Following on from the excellent version 15 which was released back in 2020, Backup Pro 16 is the latest evolution in Ashampoo’s leading line of backup software!
One of the main things I really like about the Backup Pro line is just how easy it is to use and how versatile the backup options are within it. For example, with Backup Pro 16 we can make both file and full system image backups, make use of locally attached hard drives, NAS systems as well as incorporate our own 3rd party cloud storage accounts, choose form several encryption options, make bootable recovery media, set advanced scheduling, monitor hard drives for reliability and much more from a single application!
In-fact, the previous version of this software (Backup Pro 15) has been one of the most versatile and reliable backup solutions I have tested here at BestBackupRevews.com. With Backup Pro 16 bringing in new features and improvements, alongside a new a licence providing use on up to 3 PCs for no extra cost, it is also starting to look like a very good value solution. With all of this in mind, I’m looking forwards to testing this latest version, let’s go!
- (New) Full Windows 11 support!
- (New) Singe licence now supports 3x PCs
- (New) Windows messaging integration
- (New) Updated and improved cloud functionality
- (New) Better stability, performance & security
- Well designed, reliable and easy to use backup software
- Pre-set backup plans (ready to use / quick start plans)
- Extensive cloud storage support (Dropbox, Google Drive, WebDAV etc.)
- Perform disk, partition and full system image backups
- Unlimited historic file versioning (disk space dependant)
- Support for powerful, zero knowledge encryption (up to 256bit AES)
- Easy recovery options (including mounting image backups as virtual drives)
- Built-in (UEFI) system recovery tools
- Free backup reports by email (free Ashampoo account required)
- Great value @ $49.99 one-off licence fee (for use on 3x PCs)
Backup Pro 16 Usability
In this section of my review I will be looking at Backup Pro 16 in more detail and assessing how well it performs as an all-in-one solution for keeping any Windows PCs backed-up and any data stored within them safe.
This process begins with the installation and registration of the software, it then moves on to making both the file and image level backups whilst making use of both locally attached drives and one of the many 3rd party cloud providers supported within the application. Finally, I will look at some of the many other features of Backup Pro 16 including the hard drive monitoring tools and the ability to mount image backup as virtual drives within Windows to help in recovering files.
New Features in Backup Pro 16
With this new version of Backup Pro 16 comes many small updates, improvements and new features helping to make the software even easier to use and more reliable than ever before. The biggest and potentially most important new update, however, is that Backup Pro 16 now fully supports the new Microsoft Windows 11 operating system!
With full support for Windows 11 being the most obvious and important update here, it is fair to say that after this the team at Ashampoo have clearly been focused more on making improvements than bringing in completely new features with this latest release (although we do see some new pre-set backup plans as well as integration with the Windows messaging service, both very useful additions to have). Other improvements include faster and more reliable and cloud backup functionality and the backup engine itself which has been further refined from that in version 15 to deliver even better performance and security.
The other major change worth mentioning is that Backup Pro 16 now supports up to 3 PCs on a single licence (from just a single PC in the past). Given that this software was already very good value as a one-off purchase of just $49.99, it has now become even better value (especially for anyone used to working across two or more PCs regularly)!
Installing Backup Pro 16
Installing Backup Pro 16 begins at the Ashampoo website where we can download the product installer itself, at just 101MB at the time of my testing, this is a reasonably sized file which I had downloaded and running on my PC just a few moments later.
The installation process itself (as with all Ashampoo software) was very quick and easy to get going, simply run the installer, check the licence and choose a location to install (the default location should be fine for most users) and a few moments later the software will be ready to go. Once installed, the first thing we will need to do is either register the software or opt to take advantage of the 10 day free trial (which is extended to 30 days when registering for a free Ashampoo account).
With the software registered, the installation is now complete and we can begin making use of Backup Pro 16 right away. In the next section I will look at making use of the powerful system and disk imaging backup tools which form a core part of the tool and then later on look at some other backup options including the making of file level backups to a 3rd party cloud provider.
System Image Backups
Running a full system image backup is one of the best ways of ensuring that all important data, the operating system itself plus any installed applications are all safely backed-up with the minimal of effort needed. In this section of this review I will be looking at the image backup tools included within Backup Pro 16 and seeing how effective they are at getting an entire Windows system backed-up.
As can be seen above, when we first start using Backup Pro 16 we will need to create our first backup set, a task which can be done by clicking the “Create New Plan” button on the “Backup Plans” section of the app (which is easily accessible from the main left-side menu).
* Note that we start all backups this same way in Backup Pro 16, we can specify that we want an image backup instead of a file-level backup a little later on.
Once in the new backup set wizard, one of the first things we will have to do is specify where we want our newly backed-up data to be stored, in my example (as can be seen above) I have chosen to use a locally attached hard drive for this task (although Backup Pro 16 also offers plenty of 3rd party cloud providers which I will look at in more depth a little later on). With this choice made, the next screen in the wizard is where we specify the target drive to be backed-up to and, if necessary, select a specific folder on this drive to be used.
Moving on and with the backup location now chosen, we then need to specify a name for the backup set, this can be seen below:
Once given a name it should be noted that, as can be seen to the right of the above screen, we also have to option to import any existing backup sets and their respective settings should we need to. This means that, should we have been using an older version of Backup Pro and already have our backup set configured, we have the option to simply import this backup set and re-initiate the settings in this new version!
With the new backup set now named, the next step in getting our image backup set running involves the shortcuts screen where we can (optionally) select a pre-made backup plan to apply to our new set. First of all, these pre-made plans make the file and folder selection for our new backup set easy (e.g. backup the “My Documents” folder or “all Office documents”), they also make other pre-determined setting easy to apply, for example, the keeping of old backups for 30 days and optionally setting encryption on the new set.
* Note, as can be seen above, I have selected the “Continue without template” option as I want to look at and configure all of the available settings myself, if you just want a quick and easy way of applying a good pre-determined configuration, then this feature is ideal!
Moving on and it is here we opt to use either a file level or image level backup, this is as simple as selecting the required checkbox as can be seen below (also note that the software provides a set of pros and cons for each backup type, a nice addition for those unsure of which choice is best to make).
With the backup type to be used now selected, the next step is the selection of disks to be included as a part of the backup. As can be seen below, this is as simple as checking the necessary boxes for any disks which are to be included from those which are shown:
Having selected the disks to be included, the next step is to (optionally) specify a strong password to help protect the backup (this can be seen below). After the password is set, the next screen allows us to optionally also compress the back-up data files meaning (at the expense of a slightly slower backup) we can help maximise the disk available on our storage device.
* Note that the use of strong encryption is widely considered as one of the best and most effective ways of protecting your backed-up data, even in the event that your storage device (e.g. an external hard drive) is lost or stolen, any data backed-up within it will remain secure (providing a strong password is set).
The next page in the set-up wizard is a very important one, this is the version settings screen and it is here that we set the backup methodology to be used and how many versions (old copies) of the backup are to be stored and for how long. As can be seen below, I have set my backup set to store 30 previous copies of the backup, this means if I run this backup daily (which I intend to do in the next screen) I will be able to access any versions of the backup (including changes or deleted files) up to 30 days into the past.
* Being able to access older versions of files can be useful for a number of reasons, one of of the most important reasons being a form of defence against malware (specifically ransomware, which will encrypt files and demand a ransom be paid to unlock them). Whilst a good anti-virus can be of great help here, having a secure and reliable backup with at least 30days of version history is one of the best ways to protect your data against malware!
With the previous version retention settings now configured (as can be seen above), further down on this same screen we can also set the backup methodology which is to be used (this is essentially the way the backup files which store the actual data will be made). The “Infinite Incremental” option means that after the initial full backup is made, the software will only back-up the changes to the original file going forwards (usually resulting in smaller and faster backups). Alternatively, the “Make full backups regularly” options sees the software use a mix of multiple full and incremental backups to achieve the same goal, a method which is slower to complete but also, in-turn, slightly more resilient in its approach.
The next part of the set-up (as can be see above) are the scheduling options, here we can choose to run the backup set manually, daily or weekly as is required by simply clicking the required button. If something more advanced is required (for example running the backup every hour) then this can be achieved using the Advanced option at the bottom of the four choices.
* Remember back to the previous screen when choosing a schedule for your backup, if you chose to keep 30 previous versions of the backup and the backup is run daily, then you will have 30 days of historic versioning for your files. If you run the backup twice per day then this will need to be set to 60 old versions to keep the same 30 days of historic versioning!
Next, before reaching the verification options screen (above), we will be asked to specify how any missed backups are to be handled (e.g. run at the next system restart) and also what power options might be needed as well (e.g. only preventing Windows sleep mode when the backup is in progress). When we do get to the automatic verification settings screen we can then opt for manual verification of our backups or for Backup Pro 16 to automatically handle such verification tasks for us (and perform it on a schedule as and when it sees verification as necessary).
Next, as above, we get to specify the number of old backup reports which are to be kept and (optionally) whether email backup reports should be sent over to us (a service which requires a free Ashampoo account in order to be able to make use of). Finally, after specifying such reporting options, we will reach the backup summary screen and the new backup set will be ready to use, you can view it (along with its current status) in the backup plans screen as can be seen below:
At this stage we can either leave the backup set in situ until our scheduling options are ready to run it automatically for us or, alternatively, run the backup set manually using the purple “Start backup” button which is pointed out in the image above. As we had selected that Backup Pro 16 should handle the verification processes itself earlier on, this will now happen automatically (otherwise, if opting to run verifications manually, the “Actions” drop down menu is where this can be manually run from).
And with this the process of setting up a new system image backup is now complete! I will be looking at the file level backup options in the next section (plus also covering how to make use of the cloud integrations) and then moving on to restoring data and covering a few of the other functions found within the software later on in the review.
Making File Backups
Whilst having the option to make full system image backups is very useful (as was covered in the previous section), the ability to make file level backups which are usually much quicker and easier to work with is also very useful.
* Since image backups are usually slow to run and produce large files sizes as a result of the detail they hold, they are (generally speaking) not ideal for running at regular intervals nor storing on cloud storage (unless you have very fast internet access). With this in mind, a useful strategy for getting the best out of both image and file level backups together is, for example, to make a weekly image backup of your entire system to an external hard drive or NAS system and then make file level backups every day (or indeed every hour) to the cloud for extra safety whilst the PC is in use!
Creating a new file level backup starts again by clicking on “Create New Plan” from the backup plans screen and this time, given we are also going to look at the cloud integration within Backup Pro 16, choosing a 3rd party cloud provider to make use of on the first page.
In my example I am going to be using one of the most popular cloud storage providers, Dropbox. As can be seen above, Dropbox aside, there are also many other popular cloud storage choices within Backup Pro 16 including Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Strato HiDrive amongst others.
Moving on and with Dropbox now chosen, the next step will be to authorise the software to connect to and access the Dropbox account automatically (a process which in Dropbox’s case involves being re-directed to the Dropbox login page and asked to login to confirm that Backup Pro 16 is authorised to access the account).
Next, we need to name this new backup set and then (optionally) choose to make use of one the pre-set backup plans or configure the remaining settings ourself. After this we will arrive at the screen where we can specify to the software that this time around we want to make use of a file level backup, this can be seen below:
In the next screen we can make use of the file selection tool to select any files which are to be included in the backup, a tool which makes selecting individual files and folders easy, as it does selecting files based upon other criteria including categories such as documents, photos and music files amongst other things. We can also (if necessary) use this selection tool to specify certain files or file types are excluded from the backup set as well (e.g. automatically excluding all ISO files).
Next, after selecting the files to be included in the backup, we can optionally turn on compression and set a password to help protect the backup set, something which is especially important (and recommended) when sending any backed-up data to the cloud!
Moving on and the next three pages of the wizard allow for configuring how missed backups are to be handled, any relevant power settings and also how to make use of backup reports in much the same way as was looked at when configuring the image backup set earlier on.
When arriving at the “Version Settings” screen (seen above), we see a slight change from the same screen we used to set versioning in the image based backup earlier on in this review. In this case, when using a file level backup, we see simplified versioning options in that we can simply set the number of days we want to retain previous versions of files for (e.g. 180 days as can be seen above).
With the versioning now set and the new backup set summary screen checked, we will reach the point at which the backup can be saved before been visible in the main part of the app.
At this point we can simply leave the backup and await the schedule to run it for us or, as with the image based backup made earlier on, run the backup manually from this screen whenever is necessary!
* Note that Backup Pro 16 gives us plenty of choices when configuring our new backup sets, if you don’t fully understand the options or simply require a quick set-up process then be sure to make use of the “shortcuts” screen where you will find the pre-made backup plans, great for saving time and ensuring a good configuration is used!
At this point in my review I have covered the creation of full system image backups to a locally attached disk alongside the creation of file level backups to the Dropbox cloud. In this section I will look at some of the ways we can restore this backed-up data should we ever need to, this begins with probably one of the most common tasks, retrieving a single file or folder from a backup set.
As can be seen above, restoring from any of the backup sets begins in said backup set’s options menu, from here we can select the “Restore Backup” option to begin the restore wizard process working. If working with 3rd party cloud storage provider, as in the case of this restore, the software will perform a check to verify that it can still access the data, it will then ask for a password to be entered if one has been set on the backup:
With the password entered, the next step in restoring files is at the file selection screen, from here we can manually browse and select any files and folders to be included in the restoration. Note that (importantly) towards to the top of the page we can also specify the date and time for the restore, thus ensuring we get the correct version of any files (when necessary to do so).
With any files selected, the next step is to specify the restore location where these files will be saved to. Whilst this is easy to do via the folder selection tool (as can be seen below), we are lacking some of the advanced options which are often found on other backup software, for example, the option to save files to their original location and (optionally) overwrite any copies which might already reside there.
With the restore location specified, we will see an initial summary screen for the restore operation, after confirming everything looks good, the restore can begin!
Disk Image Restores
Moving on and thanks to the ability of Backup Pro 16 to make full system image backups, we can, in-turn, also make use of some advanced restore techniques should the need arise. As can be seen in the screenshot below, when recovering from the image backup set made earlier on we have the option to recover an entire drive, selected partitions on said drive or even restore an entire hard disk in its entirety (in addition to also being able to restore individual files and folders from the image backup should we need to).
In this particular example I have decided to recover an entire drive onto another drive which is attached to my test PC (but in reality this could also be used for replacing or upgrading said drive should this be needed). After selecting the image based restore option, on the next screen we can select the new drive to be restored to (the target drive).
With the target drive selected, we can set the restore going and the target disk will be cloned to match the selected version of the image backup being restored!
Moving on and another use for image based backup is the recovering of the current system to an earlier point in time, this essentially means recovering the same (in-use) disk or disks which make up a Windows system to a state they were in when the image backup was originally taken. This is a very useful feature as the easy recovery of an entire running system to an earlier time can be a great way of recovering from both Windows system problems as well as malware or ransomware attacks!
Given that we are recovering the currently used hardware in this example, we must make use of the special Backup Pro 16 recovery disk in order to restore the system (we cannot restore the same system whilst it is still running). This begins in the Rescue System section of the application where we can create the necessary recovery boot media either on a USB flash drive or by writing it straight to a CD or DVD.
With the bootable USB flash drive or CD/DVD created, the system being restored can be booted into this recovery system and the correct version of the image backup restored from.
Finally in this section, another useful feature available within Backup pro 16 when making image backups is the ability to mount the contents of the image file as a virtual drive within Windows itself, a process which will allow easy browsing and recovery (via drag and drop) of any files within the drive.
Mounting a backup as a drive within Windows begins in the “View Backup” screen where the backup set (and the correct version of this set) can be selected, once a version has been chosen, simply clicking on “open” will allow Backup Pro 16 to mount the drive (As can be seen above, in the final sate of doing this we will be warned any changes made to files within this drive will be lost once the drive is dismounted).
Cloud Backup Functionality
Earlier on in this Ashampoo Backup Pro 16 review I looked at making a file level backup using the Dropbox cloud storage service as the storage target. Whilst Dropbox is undoubtedly one of the most popular cloud storage providers available within Backup Pro 16, we do have access to multiple other cloud providers (including the use of WebDAV which opens up many other providers for use within the software who are otherwise unlisted).
The full list of supported cloud storage options within Backup Pro 16 is as follows:
- Google Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
- OneDrive for Business
- Strato HiDrive
- 1&1 cloud storage
Other Tools & Features
With the core file and image backup components aside, we do see a small number of other useful tools and features within Backup Pro 16, starting off with the “Check Disks” tool which can be used to check (and optionally attempt to repair) any disks connected to the Windows system.
Moving on and another useful feature of Backup Pro 16 is the automatic pausing feature, when switched on this allows the software to monitor the performance of the PC being backed-up and detect when more power is required elsewhere. When such a detection is made the automatic pausing feature will (as the name implies) pause any running backups until the PC resources are freed up again.
Finally, one of the new features of Backup Pro is the integration of the application within the Windows notifications system, should you want to disable this and go back to in-app notifications like in older versions of Backup Pro then we also have a utility for switching this back over as well!
Backup Pro 16 Security
When it comes to the security of any backed-up data, one of the quickest, simplest and most effective ways of applying protection is to make use of strong encryption, something which is readily available and easy to apply within Backup Pro 16!
I have already covered using the encryption technology earlier on in this review, it really is as simple as entering a password and (in certain circumstances and when necessary) choosing the type of encryption to be applied.
Backup Pro 16 currently supports the following encryption options:
- AES 128-bit
- AES 256-bit
- Cast 128-bit
* Be very careful when applying encryption and make sure to remember your password! If (for any reason) you forget this password, Ashampoo will not be able to reset it for you and you could potentially loose access to any backed-up data as a result!
It is very nice for Ashampoo to include several encryption options here, 128-bit variants should work quicker thus resulting in slightly faster backups, however, it is generally accepted that the AES 256-bit option is one of the best solutions for protecting any backed-up data to the highest standards!
With encryption aside, it should also be noted that having a secure and reliable backup in place is also one of the best and most effective forms of defence against many new cybersecurity issues including malware and ransomware attacks (which sees your data being encrypted and a ransom demanded for the decryption passkey). This strategy is particularly effective when making use of a piece of software such as Backup Pro 16 to implement the 3-2-1 backup rule and have data stored both on-site for ease of access and off-site with a secure cloud storage provider for extra resilience.
Ashampoo have a very useful support portal on their website featuring product documentation alongside a comprehensive Q&A section which should be capable of handling most problems you might encounter. Should you still need to get in touch with a support representative you can submit support tickets online.
Backup Pro 16 Pricing
Ashampoo Backup Pro 16 is priced at $49.99 for a single licence (which now covers use on up to 3x PCs). Users of the previous version 15 can upgrade for just $19.99!
One of the biggest improvements in this version is pricing, a change which sees the single Backup Pro 16 licence now covering up to 3 PCs on a single licence versus just one PC previously. Given how good the value this software already was for a perpetual, one-off licence, it has now becomes even better!
* Be sure to also check out Ashampoo’s special deals page as they regularly have great deals across their entire range of software (including Backup Pro 16).
Ashampoo Backup Pro 16 FAQ
No, Backup Pro 16 is not free to use however, at just $49.99 for a 3x PC licence it is one of the best value premium backup applications available as of today.
Backup Pro 16 works by creating either file level or full system image backups in order to help protect a Windows PC. Backed-up data can be stored either localy on an external hard drive, on a NAS or network drive or on 3rd party cloud storage form companies including Dropbox and Google Drive amongst others.
Yes, Ashampoo Backup Pro 16 is one of the best all-round backup solutions we have tested in a long time! The ability to make both file and image based backups as well as store data both locally or to one of multiple 3rd party cloud providers makes this a very versatile piece of software. Better still, with easy to use pre-set backup plans and a subscription free, one-off payment of just $49.99 for use on up to 3x PCs, it is a great value solution for all kinds of PC user!
Ashampoo Backup Pro 16 Review Summary
There is a lot to like about Backup Pro 16, for starters (with ever more software providers moving to subscription only pricing) it is great to Ashampoo stick to a simple, one-off $49.99 for a perpetual licence now covering up to 3x PCs – excellent value in my opinion and ideal for anyone who doesn’t want a subscription based solution!
With the new and improved pricing out of the way, the thing I like most about Backup Pro 16 overall, is how well it manages to deliver the perfect mix of powerful features and ease of use. For example, If you just want to get a quick and simple file backup to your Dropbox account, then this can be achieved very quickly and easily thanks to features such as the pre-set backup plans and the excellent 3rd party cloud integration. Likewise, should your backup requirements be more complex and involve being able to specify exactly what is and isn’t backed-up, specific historic retention periods, the type of encryption being used and the ability to set specific schedules (amongst many other things) then Backup Pro 16 will still deliver!
Full support for Windows 11 is provided with this latest version as are many other tools and functionalities including the ability to make full system image backups, integration with the Windows messaging service, a disk checking and repairing tool, a bootable media builder and the automatic pausing functionality to help improve PC performance amongst many other things.
All-in-all, backup Pro 16 is an excellent choice regardless of how simple or complex your backup requirements might be, the new pricing also helps to make this one of the best value premium backup solutions on the market – Great work, Ashampoo!