Cheap and cheerful backup software
Windows Backup is a capable backup program included with Windows 7, which makes it hard to justify spending extra on backup software. Abelssoft Backup, on the other hand, isn't the most sophisticated application we've seen, and its manual is frankly terrible, but it is cheap.
Abelssoft's program is fast and took only 15 minutes to back up our 13GB of test data – Windows Backup took 40 minutes. That might not seem like a huge difference, but if you're working with hundreds of gigabytes rather than tens it will quickly make a huge difference to how long you spend hanging around.
Abelssoft's program also compressed our data more efficiently – down to 7.8GB compared to 12GB with Windows backup. Losing a single gig on what was a small amount of data to begin with hardly feels like compression at all.
The other thing Abelssoft Backup has going for it is simplicity. For instance, take the simple task of recovering a single file from your backup. Both programs allow you to browse past versions of a file so you can choose to restore a version from the time before you made some catastrophic change.
The snag for Windows Backup users is that you can't access this feature from the Backup console – you have to right-click the file in question, choose Properties from the context menu and go to the tab Previous Versions. And that assumes you've remembered to enable the feature. With Abelssoft backup, you can see all the available versions of the file from the program's main interface.
Similarly, if Windows fails you could boot from your install disc and restore from a system image made with Windows Backup. However, novices will find the Windows installer interface tricky and may well end up starting a fresh install by accident. By contrast, Abelssoft's boot disc is easy to use and even lets you browse shared folders on the network to find your disk image.
For just £20, Abelssoft Backup can back up and quickly restore anything from your entire system to a single file. You can tell the program to back up all files of a specific type (Word files, images, videos and so on) and you can create a back up schedule to protect you against your own forgetfulness.
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A basic backup program, but better than Windows Backup and good value for twenty quid
Easy to use; good compression
Manual is poor; relatively little customisation on offer
Phone no UK number supplied
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