How to choose the best backup software

By:    Updated: February 9,2017

We can find all of the best backup software programs include a number of features essential to protect your computer and data. First and foremost is the ability to perform full, incremental and differential backup. All of the data backup software programs can be divided into three types of backup: Full backups save everything, including files, folders and applications; Incremental backups only preserve the data that has changed since the last incremental backup. Differential backups save bigger chunks, while incremental backups are smaller and quicker; Differential backups only save the files that have changed since the last full backup.  Each of these is vital to your ability to recover in the event of a crashed computer or wiped out data.


Of additional importance is the ability to back up individual files and folders, as well as the ability to back up files that may be open and running in some applications. They also all share the ability to perform data compression, which shrinks the amount of space needed for a backup. Additionally, the ability to restore individual files and folders, and to restore data to separate locations, is the presence of customized backup scheduling tools.


In addition to these critical and common functions, the following criteria may help you determine which program will offer you the best overall performance:

Backup Features

The backup solutions that come with a diversity of functions, including the ability to perform a complete system backup, or a clone of your drive. This is also known as an image backup that you can use to restore the entire contents of your computer to dissimilar hardware, which you may have to do if your computer dies or becomes irreparably damaged due to mechanical failure or a nasty virus.


Other useful functions to look for include the ability to create a bootable backup, selective backup of just the files and folders you specify, and in-built virus scanning to stave off malware attacks. Drive spanning is another useful feature that lets you back up your whole system across a handful of removable media, such as CDs or DVDs. Backup wizards are also extremely helpful, as they walk you through complex processes to ensure your critical data is backed up properly.


This criterion may include Registry Backup(back up the registry settings), Complete System Backup (backs up the entire hard drive, including the operating system, registry, drivers, software applications and data files), Backup Wizard, Cloud Storage (compatible with storing data to the cloud), Backup Verification, Create Bootable Backup (make your backup bootable), Backup Scripting (the codes that run specialized data backups), File Filtering (allow you to include and exclude certain files or file types from your backup), Backup Password Encryption, Virus Scanning (scan your data and backups for viruses), ...

Recover and Restore

Having the ability to easily restore lost data is just as important as having the ability to back it up in the first place. Look for data backup software that not only preserves all of the original data files and paths, but that can also restore all of that information automatically. You should also be able to restore individual files and folders. The ability to do so to a separate location, like another computer, is also important – as is the software's ability to restore files that are universally viewable, meaning you won't need to launch the backup program to access them.


This criterion may include Restore File Paths (restore original file paths even if the backup is restored to a different location), Restores Hard Drive Images (allows you to restore your entire system using a backed up hard drive image), ...

Scheduling and Reporting

As a small business owner, you want to ensure that the data backup software you purchase has the ability to run reports and send you notifications to confirm your vital data has been safely backed up. The best backup software lets you schedule when backups occur so that you don't bog down your computer with heavy tasks during business hours. Some software also can be set to send you email notifications of backups performed, in addition to giving you a detailed event log. Backup software programs with remote scheduling capabilities let you administrate your account and run backups when you're not physically in your home office.


This criterion may include Event Logs (view all previous backup activity), Email Notifications (receive email notifications alerting you of previous backup activity), Remote Scheduling (schedule the software from a remote location), ...

Help and Support

Excellent support options are necessary to provide you with answers to questions or solutions to issues that may arise when running complex tasks. The best backup software providers may offer the greatest number of support options, including an online knowledgebase and FAQs. The best backup software programs also come with the greatest number of options for speaking to someone directly, including email, live chat and telephone support.


This criterion may include FAQs (A list of responses to frequently asked questions is available on the manufacturer's website), knowledgebase (A searchable page or forum of user knowledge, shared concerns and ideas), Telephone/Email/Live Chat, ...


Conclusion: When the successful operation of your home business relies on the performance of your computer, investing in a high-quality data backup software program is imperative. It can help you get back up and running if you experience computer failure due to corrupted data, viruses or mechanical wear and tear.

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