Backup4all Professional 8 review: Easy, reliable backup

An updated interface on top of a reliable engine makes it an appealing option to Windows File History

Credit: Rob Schultz/IDG

Since last I reviewed Backup4All, some years ago, the change has been all for the better. The program sports a new, modern interface and has built on the already broad range of destinations, including optical disc, with support for online storage services. 

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best Windows backup software. Go there for reviews on competing products and information about how we tested. 

Design and features

As you can see below, Backup4All is all-business in its approach to backup. It’s good-looking yet focused, and uses the Microsoft drop-down ribbon style, which nicely combines icons and text. The bare icons used by many programs, except when used sparingly, are a waste of cognition time.

backup4all a IDG

Backup4All’s interface is utilitarian, but in a pleasant way. You can show and hide the various panes to make it even simpler.

Considering its complexity, Backup4All is easy to use and unlike some programs, provides adequate information on what to do and what’s going on. The program steps you through job creation and tells you what went right and what went wrong in a straightforward and concise fashion. There were a few minor foibles, such as a very jerky redraw when resizing the main window, and a distinctly odd way of closing some panes by dragging an invisible divider to the edge of the window. 

All the expected functionality and options are provided, including email notifications, scheduling, media rotation, encryption, compression (zip), file include/exclude filters, comprehensive logging, and more. 

Backup4All supports a number of popular online storage services such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, HiDrive and Hubic. FTP and SFTP are also supported if you’re backing up to a NAS box or such, as I do.

Backup4All also provides some nice perks that I wish all vendors did, such as the ability to test a backup to make sure it will start correctly, an integrated utility to cull older backups, and a plug-in architecture that accepts XML files describing how to back up programs and their data. I was quite surprised to see my favorite music program, Ableton Live, on the list. There must be a musician in house, or using the program. 

backup4all c IDG

Backup4All supports a lot of destinations, and has all the options end-user and IT-types need.

IT staff dealing with lots of backup jobs will like the deep-dive features, such as search and a verbose history. You can define which columns (date, size, name, and quite a few more) are visible in the backup job list, and there’s a hideaway pane to the right of the main window that will pop out to show progress information.

A few feature limitations worth noting: You can’t save network user names and passwords. Backup4All doesn’t support multiple destinations per job, though it does let you duplicate jobs. Also, the program always zips files—plain file backup isn’t provided.

Performance

Faster is always better, but when it comes to backup, reliability trumps speed big time. After all, the goal is to protect your data. Any glitch anywhere in the process tends to destroy your faith in the program—and my faith has been tested by several backup programs recently.

Thankfully, that doesn’t include Backup4All, which was decently fast, zipping approximately 147GB worth of files to the network in about 2 hours and 10 minutes. More importantly, everything worked perfectly each and every time, from choosing files on the network to writing them to each destination. When it comes to backup, operational serenity like this is worth its weight in gold.

Pricing

The Backup4All Standard 8 version is $40, while the Backup4All Professional 8 version we tested is $50 from the Softland site. I recommend spending the extra $10 for the Professional version, as you don’t get FTP transfers or cloud backup with the Standard version.

There’s also a $20 Lite version that lacks some IT-centric features found in standard version such as back up from network locations (you can back up to them), the ability to run external programs before and after backups, and more. You can see the full comparison chart online.

Conclusion

If you want more granular control over your file backups than Windows File history provides, then you’ll like Backup4All Professional 8. It’s definitely one of the better and more reliable options out there.  

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Jon L. Jacobi

PC World (US online)
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