Review – NTI BackupNow

Background  

New Tech Infosystems (“NTI”) was founded in 1993 and has specialized in software for CD and DVD recording. Apart from BackupNow!, NTI produces a number of other well regarded products including a CD burner.

Usage

BackupNow!’s  user interface is a model of clarity.  It features numbered steps to guide you through creating a backup job and plenty of dialog boxes to gently guide you back to the true path if you stray. Here’s the main program window:

It gives you a clear path to the result you’re after, allows you to change whatever options you need to change at the moment, then gets out of your way while the program does its thing.  Each step in a backup or restore has its own lighted button in the list that represents the particular job you’re running. The program moves you towards the next step without giving you the impression that it’s pushing you. It’s a shame that more companies don’t follow this model.

Restoring a backup follow the same simple 1-2-3 formula. Click here for the screenshot. Again the screens are all separate and again have clearly numbered steps for each operation.

It may sound simple and obvious, but BackupNow! was the only program we looked at that we would rate as having a totally intuitive interface.

BackupNow! does not provide explicit settings to allow you to backup your email, Windows Registry, Desktop, Favorites and other system settings. To back up these items you need to know where the appropriate files are located on your PC. If you don’t know this, and haven’t the means to find out, you may want to consider other products such as Genie which provide simple tick boxes to back up these items.

Worthy of note are a number of special features:

  • The full version of BackupNow! includes a full drive/partition backup program that will handle open files, including the Windows registry. It is capable of actually spanningdrives as opposed to disk spanning. That means you may be able to do an unattended backup of a larger volume to removable media.
  • It can create bootable rescue media for use in disaster recovery.
  • It’s capable of actually resuming an interrupted backup.

That’s quite a list of features and it’s unmatched by any other program I could find.

Performance

Once I had the right options checked, backups and restores completed without problems, whatsoever.  It just worked as you would expect. No glitches, no holdups nothing.

However BackupNow! was one of the slower performers in this survey for both the time taken to create backups and the time to restore. It was not the generally the slowest but it was no speed demon either.

There is a partial explanation for this slowness;  when used at maximum compression BackupNow! produced the smallest backup sets of any product. This degree of compression uses a lot of processing power and this slows down the process. On the other hand, you are rewarded with more compact backup sets.

It’s worthwhile noting that this is one of the few programs that will backup your data to unformatted CD-R’s. Simply slip the blank disc into your drive and the program will take you to a small dialog that lets you pick any options you want to use for the drive. I found that on my system, the proper option was ‘packet writing’. Once I had that set, the backup proceeded to a successful conclusion in short order.

Help & Support

This program offers a good Windows help file, online FAQ’s, hardware compatibility list, and online access to tech support queries for registered owners of the software. There did not seem to be any way to contact them via e-mail or phone. I wish that the company did have more contact options, but I have a hard time believing that you’ll ever need more help than can be supplied by a quick trip to the included help file.

Summary

BackupNow! has the best user interface of any of the programs we tested. Its simplicity means that even beginners will be able to back up effortlessly. But don’t think BackupNow is a basic program. To the contrary, it has so many features that it will meet the needs of many advanced computer users as well. It’s only real weaknesses are the lack of encryption for backup data sets and the lack of a simple means to allow novice users to backup their email data.

Advertisements