Data Centers

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.

Editor's Picks