We tested the latest shipping versions of two popular backup packages: NovaStor's NovaBACKUP Professional 7.2 and Roxio's Backup MyPC Deluxe. Both have undergone minor facelifts and feature lots of small, worthwhile improvements, but NovaBACKUP goes further by adding disaster recovery. Now, this application is barking with the big dogs.
NovaBACKUP 7.2 introduces new disaster recovery features, enabling you to restore the contents of your hard drive - even when you can't boot into your operating system - if you use Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP.
Kudos to NovaBACKUP's visual makeover, too: the new graphics are classier than the old HTML look, yet the interface retains its predecessor's intuitive overall design and workflow. It's as easy to use as BackUp MyPC and far easier than the powerful, but occasionally challenging, Dantz Retrospect Professional 6.5. NovaBACKUP also supports an array of storage devices, too: tape drives, hard drives, optical media, and now double-layer recordable DVDs and Iomega's Rev drive.
Our only complaints about this lower-end version of NovaBACKUP are decidedly mild: it can't perform uncompressed native file backups, and you have to manually edit (using Windows Notepad) the lists that include or exclude files from a backup.
The changes to Roxio's (now a division of Sonic Solutions) BackUp MyPC are less far-reaching. BackUp MyPC 6 also features a new look; but while first-time users may appreciate the friendly icons and the direct access to wizards on the new startup screen, we're left wondering why the program's designers chose to mess with a good thing. In handling the utilitarian task of backing up, the old tabbed interface worked virtually to perfection. Now, reaching the backup page entails performing an extra step, and your options are needlessly restricted to the task at hand.
All told, the tweaks to the interface make the new version of BackUp MyPC marginally easier to learn - yet slightly more difficult to use - than previous versions; still, it's far better than Dantz's Retrospect on both counts.
Beyond the altered interface, this is a relatively modest upgrade of version 5. It adds support for new devices such as dual-layer 8.5GB DVD burners as well as improved disaster recovery for PCs running on Windows XP (with Service Pack 1 or 2) or Windows 2000 (with SP4). Other new perks include the ability to resume DVD backups interrupted by a bad disc, and the option to create backups that span multiple hard drives.
Alas, there's still no uncompressed native file backup for hard-drive users, though the company says it will address that shortcoming in a future version.
Verdict BackUp MyPC now has a more-than-worthy competitor in NovaBACKUP 7.2, which offers broader support for storage devices, but costs a little more in being sold locally. Most users will be fine with either application, but NovaBACKUP 7.2 is the one we'll be using.
NovaStor NovaBACKUP Pro 7.2
Price:$130 Distributor: Datasafe Phone: (08) 8339 2276 URL:www.novastor.com;www.datasafe.com.au System requirements:Windows 98SE through to XP; Pentium II-class processor; 64MB RAM; back up device (CD/DVD writer, tape drive, removable media or hard disk)
Features: 8 Value: 6 Overall: 7
Roxio Backup MyPC Deluxe
Price: $89.99 Distributor: Dick Smith Electronics Phone: (02) 9642 9100 URL:www.roxio.com.au; www.dicksmith.com.au System Requirements: Windows 98SE to XP; Pentium III 300MHz processor; 128MB RAM; 50MB free hard disk space; back up device (CD/DVD writer, tape drive, removable media or extra hard disk)
Features: 7 Value: 7 Overall: 7