Uniblue Systems' WinBackup 2, one of our favourite file-backup programs for Windows, is now even better. Not only is its new interface prettier than that of its drab predecessor, the program's easier to learn now, too, with step-by-step guides for creating and restoring backups.
WinBackup 2 Standard supports most of the popular backup media, including CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW +/-, and USB, FireWire, and Jaz drives. The Professional version, which costs an additional US$20, includes a variety of e-mail-backup tools for Microsoft Outlook users, including the ability to archive mail folders and individual messages. In addition, Professional runs automated scripts, which you can use, for example, to shut down your PC after a backup, and it's the better buy for small-business owners.
WinBackup is great for file backups, but don't confuse it with disk-imaging programs, such as Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost, which duplicate your hard disk's contents on another drive -- products that are more suited for a fast recovery after a disk crash. That said, we recommend WinBackup 2 Professional to small businesses that need a reliable, secure backup program.Features
Creating a backup with WinBackup 2 Professional is easy, thanks to the new Navigation Panel. The Panel's Step Tabs, for instance, walk you through the task at hand, be it backup or restore. To start a new backup job, simply click the numbered tabs to select files, choose a backup destination (for example, a DVD drive), designate compression and encryption settings, and so on. It's quite easy, and novices should take to WinBackup 2 Professional without much effort.
The new Shortcuts feature lets you back up a particular program's files and settings simply by checking a box in an Explorer-style tree. The list of supported apps is slim, with only a few popular Windows apps represented, including Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, and Internet Explorer. Uniblue Systems says Shortcuts will support more programs in the future.Performance
Under the hood, WinBackup 2 Professional improved its data-verification and encryption algorithms for better data integrity and security. Backup speed, however, depends largely on the compression settings you choose. For instance, using the default compression, we backed up 100MB of files in about 90 seconds. Using maximum compression, the same backup took more than twice as long: 3 minutes, 45 seconds. Support
From Uniblue, however, we'd like to see better tech support. There's no phone support, and the online site lacks the usual troubleshooting tips and advice that most software vendors provide. Registered WinBackup users can send Web queries, but Premium e-mail support, which guarantees a reply within 24 hours, costs US$9.95 per year.