Date: November 10th, 2002
Rating: Very good
WinBackup by swedish company LI Utilities is an easy-to-use backup software for PCs running Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP. It is attractive especially for the home user because it is affordable and has a user-friendly Explorer-like interface which toggles between Backup and Restore mode.
In Backup mode, it allows you create multiple backup jobs that can be customized to back up select data to different locations at various times.
You can specify what files to back up by partition, folder, or file.
WinBackup offers a nice Search window where you can search for files of a certain type. A good enhancement here would be to offer advanced search options like file size, modified date, attribute, etc.
Under Backup Settings, you specify additional options. You can either back up all selected files, or only files that have changed since the last backup, also known as differential backup. Other options are to exclude files of a certain type, and compress data to reduce the backup size.
Under Security Settings, you can specify a password and encryption type to protect your backup data.
Scheduling allows you to run backups automatically and unattended on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis on select days and times.
Once the backup is running, a status window shows backup status, speed, and data it’s working on, followed by a basic log file when done.
The restore process is equally easy: Specify the backup to restore from, select the partitions, folders, and/or files to restore, select whether to restore to the original location or somewhere else, and start the process.
The program is pretty straight forward, it doesn’t take a MCSE to figure out how to set it up. The manual is decent, easy to understand, and with good screenshots. A “wizard” can be started optionally at any time to help you create a backup job or restore data by providing step-by-step bubble help, pointing at the right buttons in the right order. The ability to schedule backups reduces the task of backing up to a one-time setup and then forget about it. Password protecion and encryption is offered for the additional peace of mind for users with confidential data on their drives. The ability of backing up to CD or DVD makes offsite backup storage easy. The software is affordable for the home user, leaving really no excuse to procrastinate backing up data.
While the program allows backing up to hard drives, network drives, removable drives, and CD/DVD, backing up to tape is not an option. WinBackup also doesn’t offer full disaster recovery capabilities. In order to restore files you need a functional Windows installation and WinBackup installed and running. The program has some minor UI quirks. Editing backup job names has to be done with caution due to the risk of accidentally deleting a job. A mouse is mandatory to operate the software, it is not possible to work all options by keyboard alone the way it should be. When backing up to CD, the software needs to create a temp file first on the harddrive, requiring appropriate hard drive space. There is an option to delete the temp file after the backup has been created, however, the file continued to exist after a test backup to CD-R even though the option was checked.
Submitted by: Alex “crazygerman” Byron