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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?