So I downloaded the free 30-day trial from www.backup4all.com and started to check it out. Between that time and this writing, Backup4All has gone from Version 2.3.0 to 2.3.1, so it’s clear the company is working hard to stay on top of bugs and continue to make improvements. The website is easy to navigate, and visually appealing highlighting the product’s features and providing links to reviews, documentation, and even a newsletter and RSS feed to keep you up to date on improvements. Download and purchase options are prominently displayed, as is the award from SnapFiles.com.
The program itself, which runs on Windows 98 through XP, is a modest 3.89 MB download (about 5 MB when installed). Backup4All has a cheerful, colorful interface. You can use either the menus, the large, easy-to-remember icons, or shortcut keys to create, explore, test, and restore from your backups. It also comes with very thorough documentation, a 108-page illustrated PDF file written in good English. Extensive help is also available via the Help menu or on the website.
The Pro version of Backup4All ($45) makes four different kinds of backups and can backup to local disks, removable media, USB/Firewire drives, or over a network. All versions of the program are compatible with one-button backup drives. The Mirror, Classic, and Professional versions all have built-in CD/DVD burners, so you can make your backups directly onto CDs or DVDs, and erase rewritable media. It also works with packet-writing (UDF) formatted CDs and DVDs (e.g. Nero’s InCD or Roxio’s DirectCD).
Features I particularly like are the ability to run programs either before or after making backups (so you can schedule a backup followed by a shutdown of the computer, for instance), the Test Backups function, and the reminder to label your CDs. The Full, Differential, and Incremental backup types are all compressed in .zip format and can be password-protected. (Their contents can also be viewed in the same way as any other .zip file.)
I did find some of the terminology potentially confusing. A “mirror” backup in Backup4All is not a drive mirror such as Norton Ghost produces, but rather a direct, uncompressed copy of the files. Similarly, a “full backup” will copy all of the files you select, even your whole drive, but it doesn’t preserve the system state. This is a backup program for your data, not your operating system and software.
If you’re a Windows user and you don’t have a backup system yet, give Backup4All a try.