Acronis True Image


More than ever these days, our data is digital. Gone are the days when we need a huge filing cabinet to store all our files, as they’re probably stored on our computer and easily searchable. 

However, that’s part of the problem. Having all your important files on a single device is a big risk, arguably even more so than keeping everything in physical form. If your PC or laptops ends up being lost, stolen or just isn’t working properly, this data could be lost forever. 

That’s where backup software comes in. Regularly making a copy of your files that’s stored in the cloud is vital to avoiding an unfortunate situation where you lose something that’s really important to you. Most services have been around for a few years and so have become extremely reliable and affordable

What to look for in backup software

Backup software falls into one of two basic categories; imaging or file-based. If you want to secure a computer so that it can be entirely rebuilt, with the OS and applications all installed, then you’ll need an imaging tool.

Alternatively, if all that concerns you is the data then a backup facility that targets files you create or modify is the perfect weapon of choice.

Imaging tools have to back up the entire hard drive of a system, every byte, and so you’ll need either a hard drive (internal or external) or a network drive – a NAS – with enough space to make a complete copy, and then hold any subsequent changes.

Conversely, file backups tend to be much smaller and require less additional storage. And with that reduced scale they can also be more easily backed up to cloud storage. Remember, though, that many cloud ‘drives’ – Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive – are not for backups. They’re more like a central place to store files which can be accessed from any device. If you delete a file from any device, it’s then deleted from the cloud and all your other devices. Instead, consider cloud backup services such as LiveDrive and Carbonite.

Also, some software is designed to back up cloud-stored data, allowing new files to be copied down to a PC or mobile device once they’re available online.

Choosing the right software is a process of deciding what type of backup you are interested in having and then making sure that you have a tool that provides the right functionality. If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, some of the more advanced applications offer both imaging and file backups.

What’s especially important is that the backup happens when it is appropriate. That it doesn’t interfere with you using your laptop or PC, and that in the event of a disaster the files are readily accessible.

If you’re looking to keep multiple devices secure, it’s also important to choose a service or plan that supports it. For especially sensitive files, look for some encryption options. 

Armed with this information you can choose the right strategy for you, and the appropriate backup application to execute that plan.

If you’re looking for backup software for Mac, you’ll find that on our sister site Macworld.

What’s the best backup software for Windows?

Acronis True Image

EaseUS Todo Backup Free

EaseUS Todo Backup Free

Paragon Backup & Recovery Home

Paragon Backup & Recovery

Ashampoo Backup Pro 15

Ashampoo Backup Pro 14

Bvckup 2

Bvckup 2

O&O AutoBackup 6

O&O AutoBackup

Backblaze

Backblaze

IDrive

iDrive

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