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Posted on Apr 16, 2013 in Backup, Introduction to Backup | 0 comments

Windows Backup Software Review – ‘Bare Metal Showdown 3’ – Part 5


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Overview of the contenders
Test 1 – Hard disk copy
Test 2 – Drive to image
Test 3 – Image to drive
Test 4 – Rescue CD
Features at a glance
Conclusions

Features at a glance

Before we wrap up our disk backup software review, let’s take a look at some of the other features the programs offer, starting with the rescue media. The rescue media that each of the packages can create have different features, some let you backup and restore from within the rescue environment, others are more basic. All the rescue CD’s will allow you to restore from a disk image, of course.

Rescue disk features

Feature Acronis EasUS Macrium Paragon
Copy drive to image Yes No Yes Yes
Copy drive to drive Yes Yes Yes Yes
Restore image from network Yes No Yes (but we could not get it working) Yes
Restore image from USB drive Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bootable USB flash drive option Yes Yes No Yes

Supported Media

To create a backup, you will need somewhere to back up to. Each package supports different backup media. For more information on backup media, see our guide to choosing backup media.

Media Acronis EasUS Macrium Paragon
Hard drive Yes Yes Yes Yes
Network Yes Yes Yes Yes
DVD Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blu-ray Yes No No Yes
Tape No No No No
Cloud Yes Yes (using 3rd party services) No No

Other features

Here you can see at a glance the other useful features the packages offer. Note that we did not test the incremental imaging capabilities on any of the packages.

Feature Acronis EasUS Macrium Paragon
Encryption Yes (AES) Yes (unknown) Yes (AES) Yes (unknown)
Incremental imaging Yes Yes Yes Yes
Images can be mounted? Yes Yes Yes Yes
File level backup Yes Yes Yes Yes

It’s great to see this year that all the backup packages offer these features. All four of the packages support password protected/encrypted backups, but we couldn’t find details about the kind of encryption EasUS or Paragon use.

Conclusions

All four of the backup packages tested this year performed very well, with no errors carrying out our basic backup tasks. Which package you choose may come more down to personal preference than anything. That said, there are certainly some nits to pick, so here’s how we have ranked the four packages and why:-

In fourth place is Macrium Reflect. This excellent package is let down by a few key omissions, such as the inability to automatically create rescue media on a USB storage device and the lack of networking support in the recovery environment. If you just need basic disk imaging without all the bells and whistles, we can still highly recommend Macrium Reflect Free.

Third place goes to EaseUS Todo Backup 5.3. Slow restoration times in the recovery environment, problems understanding the pigeon English on the interface and lack of network connectivity are our main complaints about this package, though at just $29 it is excellent value.

Acronis True Image 2013

Tried and Tested

 

Second place by a whisker goes to last years champion, Acronis True Image. While still an excellent and feature packed program, we can’t understand why, unlike the other packages on trial here, Acronis insists on rebooting the PC whenever a disk to disk copy is done. While this does result in quicker backup times in many cases, it is very inconvenient. We even tried a disk copy from one secondary hard drive to another (I.e the copy operation was not using the Windows drive at all) and even in this situation, Acronis insisted that we reboot into the recovery environment. Not only is this process inconvenient, it’s also incompatible with Truecrypt encrypted computers for instance. As a workaround you can make an image of the drive you are trying to copy first, but this isn’t always practical.

Finally, we found the program to be less flexible with regards to licensing in this latest update. Each copy of True Image you install needs activating. Do you have two versions of Windows on the same PC or have a spare hard drive set aside as an emergency Windows environment? Tough luck, you will need a copy of True Image for each installation. We asked Acronis to comment on if there is any leeway for this kind of thing but they failed to get back to us. Nevertheless, we’re still confident enough to give this package our tried, tested and approved seal.

Paragon Backup & Recovery 12

Tried and Tested

Editors choice – Best disk backup software 2012/2013

 

First place then has to go to Paragon Backup & Recovery 12. Last years turkey is this years star prize winner. Despite some slow backup times, Paragon Backup & Recovery 12 passed all our tests and crucially does not demand that the user reboots his or her PC every time a disk to disk copy is performed. Congratulations to Paragon software for a much improved product and one that we’re happy to recommend. Paragon Backup & Recovery 12 gets our tried, tested and approved seal and is editors choice for 2012/2013.

To find out more about the backup programs we reviewed, or to purchase a copy, support our site and use the links below (prices correct as of 12th December 2012):-

Acronis True Image 2013 ($49.99/E49.95/&pound39.95)
EaseUS Todo Backup 5.3 ($29.00)
Macrium Reflect Standard ($44.99 + VAT/Taxes)
Paragon Backup & Recovery 12 ($49.95/E39.95/&pound42.95)

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