iDrive Backup is a great choice for those wishing to backup multiple devices using a cost effective service - the 2TB limit will be ample for the vast majority of home users.
AOMEI Backupper Standard 5.1
AOMEI Backupper Standard provides a simple and free way to keep your system backed up. Files, folders and full system image backups are quick and easy to perform using the well designed and easy to use interface. Other useful features included such as email notifications and the choice of full or incremental backup modes make this an excellent choice for your everyday backup needs!
- Great design, very easy to easy to use software
- Powerful scheduling options (run scheduling as a separate service)
- Perform file level, partition level and full disk image backups
- Perform incremental file and image backups saving space and time
- Easy to use and powerful recovery (explore backups before restoring)
- Lacking Encryption support (Pro version only)
- Email notifications (Gmail and Outlook.com supported)
- Good compression support
- Bootable media builder (Windows PE or Linux based)
- Disk cloning tools (Full disk cloning)
- Restore to dissimilar hardware
- No support for cloud storage providers
- Excellent features on offer for free software!
Firstly getting AOMEI installed and running on my test PC was a very quick and simple process. As a free backup solution simply download the installer form the AOMEI website, set the install running and after registering an email address the software is ready to go!
Since cloud storage isn’t supported the main use of Backupper will be to perform both file and image backups to local targets such as external drives and network storage locations (e.g. NAS drives).
We can start a backup by clicking on “Backup” from the left side menu, we will then be presented with the main backup screen. From this screen we can select the type of backup we want to perform and backupper provides us with several backup options here:
System Backup: This is a full backup of the entire Windows install including all disks and partitions thereof.
File backup: Here we can select specific files and folders to backup.
Disk Backup: This option performs a full image of a disk.
Partition: Backups one or more partitions to an image file.
Continuing with the file backup for now the next option is to select any files and folders for the backup from the selection screen. AOMEI have a slightly unusual approach to this selection process in that you add files / folders to the backup set one at a time, since most people will simply add a single folder containing all necessary items (e.g. My Documents) this shouldn’t be an issue for many.
Once any relevant files and folders have been added to the backup set it is also from this same screen we can specify any backup and scheduling options, the buttons to do this residing at the bottom of the screen.
The options screen will allow us to configure the options for this specific backup set, this includes setting up email notifications, how the backup files will be split and also defining the level of compression to be used. We also have the ability to set any selected options as the default for all future backups using a check box should we like which is a nice additional feature included by AOMEI.
It is also important to point out here that encryption is not supported on the standard (free) version of Backupper, this might not be an issue for some but you should look at upgrading to the pro version if it is!
Under the schedule screen we have a good range of scheduling options, this includes an interval option which will essentially allow for anything up to hourly backups to be taken automatically (the closest we can get to real-time with this software). Alternatively, backing up daily / weekly / monthly etc. is really easy to set up with the scheduling engine as well.
Under the advanced section of the scheduling screen we can specify the backup mode to be used, this can be creating full backups each time we backup or using an incremental approach more suited to larger backup sets helping save time and disk space whilst backing up. It is important to note a differential backup method does exist but this is only enabled in the Pro version of the software.
We also have an option to perform scheduling using the Windows task scheduler or a separate AOMEI windows service. I cant see any obvious reason not to use Windows task scheduler although those who do have reasons might find this a useful feature, especially whilst available on the free version!
In addition to the File backup we can also perform full disk and partition image backups in addition to full system backups which capture the entire state of the PC including all disks and partitions.
The main advantage of the full system backup is we can backup everything relating to our Windows install into a single image, this means should we, for example encounter a virus we can roll back the whole system to an earlier point before any such problems might have existed.
Another very useful feature which is great to see in the free version of Backupper is the file synchronisation tool.
Using this tool we can specify two different folders which should be kept in constant sync with each other, this is not a backup per say but a useful way of keeping a set of files accessible across two or more PCs on a network. Such tools are useful for those working on multiple PCs and remove the need to be constantly sharing files or worry about potentially working on incorrect file versions etc.
The process of synchronisation can be done in much the same way that the backups were scheduled earlier on in this review. Using the powerful AOMEI scheduling engine we can synchronise our files daily / weekly / monthly or up to once per hour using the “Intervals” option.
The Pro version of backupper includes slightly more advanced options here and will allow for real-time (always on) synchronisation as well as event based synchronisations such as when a user logs on or a USB drive is plugged into the PC.
If you can live with hourly or longer synchronisation times then this is an excellent addition to a free backup tool which I’m sure will be well received by many!
Just like backing up the restore process is simple and straight forwards with backupper, to start a restore operation we click on “Restore” from the left side menu and are presented with the main restore screen.
Depending upon how we backed up our data (image or file backup) we start by selecting whether to restore form an image file or a restore from a backup task (e.g. a file level backup).
In my example I am restoring from a file level backup so have selected a task restore, on the next screen I select the backup set to restore and then finally I can select all or specific files and folders to backup.
So far this is a fairly simple and straightforward restore operation which is very reassuring, next, we will be asked whether to restore any files / folders to their original location or to a new location should we wish.
Whilst testing the software I found restoring quick and easy to use, sure it might be missing some advanced features such as the removing of file permissions during restore but this is a minor issue and irrelevant for almost all home users anyway.
Other notable tools included with Backupper Standard include the ability to clone full hard disks, an image explorer tool and a bootable media builder amongst others.
The disk cloning tools simply clone a single disk to another, this is in contrast to the system cloning tool which allows for the whole Windows system including all partitions and disks to be migrated to a new hard disk or SSD. The disk cloning tool is a nice addition however the full system cloning tool is only available in the full version of Backupper Pro.
The Image explorer tool is a nice addition to the free version allowing both file backup and image backup files to be browsed and any files / folders located before embarking on a potentially lengthy restore operation.
The bootable media builder is also a nice addition allowing a Windows PE or Linux based bootable ISO / DVD / USB flash drive to be built. This is becoming more standard these days, even on free backup software but it is still nice to see it included and with the Linux or Windows PE options is great!
AOMEI backupper Standard doesn’t include any encryption options however these are available in the Pro version!
AOMEI have a good support section on their website which includes detailed user manuals and help documents. Should you need to get in touch with a support representative you can email AOMEI directly or use their online support forums.
AOMEI backupper Standard is free!
With Backupper Standard AOMEI have created a very capable backup solution capable of keeping a PC backed up with very little maintenance required. I particularly like that both file level and full system image backups are included along with many of the useful supplementary tools found in the Pro version.
The software performed flawlessly during my testing and I feel a great deal of time and effort has been put into making this software both work well and look great. All-in-all a very impressive piece of free backup software!
You can download AOMEI Backupper Standard here: free backup software