that packages various backup settings for easy use. And it can back up to an online location, giving it a lot of flexibility. Comodo Backup is free software.

5: Acronis True Image Home 2012

Acronis True Image Home 2012 is an easy-to-use backup application with a huge bonus: disk imaging. Disk imaging lets you directly copy the contents of a drive to another or to store it as an easily transported file. For an additional cost, you can also back up online. Acronis sells a feature pack that offers a host of extra functionality, such as being able to restore the system to a different set of hardware.

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

5 comments
Will Shirley
Will Shirley

I backed up my Windows 7/Kubuntu laptop to my Seagate GoFlex home drive... no problem, it created a huge single file where I told it to put it. I tried the upgrade Kubuntu Ultimate Edition 3.2 to UE 3.5 and in the process I failed to pay attention and the damn thing installed all over my hard drive on the laptop. NO Windows, just Linux-Kubuntu 3.5 ultimate edition. Not a problem, think I, we'll just boot up the recovery disk and restore the original drive. Once you boot from the recovery disk you are given lots of choices and NOT ONE will restore my hard disk because EaseUs Todo Backup is incapable of restoring from a GoFlex drive EVEN THOUGH it could see it well enough to back up my laptop system to the GoFlex drive!! I have tried plugging the GoFlex drive directly to the laptop and it still cannot "see" it. Now somebody explain to me how the damn thing can write to a disk it claims it cannot see? I have lost all my photgraphs, my emails, my writings....all gone into one singlee 78 gigabite file which cannot be moved to any other drive because of the 4 gig limit. Who the Hell thought we should limit the size of a file to be moved to 4 gigs or even limit the size of the file name (for that matter)?? and of course a DVD can't contain the file, nor a CD, nor a USB drive. What possible thing have I not tried yet? I can't install Windows on the laptop again because Microsoft doesn't allow Best Buy to restore my laptop to factory condition without me buying it all over again! I am pissed and frustrated. I used to like Linux but I wonder now if it is worth the trouble.

hillelana
hillelana

Try Backblaze. They respond to emails pretty quickly.

bobp
bobp

EaseUs ToDo Backup is free and easy to use. It requires a second disk of the same size or larger to clone a disk.

SBMongoos
SBMongoos

Have version 3 of EaseUs. Thought it was going to replace Acronis for my needs as TIH 2011 and 2012 were causing issue. Backed up fine and has lots of features. However, when I went to test the restore it would not do it. Said it could not restore as the disks did not match. Odd. As I was simply restoring the data back to the disk I had backed up. Wish it had worked. Looked great for free.

brocksamson2011
brocksamson2011

I used EaseUs a few years ago and didnt like their customer service when i had a problem. Basically after providing all the requested info by email to solve my issue - when they realized they didnt have an answer to my problem, they just started ignoring all attempts at communication....I wont use anyone with that kind of customer service free or not.

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