Save your data with one of these top backup programs

We test five new apps that make saving -- and restoring -- your vital data a lot easier than tools you've tried in the past.

Saving files on your hard drive is the easy part; choosing how to back up those files can be more difficult.

And why do you need backup software? If you ever have a hard drive fail, or get hit with an impossible-to-remove virus, you'll find that a complete backup — including your files, drives, and operating system — is the simplest way to get things back to normal. Not having backups is like flying in a combat zone without a parachute.

Traditional backup programs help you organize, schedule, and maintain your backups, and their newest versions make doing so easier than ever. However, tradition is quickly accommodating new realities. Two of the products we tested — NovaStor NovaBackup and EMC Retrospect Professional — recognize the increasing role of online backup in users' backup strategies.

Online backup is easy, secure, and safer than local backup (by virtue of being off-site, and being stored on drives that are themselves backed up regularly by your online service provider). Nevertheless, it isn't appropriate for everyone; most users have relatively slow upload speeds over their online connection, so online backup can be considerably slower than backing up to a local or ethernet hard disk. With a large collection of digital photos or multimedia, you're talking several days, literally.

Ideally, all backup programs would offer seamless access to all online backup services, but most don't. In the case of NovaStor and EMC, both companies also offer separate online backup services (NovaNet-Web and Mozy, respectively), which made tighter integration between the software and the online service a natural progression (NovaStor does a much better job at this than EMC, which offers basically a band-aid solution).

And while online backup is clearly the wave of the future, don't wait for the future to add a backup utility to your list of must-have applications now. A delay could be one of the costliest mistakes you'll ever make in your computing life.

The backup programs discussed on these pages are all available as downloads — see the link at the end of each review.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon L. Jacobi

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?