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[Review] Paragon Drive Backup Professional

{rw_text}Software reviewed in this article:

Paragon Drive Backup Professional [1]

Version reviewed:

v10.0 Build 9105 (18.11.09), Professional Edition

Supported OS:

Windows 2000 Professional SP4/XP Home/XP Professional/Vista/Win7

Price:

$49.95 (USD) but you can get v9.5 for free for a limited time at Giveawayoftheday.com [2]!

Note: v9.5 is the exact same as v10 except v9.5 does not include WinPE bootable media.

Software description as per the developer:

This highly-rated tool set for backup and recovery provides powerful features to effectively protect valuable company data and systems. Experienced Windows users, Boot Camp users, system administrators and IT experts leverage robust technologies and time saving wizards to safely backup – and restore – the company’s servers, workstations, and laptops. Use Drive Backup Professional regularly and profit from an absolutely reliable protection of your system.

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{rw_good}

  • Performs image-level and file-level backups.
  • Multiple different backup methods, including full and differential backups.
  • Can backup files which are currently being used.
  • Can create bootable CD/DVD (Linux based and WinPE) or bootable USB/flash drives.
  • Can backup to multiple different locations, including locally (on your computer or external media), or remotely (on a network computer or FTP).
  • Can create copies of whole partitions or hard drives.
  • Ability to automate tasks, either using a scheduler or cyclic backup.
  • Handy “smart backup” feature.
  • Users can do full restores, or selective restore.
  • Has basic hard drive management features, such as partitioning and recovering deleted partitions.
  • Has a feature to make migrating between different computers less painful.
  • Has handy step-by-step wizards to guide the user when using a feature.

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{rw_bad}

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{rw_score}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Paragon Drive Backup Professional has many, many features so one may feel a little bit overwhelmed; however Paragon has fairly extensive documentation, and most every feature has a step-by-step wizard to guide you. So, yes you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of features available for you to use, but overall Paragon Drive Backup Professional is very easy to use thanks to the documentation and step-by-step wizards Paragon provides.
{/for}
{for=”Performance” value=”8″}Some aspects of performance can be a improved a bit when compared to rival software, but overall performs very well.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”10″}With so many features, and backups being an essential task everyone should conduct, I don’t really know of many people that wouldn’t find this program useful.
{/for}
{for=”Price” value=”7″}$49.95 may seem a bit high, but it is about the same as other rival software, so it is a fair price; however a drop in $10 would make the product even more competitive.
{/for}
{for=”Final Score” value=”9″}
{/for}
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{rw_verdict}[tupr]
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Paragon Drive Backup Professional is a data backup program that aims to provide you with all capabilities related to backing up data, plus a few extra features to add icing on top of the cake, so to speak.

This is what Paragon Drive Backup Professional’s main program window looks like:

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PDBP (Paragon Drive Backup Professional) allows you to perform two different types of backups: image backups, and file backups [4]. Image backups are intended for backing up whole hard drives or partitions; file backups are intended for backing up only select files or folders. Image backups provide much better compression, and are the better option for conducting backups of your whole computer. File backups provide better backing up and restoring speed, and are the better option if you want to backup only a select number of files or folders. (Note: Both “image” and “file” backups create same type of archives.) Clicking on the “Wizards” drop down menu gives you access to both image and file backing up capabilities, in addition to the other main features of PDBP:

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Aside from the “Disks or Partitions” and “Other Files and Folders” options (which basically are the same thing as the “Back Up Disk or Partition” and “Back Up Files” selections that I will discuss later on), the other three you can’t access from anywhere else in the program. That is not to say you can’t make backups of your e-mail, media files, or documents from places in PDBP, but rather I mean that you won’t find such quick and easy access to these particular files anywhere else.

You are allowed to store the backup archive locally (on your computer or external media connected to your computer), remotely (to a network location or to FTP), to a “physical partition”, or on a CD/DVD.

You can either opt to run the backup immediately, schedule it to run automatically at a later time, or create a “script” out of it (discussion on what scripts are later).

(“Back Up Disk or Partition is the same feature as “Disks or Partitions” from “Smart Backup”.)

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Unlike image backups, however, you cannot store file backups to FTP or on CD/DVD; and you can only store to network computers if you have direct access to network folders. Otherwise, you must store locally or external media connected to your computer.

Aside from allowing you to have a dedicated space on your hard drive to store backups, another advantage of the backup capsule is the fact that it allows you to “embed” recovery media onto your computer; in other words you will no longer have to insert a CD to boot from recovery media – you will be able to boot from recovery media directly from the backup capsule. (That does not mean you shouldn’t create CD/DVD/flash drive recovery media; it just means that for this specific computer you won’t need one – if the computer crashes you will need a CD/DVD/flash drive recovery media that you can use on a different computer.)

Aside from the main features of PDBP that I just mentioned, PDBP has other basic hard drive management features also:

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(“Back Up Hard Disk”, “Burn Hard Disk on CD or DVD”, and “Restore Hard Disk” are the same feature – except with different interfaces – as the backup and restore features I already discussed under “Wizards”.)

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(“Back Up Partition”, “Burn Partition on CD or DVD”, and “Restore Partition” are the same feature – except with different interfaces – as the backup and restore features I already discussed under “Wizards”.)

Like all other Paragon software, PDBP supports FAT16/32, NTFS, Linux EXT2/3/4, Linux Swap/Swap2, and Apple HFS file systems.

PDBP allows you to “mount” and “unmount” backup archives and explore them, similar to how you would mount and unmount disk images. To do this, go to “Archives” -> “Mount the Selected Archive” or “Unmount the Selected Archive”:

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Once an archive has been mounted, you can interact with it similar to how you interact with any partition on your hard drive (i.e. via My Computer).

Take note that all actions you take in PDBP are done “virtually”. In other words, you tell PDBP to do something, it adds that task onto a “to do” list – you must execute that “to do” list by clicking the “Apply” button. Until you hit the “Apply” button, no changes will be made to your computer.

Last but not least

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If you want to make WinPE recovery media, you first need to download the WinPE ISO from Paragon’s website (login to your account, a download should be available for you there). If you are making Linux based recovery media, there is no need to download anything extra – just run this wizard and make the media.

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Note that all the settings are *default* settings – you can still manually change the settings for each individual backup job as you create it.

In terms of performance, Paragon Drive Backup Professional does well – there are no bugs that I have found so far, and all features work as claimed. However, it is worth noting that Paragon Drive Backup Professional does not always perform “the best” in all categories when it comes to performance.

A few months back I ran a comparative test Paragon Backup & Restore Free vs Macrium Reflect Free vs EASEUS Todo Backup vs DriveImage XML vs Acronis True Image Home [27]. In the test I found the following:

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Now I realize the fact that for the test I used Paragon Backup & Restore Free [29] and not Paragon Drive Backup Professional. However, trust me when I say this that the results would be the exact same regardless of the fact if it was Backup & Restore Free or Drive Backup Professional because both software use the same core engines; they both perform similarly. The only difference is Drive Backup Professional has more features than Backup & Restore Free, but features don’t affect performance, which is what we are evaluating currently.

As the tests clearly show, Macrium Reflect and Acronis receive the kudos when it comes to backing up performance, not Paragon. That is not to say Paragon performed “badly” – it didn’t. Rather it means that Paragon did not perform “the best”.

One other caveat for Paragon Drive Backup Professional is that is has a huge download size: ~150 MB. In fact, Paragon’s software in general are really large. Now, in defense of Paragon, most – if not all – of their software comes with recovery media; it is the recovery media that take up a large portion of the download size. So, effectively, PDBP is actually only about ~60-70 MB with the rest being attributed to the recovery media. ~60-70 MB is not too bad, although it is still larger than many other backup software I have used, considering that it is an image and file backup software.

This review was conducted on a laptop running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit. The specs of the laptop are as follows: 3GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 2600 512MB graphics card, and an Intel T8300 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor.

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There are tons of free backup software. If you are interested in free image backup software, I suggest you read the following articles:

If you want free file backup software, consider:

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{rw_verdict2}Paragon Drive Backup Professional may not necessarily always have the best performance in some areas when compared to rival software, but it makes up for its shortcomings by having a lot (a lot) of features and being easy-to-use thanks to Paragon’s helpful documentation and thoughtful inclusion of step-by-step wizards for just about every feature. I give Paragon Drive Backup Professional two thumbs up and recommend it to anyone that wants or needs it.
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