GFI Backup Reviewed

GFI Backup ReviewedWith the wide variety available, I am aware that it is a daunting task to determine which backup software is the most reliable and easiest to use. Knowing this is just one aspect, however, since figuring this out requires that you have a protocol to follow. In an attempt to outline the process, I have put together a partial list of the criteria I use when comparing different backup software programs to one another. I believe that these parameters are a valid means of properly evaluating a software program regardless of the cost of the program or, in other words: if it is a free version, a standard version, or a professional one.

My criteria for backup software is as follows:

  • It needs to have an easy-to-use interface that makes the software simple to use.
  • It should provide a scheduling feature.
  • It must have encryption capability.
  • It should have ready access to a backup registry, as well as files and folders.
  • It should be capable of backing up files even when they are in use.
  • It should be multifunctional in that it has the ability to back up to a local folder, to an external hard drive, to a network folder, or CD/DVD.
  • It needs the ability to complete incremental, differential, and stacked backups.
  • Ideally, all of this is available for free.

This is the criteria I used in my review of the GFI Backup software, which follows:

The GFI Backup startup screen provides a simple-to-understand and easy-to-use GUI that is intuitive even for the novice user. However, despite its seeming simplicity, this interface is just the desktop that covers a full-featured software product that will be able to meet most everyone’s needs.

Will it work for you? While I believe the answer to this question is yes, I realize that just because a piece of software informs the user via friendly looking windows that all files have been backed up properly, the proof in the pudding is how the restore feature functions.

GFI Backup ReviewedSo how do you test your backup software to see how well it works or doesn’t work? I chose an option and methodology that I believe will provide a satisfactory test. Here is what I did:

  • I used a computer with the Windows 7 operating system that had been updated with the latest upgrades.
  • I used a secondary test computer so I was free from the worry of losing any important files.
  • I then loaded copies of all of my personal files from my laptop onto the test computer; these files included regular files, folders, documents, and photos that are important to me.
  • I then used the GFI Backup software to back up my complete inventory of personal files, data files, and registry.

After I finished with the backup, which I stored on a removable drive, I went back into the system and completed the following actions:

  • I deleted all of my personal files — including data files.
  • I went into the registry and changed 10 registry key values (none of the registry keys were for Microsoft software).
  • I cleared the recycle bin.
  • Last, I uninstalled one program from the system, as a test, to see if the restore process would reinstall the program while maintaining the program’s integrity.

After these steps were taken and the restore was completed, I rebooted the system. I am happy to report that after all of these steps were completed, all 10 of the registry keys were repaired, all my files and data were returned to their original location, and the program I had uninstalled was backed up and functioning without a problem.

While I am quite happy with this particular backup software, I am sure that there are other free backup software programs out there that will provide the same satisfactory results.

Still, having used the GFI Backup software, I would suggest that you give it a try; here are the reasons I would recommend it:

  • Ease of use. This alone makes this free software very attractive.
  • Easy backup and restore features with minimal user intervention.
  • Last but not least, it works.

What backup program do you use? Please share your thoughts with us and tell us why you use the software you do.

Comments welcome.

Screenshots are from my personal computer.

CC licensed Flickr photo of hard drive above shared by blakespot.

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • Joe Izzard

    Great, Might look into it further. Cheers!

  • Karl Entner

    I would also suggest for those who also have a tape back up as another way of backing up their stuff to go that way as well. I have a tape back up that I have been using for years as well over here. a 12/24gig tape back up SCSI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1044225253 Mohamed Sherif

    duh just use dvds, burn your data ppl !

    • Lisandro

      Yeah, sure, I have to buy enough DVD’s for a 750gb backup ¬¬ DVD’s are useless, can’t update the info, are slow, expensive, etc.

    • http://twitter.com/Mathew30 Mathew Lisett

      hmm, are you still back in 2003. if somebody had a 2TB drive it would take 455 DVD’s to back everything up. and even then just like hard drives, dvd’s are even worse at getting damaged and losing data .

  • http://www.mikeseth.ca/ Mike Seth

    What about one for Mac? Time Machine doesn’t work with Windows Home Server 2011. 

    :|

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688046780 facebook-688046780

    The best backup is the one you use.

  • Jonathan Wakeman

    I use the automatic backup serves Time Machine because I set it up when I first got my computer and never bothered to change. I am tough looking for a good cloud backup to keep my data safe.

  • Ian Singleton

    I find the one that comes with Windows the best I have restored my PC many times with it using the image function. But it tends to get confused and stop working if it can’t find a certain file for example I deleted one file and put it in the trash and Windows back up kept failing because it couldn’t find this file.  I have also used Macrium Reflect which is pretty good for free it has the option to create a rescue disk which is handy

  • Drcard Dana

    Look at ShadowProtect.  Does all the others do and much more.  It allows you to load the image as a Virtual PC on a different PC than you original made the image from (even different OS versions).  It’s migration software supplies the necessary drivers to allow the image to run on another PC and even modify the old image file.   Thus, an image of an old XP with an old program that does not run on your new Win 7 PC can be ran and files updates as virtual PC on your new Win 7 system.   User settings for number of backup sets to keep and thus self maintains the backup sets.  Totally adjustable on how often to make incrementials and between what hours fo the day.  Truley a set and forget program.

  • http://twitter.com/DES_Toronto Schreiber

    I’ve looked at a lot of backup software and haven’t quite found exactly what I need. Currently I use Windows 7 Backup and Restore to back up my OS and C drive, on the recommendation of Fred Langa (Windows Secrets newsletter). I also use Acronis. Finally, I used Karenware’s Replicator to do file-by-file backups of important data files–no compression, just straighforward copies. Replicator is nice and quite simple.

    The missing option I’d like to have in a backup application is the ability to back up a main folder but exclude one of the subfolders. I haven’t seen that yet. I’ll have a look at GFI Backup to see if it is an improvement on any of my current programs.

    The trick, though, is not in finding the right software but in remembering to be consistent about doing backups. I once bought a wireless backup device that was supposed to automatically make copies of files from your hard drive to the external device in another part of the house wirelessly whenever your system was not busy. A great idea, but it didn’t quite work for me.

  • http://twitter.com/Gordon_Keenan Gordon Keenan

    You do know that GFI have dropped GFI Backup from their product range and will honour support paid for until it expires. After that, you stick with what you have or move on to something else.
    The FREE edition will still be around I believe.