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.
Ashampoo Backup Pro 14
Ashampoo Backup Pro 14 is the latest premium backup solution from Ashampoo. Launched in September 2019 this new version builds on the stable base of the previous version whilst offering new features such as a completely overhauled backup engine, automatic backup verification and improved cloud support.
I reviewed the previous version (V12) earlier this year and was impressed with how easy the software was to configure and use whilst still providing a powerful set of advanced backup features. Sure, you could get a local and cloud based backup configured in minutes but you can also specify powerful scheduling, encryption and compression options should you need to as well!
Ashampoo look to have built on their solid base whilst completely rebuilding the backup engine and incorporating automatic backup verification to boot. Along with a whole host of other small improvements Backup Pro 14 looks set to impress!
- (New) Completely overhauled backup engine
- (New) Automatic verification of backups for extra safety
- Well designed, reliable and easy to use backup software
- Powerful scheduling options
- Perform disk, partition or full system image backups
- Perform incremental file and image backups saving space and time
- Easy to recover (mount backups as virtual disk drives)
- Impressive Encryption and compression support
- Support for cloud storage supported (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive etc.)
- Option for email based backup reports
- Good value given the features on offer!
One of the great things about Ashampoo is their software is always quick and easy to install and can be working as you need it to be in very little time indeed! Ashampoo Backup Pro 14 is no exception here, simply download the installer, agree to the licence, (optionally) set the install location and within a few seconds you will be ready to go!
Once the software has installed you will be greeted by the new Backup Pro home screen, this is very similar to that of the previous version albeit sporting a smart new colour scheme. From the home screen we can, at a glance, see the status of all of our backup sets including those which are up to date, those which might have failed and require further action and those which are currently in progress. The home screen also allows all other features of the program to be easily accessed via the left hand side menu:
Getting an initial backup configured and running is simple and straight forwards with Backup Pro 14, to begin simply select “New backup Plan” from the left hand menu and then select whether to use local or cloud based storage for the backup.
As can be seen from the above screen shot Backup Pro 14 offers a good range of storage options such as external hard drives in addition to all of the most popular cloud storage provides including Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive amongst others.
Initially I will select Dropbox as my storage provider whilst continuing this review, in doing so instead of selecting locally attached storage you will need to follow some additional verification steps to allow the backup software to communicate securely with Dropbox. I found this process to be quite simple and it involves the Backup Pro 14 software redirecting you to a sign-in page for Dropbox where you can verify yourself and then specify that the software can connect to and use you Dropbox account.
Once verification with Dropbox has been successfully completed you will see a confirmation in the backup software and can continue setting up the backup set:
Further along in the process we can select whether to use file-level backups or take an entire system image of the PC. System image backups are very useful in that they allow a full recovery of the PC, its applications, system state and data in the event it is ever needed (virus attack etc.). Since I am using Dropbox in this review I will select to backup only files and folders.
Ashampoo also provide an excellent file selection screen making the choosing of which files to backup quick and simple. Simply select a pre-defined option such as “My Documents” or “My Pictures” or optionally choose from specific files, folders and file types yourself. This screen also makes the excluding of certain files and file types easy as well, for example, you might want to ensure all .iso files are excluded regardless of where they reside.
Compression and encryption are also central to Backup Pro 14 with the option to turn either on or off during the setup easily available. When compression is turned on during a cloud backup the backup sets will automatically be compressed and stored on the target storage as ZIP files. When using local storage more compression options are available giving greater control over low compression for a quicker backup or higher compression for more efficient usage of disk space:
Just like with compression the encrypting of cloud backups is also made easy and when selected Backup Pro 14 will automatically apply AES 256bit encryption to your backup sets ensuring safe and secure off site storage. Should you be configuring a local backup set the software will additionally allow you to specify the type of encryption to be used, this allows users some control over either a faster backup or more secure storage of their data!
NB – When using Backup Pro 14 if you do turn on encryption it is really important to remember your password! Ashampoo will not have access to your data and will not be able to re-set this for you!
Another great benefit of using your own cloud storage together with Backup Pro 14 is that you can set your own file versioning and retention periods. With some cloud backup providers such as Backblaze keeping only 30 days of file versioning this could prove to be very useful for more advanced or professional users looking for more options.
Whilst creating a backup set you will initially be given the choice of simply keeping the latest version of each file or optionally setting your own versioning period, this means you could keep old versions of files for many years should you so wish!
As with its predecessor Backup Pro 14 includes the powerful Ashampoo scheduling engine meaning your backup set can be set to run on a timescale of your choosing. Simple backup schedules such as once per day / week / month are very easy to set up however, Setting up anything more frequent than once per day means making multiple entries into the advanced scheduling box. This is not a big issue but I would have liked to see a scheduling option making more frequent schedules (e.g. every hour) easier to configure.
Other useful features available during set-up include the ability to set missed backups to be re-run automatically when possible and optionally turn off the PC when the backup has completed.
Finally, with the help of an Ashampoo account backup reports can optionally be emailed to you informing of the current backup status of your PC. This is not new but a very useful feature which works very well in my experience.
Upon the completion of our backup set we can opt to run the backup immediately or allow the schedule to take over right away, when the backup is running we will see the progress on the main home screen like so:
Once we have a backup set configured and our backups running we can, whenever needed, restore files back to our PC via the Backup Pro application.
If, as in my review you are using Dropbox (or another cloud storage option) to store your backup then you might be asked to re-authenticate with your storage provider before continuing. You will also be asked for the backup password (if set) before being able to continue with the operation so remember not to forget this password!
Once all authentication and backup passwords are confirmed the program will show the main screen used to select the files and folders to be restored. Note that we can also specify the date and time in this screen to ensure we obtain the correct version of the files / folders we are recovering.
After selecting the files to restore we can optionally select a restore location, there doesn’t appear to be an option to restore (and potentially overwrite) to the original location although this is not really an issue for me as I never restore like this anyway.
As with the previous version of Backup Pro we also have the ability to view the contents of a backup set using the built in backup set explorer or by mounting the set as a virtual drive within Windows. These are both great options should you wish to search for a specific file and file version before starting the actual restore operation.
Backup Pro 14 provides an excellent rescue media creation tool meaning a bootable DVD or flash drive can be created and used to boot the PC in case of system problems. Providing you have set up an image backup the entire PC can be recovered to an earlier date and (hopefully) made useable again without the need to re-build Windows.
As was mentioned in the introduction one of the main improvements for version 14 is a complete overhaul of the backup engine including automatic verification of backups. In addition to this Ashampoo have also included a built-in disk check and repair tool meaning the risk of losing data due to disk and system integrity issues can be easily mitigated.
Ashampoo Backup Pro 14 provides powerful encryption options which allow users to (optionally) specify from several different encryption options whilst configuring backup sets. AES-256bt is included in this list and selected by default when performing backups and cloud backups although other options allow for slightly less security and faster backups should this be needed.
Ashampoo have a great website and provide a comprehensive Q&A section which handles most problems you might encounter. Should you still need to get in touch with a support representative you can submit support tickets online.
Ashampoo Backup Pro 14 is priced at a one-off $49.99 per PC.
With backup Pro 14 Ashampoo have taken an already solid backup solution and improved it even further. Whilst it is fair to say version 14 is more about improvments than new features it must equally be said this software really does perform well, is easy to use and is very competitively priced as a one-off purchase.
During my testing everything worked as it should with both local and cloud based backups performing well and working exactly as expected. Creating new backup sets is very straight forward using the default settings yet advanced features such as scheduling and the choice of compression and encryption mean this software is suitable for users of all abilities.
Having used the software my only minor criticism is that the scheduling tool could be configured to allow easier set-up of continuous backup schedules (say, every 15 minutes). Other than this it is hard to criticise this excellent price of software!
Well done Ashampoo!