Choosing The Best Backup Software For You

Ever since there's been a need to backup computer data there has been computer backup software of one form or another. As the requirements of both home users and businesses grew hard drive backup software became ever more complex and in turn ever more useful. Backup software for the PC was now becoming big business.

The problem with data backup software is not the lack of it. Not at all. The problem is that there are too many different computer backup software packages to choose from. The first thing you need to consider is whether or not you even need backup software?

What are the advantages of using this type of application?

Well there are several advantages to using a dedicated piece of computer backup software - whether or not you're a home user or working in a large corporation.

  • Automatic backups at scheduled times

  • Split large amounts of data across multiple disks

  • Encrypt data (scrambles it with a special code)

  • Compresses files to allow you to fit more data on each disk

  • Backup entire drives or just individual files or folders - your choice.

  • Incremental backup of recently changed files or a full backup of all files

The above features in a backup software package saves you having to make notes of what to backup and when. Then after that manually going through all the files and folders to find the exact ones you want. It becomes a nightmare very, very quickly.

Any piece of software which can safely automate any time consuming task is worth owning. Manual backups can take hours. Automated backups take just minutes.

Microsoft Windows has its own backup software included creatively titled Microsoft Backup. This is a straightforward backup solution that will fulfill most basic backup needs. On Windows ME, 2000 and XP this service is installed by default. On Windows 95 and 98 you may need to install it from your Windows CD. To check if Microsoft Backup is installed click on Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools.

microsoft backup

Apple Mac users can take advantage of Apples Backup software and iDisk backup service. The iDisk service provides 100MB of online storage space. You can buy more space if you need to so there's no need to feel limited. A very neat feature of this service is that it automatically synchronizes files on your Mac and iDisk to make sure you always have the latest versions of your important files on both.

There are also third party applications such as Winbackup. Winbackup provides the normal functions of backup software but also comes pre-configured to backup your email and other important documents by default. Winbackup also allows you to use whatever backup device you want, schedule when you want it to happen and encrypt the data so that nobody but you can use it. Winbackup comes highly recommened and is what I use myself for all my data backup jobs.

Winbackupis even more useful when used in conjunction with online file backup services to make sure your data is 100% private. Alternatively, using a USB external hard drive in conjunction with Winbackup provides a very complete, fast and spacious backup solution.