[Review] Backup4all Lite 4

{rw_text}Giveaway of the day for February 11, 2009 is:

Backup4all Lite

Version Reviewed:

4.0 Build 126

Software description as per GOTD:

Backup4all Lite is an award-winning backup software for Windows, offering an intuitive interface making all features easily accessible.

It implements the basic functionalities of a backup application:

  • File filtering – powerful filtering engine with lots of options (filter by attribute, size, date, name and type)
  • Automatic scheduler – use the scheduler to define backup jobs that run automatically at certain times
  • Intuitive interface – explorer-like, lets you see all files from the backup and new files that will be stored at the next backup execution
  • Disk spanning – automated support for splitting your backup between many removable disks or even on the same media
  • Backup open files (files in use) – uses the Volume Shadow Copy service that allows you to back up local open files from NTFS partitions in Windows XP/2003 Server/Vista
  • Backup Plugins for backing up applications (such as Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, Firefox, and many others – http://www.backup4all.com/backup-plugins.php)
  • Backup statistics
  • Backup summary
  • Mirror backup – makes an exact copy of selected files and folders

————————-{/rw_text} –>

{rw_good}

  • Easy to use.
  • Nice clean interface.
  • Step-by-step wizard assist in creating backups and restoring them.
  • You can save your back up to your local hard drive, external media (hard drive, USB, etc.) or in a network location.
  • You can schedule backups to occur at a designated time.
  • Not too bad on resource usage – even during the actual backup process.
  • You can test backups to make sure they have not been corrupted.
  • You can setup filters (include/exclude) to define what is/is not backed up.
  • You can use filters to define what to include/exclude when restoring your backup.
  • You can pick and chose which files to restore when restoring.
  • Extensive plugin support.
  • You can compress and password protect your backup.

{/rw_good} –>

{rw_bad}

  • No registry backup.
  • Lite version is missing out on a lot of features desirable features that you find in Standard and Professional versions.
  • Only zip-level ‘encryption’
  • Program has a 3-4 second lag from the time I click the desktop icon to launch the program to when the program actually launches.
  • Help files and video tutorials are not “Lite” version specific.
  • You can’t use the plugins and add your own designated files/folders in one backup.
  • You can’t create zips over 4GB.

{/rw_bad} –>

{rw_score}
{for=”Features as Described” value=”10″}All the features work and they are all present.
{/for}
{for=”Ease of Use” value=”10″}Very easy to use.
{/for}
{for=”Usefulness” value=”10″}Who does not need to make backups?
{/for}
{/rw_score} –>

{rw_verdict}[tup]
{/rw_verdict} –>

Installation of Backup4all Lite went without incident. But is is worth noting that during installation you will be prompted to do a “Simple”, “Full” or “Custom” install. The differences are that “Simple” only installs Backup4all, while “Full” installs about 8 plugins with it. I did full install. Also, I had to run Activate.exe as Administrator in order to properly register the program. I am on Vista Home Premium 32-bit. So if you are a Vista user and you are having problems registering, run Activate.exe as Administrator.

Obviously as you can tell by the name, Backup4all is a tool that helps you back up your files. More the most part, I did not find Backup4all to be much better then all the other backup programs I have encountered. However, the one thing that did impress me was the extensive plugin support.

When you first run the program, you will be prompted with the “Getting Started” window:

Nothing too special with this window. There are links to many tutorials and such, but most, if not all, of these tutorials are not specific to the “Lite” version. Meaning some of them may display features that we actually can’t use. You are still welcome to browse through them if you want though. I unchecked “Show this dialog at next start” and hit “Close” because the Backup/Restore you can do from the main program window.

This is what the main program window looks like:

As you can see, it has a nice clean interface that is well labeled and easily navigated. The left is where your backup jobs will be listed, like how you see “Website files” in the above screenshot. Before you do anything else, ask your self this question “Am I interested in setting up automatic backups?” if the answer to this question is “Yes” then ask yourself “Do I have a password on my Windows User account?” If the answer to this question is “No” then go to Tools -> Options. Click on “Preferences” from the left and scroll all the way to the bottom. Check the option “Allow blank passwords when scheduling”:

If you don’t check this, and you do not have a Windows password set to your username, you will not be able to schedule backups.

So anyway, to create a backup, obviously you hit the “New” button from the top. A wizard will them lead you step by step on how to create your backup. It is really easy and all you have to do is follow on screen instructions:

At this screen you just chose where you want to save your backup and what you want to name it. From this window you can only chose to save it on your local computer or on your network. But you can also save it to external media (I will show you how a little later on). Hit “Next” when you are done. You will then come to the screen where you can add what folders or files you want to backup:

You just add your folders or files via either “Add folder” or “Add files”. As you add them, they will be displayed in the list, like how you see my folder “Backup” in the above screenshot. You can also chose to use one of the plugins that come with this program. What the plugins do is that they have predefined files/folders that they back. For example, the Mozilla Profile plugin is set to backup Firefox profiles. You can chose the plugins from the “Selection of files and folders” drop down menu:

However, if you chose to use a plugin, you will not be able to add your own files/folders. It is an either or – use a plugin or designate files/folders by your own accord. The great thing about this program is that there are more then just the plugins you see in the above screenshots. Those are just the ones that came with the program. You can download literally dozens more from the Free Backup Plugins part of the developer’s website (you install plugins via Tools -> Plugins -> Add).

So after you set your file/folders (or chose the plugin you want) you can hit “Save” if you want. This will prompt to to “Save and run”, which means the backup job will be saved and the backup will run and backup the files you designated, or “Save” which will just save the backup job. However, before you do that, I suggest you hit the button “Advanced mode” which is located in the bottom left corner of the window. This will morph your New Backup Wizard window to this:

This is actually your “Backup Properties” window – the same window you would encounter if you were to click on a backup job and hit the “Properties” button at the main program window. As you can tell from this window you have the ability to do a few more things then the “New Backup Wizard” allowed. For one you can now chose to save your backuped files on an external hard drive or a removable drive like a USB drive instead of just your local computer and your network. “Sources” is just the files/folders you set to be backuped. You can designate filters that the backup job is to abide by. Including and excluding filters both. The filters can be based on file name, folder name, file property, file date, and file size. “Filters” allows you to set the filters to the whole backup job while “Customize” allows you to set filters for specific folders that are in your backup. Then if you click on “Mirror” you can mess with a few settings concerning your backup:

If you plan on compressing and password protecting your backup, you must check “Zip the files” from here. “Compression” allows you to chose what type of compression you want and allows you to password protect your backup. But as I said, compression and password protection will only work if your backup is zipped:

“Advanced” just gives you a few more options to mess with (if you don’t know what you are doing, don’t mess with this):

Lastly, scheduler obviously allows you to schedule a backup to occur automatically. Backup4all uses Windows Task Scheduler for this:

If you hit “Add” you will be prompted with a window where there is not much settings to change:

After you hit “OK” you will then be prompted with a window were you can set your date, time, occurrence of the automatic backup:

Okay so after you hit “OK” you will be brought back to the Backup Properties window. If you are done changing all your properties, you can either hit “Save and run” which is located the bottom left of the window or you can chose “Save” which is located at the bottom right. I explained the differences earlier. So after that, you are done creating a backup job. You can always re-access the job properties by clicking on the job and clicking on the “Properties” button from the main program window.

So after you have a backup job created, you can only do three things with that job:

  • Run the backup. This does the actual backing up of the files you designated in the job. All you have to do is click on the back up job from the left list and click on “Backup”:

The backup will start automatically after you hit that button. You can monitor the progress via the progress bar at the bottom of the program window.

  • Test the backup. This tests the backup to make sure it is not corrupted. You can do this by selecting the backup from the list on the left and clicking on the “Test” button from the top. This will bring up a window where your backup jobs are listed and all you have to do is hit “Test” and wait for the results:

  • Restore a backup. This, obviously, will restore a backup. You do this by clicking on the backup job from the list on the left and clicking on “Restore”:

You have a choice of restoring to the original location or to a new location. You can either restore the full backup, or you can hand pick specific files/folders to restore, or you can hand pick specific files/folders to restore and create include/exclude filters to designate which files to restore.

And that is it. That is basically the whole program. Overall, while I give this a thumbs up, I am really disappointed at the fact that this is the “Lite” version. This version just has the bare nessesities to make successful backups. The “Standard” and “Professional” versions have much more attractable features – features that other backup programs in my free alternatives list have. Features such as incremental and differential backups, restoring a backup to more then just the latest version, etc. Honestly, this program looks pretty freaking good if you have the Pro version. However, the one thing that neither of the versions have is registry backup.

Backup4all Lite vs Document Backup

Both programs will backup your files easily. However, Document Backup had few of the features available in Standard and Professional versions of Backup4all only, such as incremental and differential backup. Also Document Backup had AES encryption. For its part, Backup4all has a really nice plugin interface that is unrivaled. However, looking over my review of Document Backup (and seeing the problems with it), I say Backup4all over Document Backup even if the Lite version is some what crippled.

{rw_freea}

Cobian Backup

Cobian Backup is a popular backup utility that is time tested. Generally, the features and purpose of both these backup programs is the same. Off the top of my memory, Cobian Backup has better encryption.

Comodo Backup

From Developer’s Website:

  • Easily backup files or folders anywhere on your computer, network, DVD-RW, CD-RW or FTP server
  • Files can be written to a multi-session DVD if it already contains a file with the same name
  • Email, FTP, zip and configuration passwords are stored in the registry with encryption
  • Protect yourself against ever losing those critical files that took hours to create
  • Quickly recover your data in the event of data loss
  • Schedule backups to run automatically at a time that suits you
  • Synchronized backup feature – save a file and it gets copied instantly
  • Send E-mail notifications to team members about the status of a backup job
  • Save Disk space by compressing your backups as ZIP files
  • Configure in minutes with our intuitive interface

Titan Backup 1.5

Titan Backup 1.5 is a commercial software now being offered by the developer in order to entice users to purchase Titan 2.5. Titan Backup 1.5 is an excellent tool that is the best out of all four programs mentioned here in my opinion. The two key features that make Titan Backup better is the fact that it can backup registry files and it includes a feature where you can sync folders. One bad thing about Titan Backup 1.5 is that the encryption tool is only zip-level password protection, but that is more then sufficient in my opinion for backups.

{/rw_freea} –>

{rw_verdict2}Backup4all is a good program. It helps you create and manage backups easily. I was especially impressed by the extensive plugin support. I give it a thumbs up. However I do not recommend it because this “Lite” version is somewhat basic. My recommendation for today is Titan Backup 1.5. Titan Backup is a professional-gone-free backup tool that not only lets you backup your files, but also your registry. Then the sync tool is always a nice plus to have. Thumbs up for both these programs, but double thumbs up for Titan Backup 1.5.
{/rw_verdict2} –>

Share this post

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

6 comments

  1. giovanni

    Hi Ashraf,

    try also, when you have time to do so of course, these FREEWARE ALTERNATIVES you didn’t mention on your review and let me know what you think about them (you can find all of them on CNET or SOFTPEDIA websites):

    - Drive Backup Express (32-64 bit) 9.0

    - Vembu StoreGrid Backup Software-Free Edn 2.4

    Innovative Intranet Peer To Peer Backup Solution For Networked Desktops and Laptops

    - Idlebackup 1.16b

    It performs incremental backup and selected directories and files are copied to a set backup path. The first backup is a full backup, then each next backup will copy only changed files during idle time of your PC and no files are deleted if option “Synchronize backup” is set to off. Perfect for NEWBIES!!

    - Directory Synchronizer 0.3

    It allows you to compare two directories that could be on the same or different computers to see which files are newer, older, or missing and then to synchronize the files for data backup purposes. Poor interface but very effective tool indeed.

    - Mozy Remote Backup 1.8.14

    A fabulous automatic ans secure remote backup and archiving service for any PC in any home or office. No external hard drive, expensive subscription services, CD or DVD’s to burn. All you need is a broadband connection and you are ready to go! Simply download Mozy, select the types of files you want to back up, and Mozy does the rest as a copy of your files is safely stored in secure, offsite data centers. Mozy offers home users 2 GB of backup space for free. There’s no credit card, no monthly payment or fee, and no expiration date. You can even earn 256 MB of free space for each friend you refer, or purchase unlimited storage space for only $4.95 per month. I can’t use it simply because I don’t have a broadband connection here at home (I’m in Italy…you know?? LOL!!) but some friends of mine did telling me that they are very happy indeed with this service (on SOFTPEDIA it got a VERY GOOD Good rating(4.1/5) from 25 users).

    - TripleCopy 3.5

    Compress, encrypt, and backup your files to multiple locations in one click.

    - DirDup 1.5

    Monitor, copy, and manage your files excluding specified files from copying or checking their dates/size before making the decision to copy them (this can save a lot of time when backing up to a slow-write device, such as flash memory sticks). With the “Full Copy Mode” this nice tool compares all of the files in the destination and source directories doing a byte-by-byte comparison to detect data deterioration even if the size and dates match as well as checking source files before they are copied to make sure that a good backup file isn’t overwritten by an incomplete or damaged source file.

    - Ahsay Backup Software Free Edition 5.5.1

    FREE for home users and small companies who have 2 desktop or laptop computers to back up.Files are compressed and 128-bit encrypted before they are sent over the network through a SSL channel. An advanced configuable retention policy allows you to restore all versions of all backed up files from AhsayOBS. A handy shortcut enables the selection of Outlook, Favorites, Desktop, My Documents to be backup in just 1 click.

    - myDiskBackup 1.2

    Start the program, choose which folders you want to backup and press do backup. The program starts to copy all the contents in the choosen folders to your myDisk space. You do now have access to your backup folders wherever you are in the world via Web Dav.

    - JaBack 8.15 (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!)

    Backup, synchronize and archive tasks with scheduler and automation sofware. The BACKUP FILE is in standard zip format which allows you to restore data using any zip utility. After backup, you can even FTP or email the BACKUP FILE. This stunning tool also includes synchronize, copy, and zip tasks to satisfy all your backup and archiving needs. In addition you can schedule tasks by the second or minute, or on a hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis running tasks in sequence thanks to the CHAINING FEATURE.

    - Backup 1

    A simple backup utility which supports incremental dated backups and backups by file type or complete backups of directories, as well as automatic start ups. It can then be run via windows scheduled tasks to perform regular scheduled backups.

    - Snap Backup 4.5

    - FileHamster 1.4 (similar, but in my view more complete, to HISTORY EXPLORER given earlier by GAOTD).

    It offers real-time backup and archiving of your files while you work without disrupting your workflow as it monitors specific files on your hard drive and automatically creates incremental backups whenever those files are modified.

    - Mamut Online Backup 2.1

    An integrated part of Mamut Teamwork, which allows you to backup your data safely and securely as well as offering safe and user-friendly distribution of all your files or other materials you wish to save.

    - KAREN’s REPLICATOR

    KAREN’s REPLICATOR, a pretty COOL backup program written by a geek GIRL: I have used it for weeks and I have to admit that I’ve never been disappointed. KAREN’s REPLICATOR allows you to backup directories, files and even entire drives, copying selected files from one drive/folder to another not to mention that source and destination folders can reside anywhere on your network.
    Unlike this GAOTD options include repeated copies at intervals as short as a few minutes, or as long as several months, copy only files that have changed and the replication of file deletions, allowing you to specify which files should not be copied and also which days a file should be skipped! No bad, isn’t it??

    Finally, if you need to copy files from disks with physical damages (bad sectors, scratches etc…) or those giving errors when reading data, try this little GEM called “ Roadkil’s Unstoppable Copier 3.56” wich I discovered just a few days ago:

    http://www.download.com/Roadkil-s-Unstoppable-Copier/3000-2242_4-10580640.html?tag=mncol

    With this astounishing tool you can recover every readable piece of a FILE putting the pieces together, even if some parts of them were no longer recoverable, and then copy an ENTIRE CD-ROM to a USB flash drive giving a file by file detail of the progress and the success of each file copied! Did I mention that it’s FREE?? LOL!!!
    ——————————————————————————————————————————

    But if you need to BACKUP not just your FILES but even the whole DISK IMAGE, unfortunately Titan Backup 1.5 can do nothing from this point of view.

    For that, you can use NORTON GHOST (if you have some BUCKS to spend of course…) or better still the freeware MACRIUM REFLECT with which you can create DISK IMAGES, BOOT CD for restore, that you can restore even without installing Reflect, as well as FILES BACKUP ARCHIVES using Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to ensure ‘point in time’ data accuracy, meaning that you can create a full backup of your hard drive through imaging even when you’re logged on in Windows.

    The FREE VERSION of MACRIUM REFLECT creates disk or partition images and access them from Windows Explorer but can also create Linux Rescue CD or BartPE Rescue CD, which has network support so you can save the created image to another computer amd directly burn the Live CD from the software (no bad isn’t it??): it has also a scheduler where you can create backup from the defined time. So no need to use Norton Ghost anymore since MACRIUM REFLECT can do the same job pretty well.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

    http://www.macrium.com/ReflectFree.asp

    32 Bit (Vista, XP): http://www.macrium.com/download/setupfree.asp?OS=x86&DLSource=000000

    64 Bit (Vista x64, XP x64): http://www.macrium.com/download/setupfree.asp?OS=x64&DLSource=000000

    In another way, TITAN BACKUP is probably better than MACRIUM as for as the FILE BACKUP is concerned thanks to the SYNC FUNCTION that the FREE VERSION of MACRIUM REFLECT doesn’t have (or at least I couldn’t find it…LOL!!).

    Finally another good IMAGE, BACKUP DRIVES and PARTITION PROGRAM I think is worth having a look at is definetely “DRIVE IMAGE XML”, an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives!!

    KEY FEATURES:
    # Backup logical drives and partitions to image files
    # Browse these images, view and extract files
    # Restore these images to the same or a different drive
    # Copy directly from drive to drive
    # Schedule automatic backups with your Task Scheduler
    # Image creation uses Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing users to create safe “hot images” even from drives currently in use.
    # Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools amd restore images to drives without having to reboot.
    # Two different compression levels.
    # It can backup image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS.
    # Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista compatible.

    But the best part of it is that..it’s FREE for personal use…LOL!!

    http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm?

    Enjoy….LOL!!

  2. Ashraf
    Author/

    Leland,
    Correct me if I am wrong but you seem to be interested in being able to make backups while not being logged into Windows? Well firstly I don’t see how that will be useful to many people, because I doubt people just sit at their login screen (home users of course). And secondly, you can schedule Titan Backup to run at Windows Startup or Windows Shutdown which obviously is not the same as running while sitting at the login screen, but it is something. You can also set it to pull the computer out of sleep/hibernate to run a backup.

    But if you like Cobian, by all means use it.

  3. Leland

    Actually I have been using Cobian Backup for many years and consider it better that Titan Backup, though the only support is through a forum and email. One of the better features is the fact it can run as a service which I have not found a way to do with Titan. The only Windows versions I would pick Titan for is x64 Vista and XP; and that is only because Cobian will not run as a service on those versions. Running as a service is a good thing because it allows backups to occur even if you are not logged into the computer; something Titan can not do. The only reason someone might want to pick Titan over Cobian is if they are new to computers because the interface is easier to understand. The features of Cobian and Titan are very similar.

  4. Ashraf
    Author/

    You actually don’t need this program to be able to restore your backup files. You see this program does mirror imaging, so it literally copies your file and makes a backup of it. Unless you chose to zip it together, it is just like have 2 copies of the same file. So even if you don’t have this program, you will still be able manually restore your files from your backup. Of course if you decided to zip the files, all your backup files will be in a zip so you can restore it by extracting them.

  5. David Roper

    …and after I have it backed up and put it away. One day in the future, my laptop crashes. I buy another laptop or another PC, do I have to buy this GOTD “freebie” at retail to get my programs back? Hmmmm. Permanent style freeware is good, freeware is always affordable.