Reviewed by: Howard Carson, send e-mail

Published by: LIUtilities, go to the web site
Requires: 400MHz Intel or AMD compatible processor, 32MB RAM, 2x CD-ROM drive, Windows 98/Me/NT/2000/XP, 2MB free disk space
MSRP: US$29.95

WinBackup is designed to make it easy to perform regular backups of all or selected data on your computer. The software is built around some of the latest data encryption techniques in order to not only make reliable backups but keep them secure as well. WinBackup also features one of the more intuitive user interfaces in this class of software and seems to make even some of the more advanced features more usable.

We chant the backup mantra at Kickstartnews. Every week, we receive an e-mail from some poor soul whose hard drive died in mid-sentence. The main 'plaint is always "can I still get my files off the drive - there's 6 months worth of work that I never backed up!!" Often, the valuable data is lost forever (you should listen to the resulting screaming and crying). Occasionally the data is salvageable by one of the data recovery software tools currently available. We always make the same statement:

". . . in return for taking half an hour each week to execute and supervise data backups or create drive images or simply copy valuable files to removable media you could have peace of mind knowing that your computer can be stolen by thieves, wrecked by vandals, drenched in water, accidentally knocked over, dropped, burned or vaporized by alien space beams but your data will be safely tucked away."

So what distinguishes WinBackup from the other backup solutions out there? First and foremost, making selections about what to back up, how often to backup and where to backup to are all obvious and easy. The interface is clean and well considered - with none of the cryptic terms found in some other backup utilities. Backups can be scheduled to run at convenient times, data can be incrementally backed up (only the newest files and old files which have changed because of editing), and the backed up data can be written to another hard drive, another partition, CD-R, DVD-R/+R, Zip, Jaz and so on. WinBackup will also span data across multiple disks in case the data is simply too large to be contained on one CD or DVD. We encountered no problems doing a backup of 8GB of data to several CD-R disks - when a disk was full, WinBackup waited patiently until we put a fresh CD-R in the drive, then continued the backup process.

Cons: Outlook data was not always backed up - a problem for most backup utilities. You have to go into Windows Task Manager and terminate the background process for Outlook prior to starting a backup. The file verification process failed while backing up a badly fragmented workstation hard drive. As usual, we don't recommend backing up to CD-R if you're using an older computer (pre Pentium II) or an older CD-R drive without buffer underrun protection.

Pros: Powerful and secure. You can compress and encrypt (128 or 256-bit) your backup data and password protect everything against unauthorized access. Backups can be scheduled for different times and the program runs very well in the background. It backs up to CD-R or recordable DVD, utilizes compression to save space and keeps detailed logs of what it does. We're big fans of LIUtilities' products and WinBackup is another winner in their lineup. Highly recommended.

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