Free Image Backup

excellent
key review info
application features
  • Backup system;
  • (6 more, see all...)

In the past few years, backup software has been growing in popularity mainly because users have realized the importance of having clones for their data they can grab in case disaster strikes. However, backup solutions nowadays allow them more than just a simple compression of the files in a proprietary format so they become immune to malware threats, and its restoration. There are plenty of applications ready to help with restoring the computer to a previous state by creating images of the system drive, thus eliminating the need to re-install the operating system and all the programs one needs.

Imaging a partition is the latest buzz in the backup industry and competition turns fiercer every day. Everybody knows pieces of software such as Acronis, Norton Ghost, or Easy Image that are capable of a swift restoration of the system drive and that give you a lean way to check the contents of the created image. But paid products are not the only solution and you can use freebies instead. DriveImage XML is a good way to image your drives and restore them at a later time.

Recently, the freebie category has gained another trooper, courtesy of Chengdu YIWO, the maker of EASEUS Partition Master, by the name of Todo Backup. The freebie is at the beginning of the road, yet it does a very good job. It is intended for backing up only drives or entire disks by creating an image of the entire data or the whole partition (sector-by-sector imaging).

As it is the case with all EASEUS pieces of software, the interface is as simple as can be (but much better looking), with all options in plain sight, accessible from multiple areas: either from the left-hand part of the interface, the toolbar or the menu bar. There are no hidden functionalities of the application, so you won't have any trouble using it.

The set of operations available, besides backing up and restoring data, includes mounting and unmounting images, checking them for errors, cloning an entire disk or creating bootable media to use the app offline. To make drive backup a cinch even for a beginner user, Todo Backup will provide a guiding wizard regardless of the endeavor one tackles.

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Backing up your data starts with selecting the drive you want to be saved, and in the first screen you get to decide whether you want to archive only the data or create a sector-by-sector image file. The next step requires you to set a storage location for the resulting file.

The options for the backup are available in the third step of the wizard. Todo Backup can use the default set of options, or you can take the matter into your own hands and decide on the CPU priority of the process (low, normal or high) or the compression level (no compression, high or maximum). To ensure the protection of the output image (saved in proprietary PBD format), the developer lets you protect it with a password. The password will be asked upon restoring or mounting the image to make sure that only authorized persons have access to its content.

Reversing the backup procedure and restoring data is also a simple procedure that requires you to simply locate the image file and choose the destination point. Sector-by-sector restoration is possible in this case, just like restoring the MBR of the drive. The data can be unpacked on any partition with sufficient space for the backed-up files, as well as unallocated space on the disk. To eliminate any confusion, Todo Backup will hide all locations with insufficient space.

If you wish to migrate data from one disk to another, the Clone Disk function comes in handy, allowing you to copy data from the destination to the source. The main condition to enable this function is to have at least two hard disks installed on the system. No need to worry about external drives, because Todo Backup recognizes them in the blink of an eye.

A very useful feature of the application is mounting the backup image as a virtual drive. Thus, you can see exactly what data has been backed up. Even more, copying files from the virtual drive can be executed with no problems. However, adding data to the image is not a possibility. It would have been nice to have such an option, but Todo Backup is a freebie, after all. Needless to say that password-protected archives require the countersign before mounting.

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Although the application is designed for online use, the developers have taken into account the possibility that your system drive may become nonfunctional, impeding proper booting of the OS. In this case, there is a simple way to restore it to a previous state with Todo Backup. The piece of software is equipped with the option to create a bootable media disc (call it rescue disc) that gives you access to the application interface and the main functions.

The live CD is Linux-based and renders the program in pretty good shape. At the beginning of the boot, you will be asked if you want to start EASEUS Todo Backup, boot from the first hard disk or reboot the computer. Different video modes are available for your selection and the app will recommend the most suitable one.

An important aspect has to be mentioned: the bootable version of the piece of software is crippled of some of the functionality and won't be able to run backup operations, mount/unmount images or access the Options panel. All it can be employed for is restoring an image, checking an archive or disk cloning. Even so, it can prove an important asset, should the system drive become impotent at loading the operating system.

Configuring Todo Backup is as simple as using the entire application. Actually, if you run one backup job and pass through the options, you'll realize that you're on familiar ground. Besides CPU priority choosing for the process and compression level, you will have the possibility to define the path to the temporary file and decide upon image splitting (100MB, 650Mb, 700MB or 4.7GB), which can also be customized. It would have been nice to have the possibility to provide the number of splits and the piece of software to calculate their size.

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Todo Backup is one of the simplest drive-imaging pieces of software on the market. It does not require any particular computer knowledge and the wizard guides your every step. Sector-by-sector backups are supported, as well as MBR restoration. During our testing, we haven't encountered glitches of any sort and all operations have worked just fine.

The Good

Newbies will find in the wizard a trustworthy assistant that won't allow them to make any mistakes. Mounting the resulting backup images allows users to peek at the data inside the archives, as well as copy files to the real storage device.

With the disk-cloning function, your effort when migrating data to a new hard disk will be reduced to a minimum. Each image can be split into pieces as large as you need them (mounting them won't be any problem).

The application is free of charge and fulfills an important part on any user's computer, as it allows one to restore entire partitions to an earlier state, even offline.

The Bad

Restricting the user from backing up data offline may be a feature that has been left out intentionally, but it would be great if it were included in this free version of the application.

The requirement to restart the machine after the installation of the program is complete is a nag many users are no longer accustomed to (even antivirus products have eliminated this bother).

The Truth

EASEUS Todo Backup may not be the backup suite equipped with every option an advanced user wishes for, but it is free of charge and allows creating mountable images of the drives, as well as migrating all of one's data from one hard disk to another in a single operation (partitions are automatically created to reflect the structure of the source).

It is free of charge, with a very lean learning curve and powerful features.
user interface 5
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 5


final rating 5
Editor's review
excellent
 

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