Today’s technological conditions are favorable to create backups for your important data. The price of hard disk drives is still plummeting, so using them as backup storage devices is not too expensive. Backup4All is on the software side of the backup operation, offering a clean and easy way to start and handle backup tasks.
Getting the application on the system is no tough job, but there are few stops on the way to completing the process. Besides expressing your agreement with the license provisions you also have to choose between a typical, custom or complete installation.
The difference between the three consists in the plugins you pick to extend the basic functionality of Backup4All. These are actually presets for backing up specific areas of the computer or data in certain applications. They can help you create copies of the content under “Documents” or “Pictures” folders or backup email data in Microsoft clients and Mozilla Thunderbird.
Another stop would be to select the storage location for Backup4All settings and the default folder to place the resulting files. Also, before the actual installation procedure kicks off there is so pre-configuration to be done with regards to the shortcuts you want and file associations.
After all this the actual installation process is ready to start. Although you may spend some time preconfiguring everything, it will not take long to complete and you’ll be ready to use the application in no time.
For an application with a 200+ page user manual Backup4All packs a simple and plain interface, ready to be populated with backup tasks. Creating backup jobs does not require too much effort from your part or special knowledge, but if you find the process overwhelming the “Getting Started” panel has all the links to answer all your questions.
A wizard can guide you through the entire process and at the beginning you’ll work with the contracted version of the procedure. This puts at your disposal only the basic choices, like selecting the storage path of the resulting backup (local, network, FTP, SFTP), the target to be copied, the type of back (full, differential, incremental or mirror) as well as set the frequency you want it to run.
In advanced mode the choices are much more complex, but not at all difficult to understand or handle. You just benefit from a larger pool of choices. The destination location can now be an external drive, removable drive or CD, DVD or Blu-ray media.
Another difference from the abridged version is that you’ll be able to create your own filters to automatically include or exclude files. The presets in the application cover the hibernation file, pagefile, temporary files and folders.
If there is anything else in particular you want to add or skip in the backup process, advanced mode is where you can make the necessary settings. Besides picking specific files and folders, the options at hand comprise parameters such as file attributes, dates or size.
Furthermore, you can save your storage space by setting a limit for the number of backups or the amount of file versions. Another way to save space is to tinker with the backup conversion options. Backup4All provides three compression choices: low, medium and best. The duration of the job depends on what you pick. The backups can be secured by encrypting them using AES 128, 192 or 256-bit algorithm.
With Backup4All you can perform full, differential and incremental backups, which support compression, but it can also be used to create a mirror backup, which makes an exact copy of the target. Any of them can be set as the default backup type.
The application also delivers a set of extra options designed for more experienced users. Its versatility lets you run various actions or programs before and after the backup operation completes.
All tasks can be programed to start at the most convenient time, or with a specific frequency. The scheduler is ready to assist you with this, giving the possibility not only to program jobs but also to automate their deletion when they expire.
Additionally, it can delay running of the task if the computer is running on batteries; also, you can set it up to abort the task if it takes too long to complete or wait until the system becomes idle to run it.
All backup jobs can be organized into groups listed in the main application window, and once selected you’ll have some details about the time and date of their last run and when they’re programed to run again. If you’re looking for more information you can change the view to Statistics or Summary screen.
Backup4All is perfectly capable to handle the data in the most popular email clients on the market. If you selected the default plugins during the installation process you’ll be able to create safe copies for Firefox profiles, IE favorites folder or data from email clients such as Thunderbird and Microsoft’s Outlook and Windows Mail.
The default presets may not be exactly what you need, but the developer has this issue covered by its section of free backup plugins (http://www.backup4all.com/en/backup-plugins.html). They are organized into categories covering various types of applications, from audio and multimedia to system utilities or security and privacy.
Configuring the application is not a tough job as it features options which may come in handy when you create a new backup task. For instance you can pre-set FTP and SFTP accounts, or enrich the default collection of filters.
Backup4All appears as a complete solution for creating safe copies of your files. It offers options to satisfy meticulous users and the possibility to automate certain tasks. But what we missed on its feature list was drive imaging. The currently discounted price, $49.95 is still pretty steep and not very helpful in bringing the app among top preferences.
On the upside, it could not become more reliable. It is perfectly capable to manage backup jobs by itself and follow the user-defined pattern for automated tasks. We had absolutely no trouble working with it during our tests and all operations ran without stressing the system. In many cases we noticed that the scheduled backup occurred only when checking the logs or the storage location. The Good
It is reliable, easy to work with and it is very versatile with regards to the options it makes available. You can create as many backup tasks as you want and organize them into groups for better management.
The backup operations can be customized in terms of the data that should be copied as well as with regards to the date, time and frequency of their occurrence. You have complete control over the compression level of the backup and its type: full, incremental, differential or mirror. The Bad
The price and lack of drive imaging capabilities are the main drawbacks in the application. The Truth
Backup4All is an excellent product if you want a professional instrument to help you easily create safe copies of important data and run them automatically with a specific frequency. The numerous options are proof of its versatility.
However, it lacks imaging capabilities and this, combined with the price, is a deal breaker for many users.