Review updated for version 3.
A free backup program with a couple of options not normally found with free versions. There are also three paid versions you can upgrade to that can supply the options missing from the free version.
This backup program is relatively easy to use. When you first start the program (providing your admin password if running it from a regular user account) the home screen provides a list of the backups that it recognises or if it can't find any it provides a big button to start making your first backup. There are now four backup options - one to backup files or folders, one to backup an entire hard drive and a third to backup individual partitions. This third option is useful where you have your hard drive partitioned to keep the operating system, applications, and your data separated. Once you tell it where to put the backup the actual processing can then run in the background while you get on with actually using your computer (this is where being able to run the backup as administrator from a regular user account is really useful as the backup has access to the entire system while your user account is still only limited to those parts of the system you need for normal processing - so viruses that are too new for your anti-virus to detect still don't have access to install themselves while you run the backup and continue working. There is also a system backup option that maintains the integrity of system files such as the registry during the backup.
A fourth (new) option allows you to synchronise files between two locations that doesn't involve backup image files.
Once you have at least one backup that the program recognises you can then create incremental or differential backups on subsequent occasions rather than having to make a full backup every time.
You can choose where to backup including not only USB or DVD drives but also network storage drives. You can also schedule backups so that you get regular backups automatically.
The clone tab provides three cloning options that allow you to clone a partition, a disk, or your system to a new disk.
The software includes a number of other options that allow you to check the integrity of the backup without having to run an actual restore. The first of these is a verify option to compare the backup with the original content. There is also an option allowing you to mount the backup as a virtual drive but the virtual drive will not be accessible unless you actually log into your administrator account and run the program there - when you run the program from a regular user account so you can continue working the virtual drive will not be accessible.
There are a number of utility and configuration options also available. There are configuration options to set the compression level that the backup is to use, whether the entire partition is to be backed up or just that part containing date, and also options for creating either a linux or windows boot disk to assist in recovering your system should it not be possible to boot the system at all.
For a free program the features this program offer are amazing and provided you remember to run backups on a regular basis it will serve the purpose for which it is intended. The few features that it doesn't include are those you would expect to need to pay for. The free program supports RAID and dynamic volumes but does not support server operating systems (you need a server version for that).
The pro version also includes support for command line backup and restore. It also provides disk space management and allows you to merge images.
Download AOMEI Backupper.