15 free backup software tools put to test

Contents:

  1. General data table for 15 backup utilities
  2. Key backup software features comparison (table)
  3. Description, pros & cons, links for each utility
  4. Performance tests table

The importance of backup software for any business entity could not be stressed enough. Especially in our turbulent times. A variety of data backup tools are there to safeguard data on computers, mobile devices, data centers. In short, these tools backup and store the data on laptop or phone in case it is deleted by accident or failure.

We took 15 tools and put them under the microscope. They include both free backup software for private use and enterprise data backup tools for entire cloud servers, virtual machines and databases.

All of them work on Windows of course, while some are also compatible with MacOS and/or Linux, and many of these tools are totally free as well. You’ll see all the parameters and features compared, and then the table with performance test results. Let’s get on with it.  

Product License Pricing Platforms Languages Disk size Installation file size
Ace Backup 3 Free Free Windows 2 5.71 MB 4.5 MB
Acronis True Image 2019 30-day trial $99 Linux, Mac, Windows 14 436 MB 545 MB
Aomei Backupper Standard 4.6.0. Free $49 Windows 10 248 MB 114 MB
Areca Backup 7.5 Free Free Windows, Linux 16 6.2 MB 4.9 MB
Backup4All 7.4 30-day trial $49 Windows 26 154 MB 120 MB
BackUp Maker 7.3 Free Free Windows 11 17.02 MB 7.5 MB
Cobian Backup 11 Free Free Windows 16 36.9 MB 11.1 MB
EaseUS ToDo Backup Free 11.5 Free $31 Windows 11 589.3 MB 92.9 MB
FBackup 7.4 Free Free Windows 26 113 MB 82.1 MB
FileFort Backup 3.31 Free Free Windows, Mac 1 0.36 MB 0.36 MB
Freebyte Backup 3 Free Free Windows 1 0.44 MB 0.81 MB
Iperius Backup 5.8 Free Free Windows 12 75.9 MB 47.4 MB
Macrium Reflect Home Edition 7 30-day trial $69 Windows 9 166 MB 112 MB
NovaBackup 19.2 15-day trial $39 Windows 12 351 MB 354 MB
Paragon Backup & Recovery 17 Free $49 Windows, Mac 1 225 MB 138 MB

Backup software features

Backup management capabilities aren’t limited to setting up data disaster recovery. Scheduled backups obviously make life easier for users, and of course, there should be a restore option. All 15 tools reviewed provide both local and external storage options, while few of those also have storage in cloud.

With best backup software users typically are also able to choose specific file types to save. Data encryption options for backups, that some tools provide, is a top-level stuff. Find summary below.

Cloud storage Local storage External storage Backup encryption Scheduler Version control Create bootable restore device Sync between devices Sync with cloud
Ace Backup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Acronis True Image ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Aomei Backupper ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Areca Backup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Backup4All ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
BackUp Maker ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Cobian Backup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
EaseUS ToDo Backup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
FBackup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
FileFort Backup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Freebyte Backup ✔️ ✔️
Iperius Backup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Macrium Reflect ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
NovaBackup ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Paragon Backup & Recovery ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️

Best backup software tools

Now, a bit of information about file backup utilities – in alphabetical order, no preference. There are both proprietary tools with free trial and free tools among these fifteen. User ratings taken from Capterra and G2Crowd, pros and cons are based on our own experience while testing each program. One last thing to mention: types of data backup. A standard for backup tools is to offer one or all of the following types:

  • Full backup – a repository of a complete system image;
  • Incremental backup – partial backups made periodically after a full backup;
  • Differential backup – partial backups, saving only post-full-backup data for faster restoration.

1/15 Ace Backup 3

Vendor: AceBit, Germany. User rating: 4 / 5.
Free version:
yes, full. 1-year subscription: Free.

PC backup software 2018

Features: freeware, 5 different encryption algorithms, store data on FTP servers, scheduling, CD/DVD backup, ZIP compression of data.

Recommended to those who are serious about data reliability and need a powerful utility. Whether one wants to store files on FTP servers, locally (HDD, FDD, ZIP, JAZZ, MO, USB) or just burn it onto CD/DVD, AceBackup has it all. It can also be done manually or set up for automatic backups. Filter for file extensions and file types might become very handy when there are gigabytes of data.

  • Pros:
  • Good built-in backup protection
  • Easy backup creation
  • Low program size
  • Cons:
  • No cloud integration
  • No validation function
  • Does not create a bootable device

2/15 Acronis True Image 2019

Vendor: Acronis, Switzerland. User rating: 4.5 / 5.
Free version: 30-day trial. 1-year subscription: $50.   

data backup software

Features: scheduling, backup log, cloud storage option, data encryption, incremental and differential backups, restoration, detection of crypto mining malware.

In regards to setup and performance, the installer is large, the initial installer size of 545 MB might be troublesome, others may feel irritation over a long sign up process for trial. Though, we should focus on backup capabilities. For backups, first, a user has to specify the choice – a whole hard drive or specific files only. Then, a backup location (cloud, external drive, local folder). You may read lots of real user reviews at Amazon to learn more.

  • Pros:
  • Additional DriveCleaner tool
  • Big Cloud storage
  • Anti-ransomware tool
  • Cons:
  • Low protection level for backups
  • Quite pricey
  • Some tools not available from main menu

3/15 Aomei Backupper Standard 4.6.0

Vendor: AOMEI Technology, China. User rating: 4.3 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: $50.

backup and recovery software

Features: recovery and disk cloning to HDD/SSD, Aomei Professional 30-day free, data partition / volume backup, incremental and differential backups, event triggering for automatic backup, save to external drive, USB flash, SD card.

Based on our performance tests (see the bottom of the article), we can say this tool is one of the fastest in backing  disks and partitions on one hand, and quite not that fast in backing packs of files, on the other hand. It is light on CPU, and initiates only three processes in the background.

Few more things that deserve mentioning: number of devices and installations is unlimited, encryption and protection by password for backups, date and method of each backup visible upon restoration. Also, there are email notifications, i.e. a user will get a message about backup completion or failure, when it started and ended, its destination, etc. A user may split a backup into smaller pieces, create a bootable disc for further restore or cloning beyond Windows.

  • Pros:
  • System optimization tool
  • Backups merging tool
  • Built-in tutorials
  • Cons:
  • Does not create a bootable device
  • No cloud synchronization
  • No encryption of backup copies

4/15 Areca Backup 7.5

Vendor: Olivier Petrucci, France. User rating: 4.4 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: Free.

free backup software

Features: store on local/network drive, USB, FTP, SFTP server, file filtering by extension, directory, size, date, status, etc., history of user’s actions, file compression (ZIP), all 3 types of backups, archives merging.

This one is an open-source backup utility written in Java with the purpose of introducing a direct and easy free backup software tool. It supports all three types of backups, it is lightweight, and it also requires a Java runtime environment. Layout is plain: the left-hand sidebar with archives, the main window with tabs (archives, logical view, history, etc.), the command line on the right. Overall, a good package although not all features are properly working and sometimes the app crashes. So, we’d recommend Areca Backup for users with one PC and infrequent backup tasks.

  • Pros:
  • Automatic backup validation
  • Low file size
  • Detailed logs
  • Cons:
  • No tools for protecting backups
  • Slow performance
  • No cloud storage

5/15 Backup4All

Vendor: Softland, Romania. User rating: 5 / 5.
Free version: 30-day trial. 1-year subscription: $50.

Features: incremental backups, session logs and scheduling, cloud/local/remote storage options, compression, file encryption, multiple system support, version tracking, anti-ransomware tool, email notifications.

Backup4All comes in 4 versions: Lite, Standard, Professional and last but not least, Portable. Moreover, one can also save money by configuring specific feature of choice and paying for such soft of custom package, as well as try out a trial version of any of those editions before a purchase. In terms of backup destinations, this utility is pretty flexible – cloud options include Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, Azure, or local drives, FTP/SFTP, USB, etc.

  • Pros:
  • Automatic backup validation
  • Task-list based work window
  • Multiple types online storage
  • Cons:
  • Slow backup speed
  • Does not create a bootable device
  • Costly

6/15 BackUp Maker 7.3

Vendor: ASCOMP Software GmbH, Germany. User rating: 4.1 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. Professional edition: 25 Euro.

free pc backup tools

Features: compatible with Windows XP, Server, Vista, 7, 8, 10; ZIP compression of files, USB/CD/DVD/Web server storage, 256-bit AES encryption, splitting backups across different storage units, menu in 11 languages.

Worth noting, that Backup Maker does not copy and restore system images, it is only capable of backing up data and files, but it does it well. Standard version is a freeware with all features, it has 2 modes – a wizard mode (simpler one) and an expert mode. The latter mode offers more control, using 12-part sequence of actions, from data selection to destinations and scheduling settings. If one was to sum up this backup software in three facts, it would be: 1) Free for personal use, 2) German precision, 3) Intuitive step-by-step workflow.

  • Pros:
  • Laconic but functional menu
  • Detailed visual guides to create backups
  • Only backups, nothing excessive
  • Cons:
  • Does not have validation function
  • No cloud integration
  • Does not have backup scheduler

7/15 Cobian Backup 11

Vendor: Luis Cobian, Sweden. User rating: 3.9 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: Free.

best pc backup software tools

Features: acts only as a security copy, FTP backup to download/upload, 2 versions: app and service, several methods of compression, various types of scheduling, inclusions and exclusions.

Versatile, yet minimalist and easy, Cobian Backup is a free backup software for Windows written in Delphi. While installing it, a user select the language, installation type (probably needs additional explanation for median customers), adds a desktop icon and menu shortcut, or not.

In the app, left-hand menu contains main sections of settings for backup tasks. For example, in ‘Files’ one will see a source window and a destination window below it, to add or simply drag files from Windows Explorer. The main disadvantage to Cobian (not Cobain, incidentally) is lack of restore feature.

  • Pros:
  • Many additional tools
  • Task-list based work window
  • Low file size
  • Cons:
  • No cloud synchronization
  • No tools to protect backups
  • Does not have a restore option

8/15 EaseUS ToDo Backup 11.5

Vendor: Yiwo, China. User rating: 4.5 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: $31.

backup software

Features: full, incremental, differential backups; ToDo Backup business edition, Mac edition, automated scheduling, real-time backup reports, disk cloning, system cloning.

EaseUS is quite easy to navigate, with just 4 steps: choosing data to copy, destination, compression type and, finally,  the encryption level, and it is all set. It is fast (2.5 minutes to back up a 5GB file, and about the same to restore it), while also being light on CPU usage, meaning that it should not slow down your PC. Restoring data with this app is quite slow, and users report that often it fails and it takes few attempts to perform this task. But overall, EaseUS ToDo is a decent backup utility for Windows for an average user jobs.

  • Pros:
  • ‘File category inspector’ tool
  • Privacy protection tool
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Cons:
  • No sync between devices
  • Not able to create a protected local storage
  • No integration with cloud

9/15 FBackup 7.4

Vendor: Softland, Romania. User rating: 4.4 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: Free.

data backup tools Windows

Features: simple user-friendly backup wizard, free version for personal and commercial use, Google Drive and Dropbox support, protection against malware, different backup destinations available, ZIP compression.

A second product from the same Romanian vendor in our list, after Backup4All. So, unsurprisingly, the set of features and app design are quite similar. Nevertheless, FBackup is a free backup utility, unlike Backup4All that only comes as a trial for a paid version. It is also lighter and has proved to be swifter in performance when we’ve put it to the test.

Also, in addition to standard backup and restore features, it provides protection from ransomware and viruses like WannyCry. Finally, FBackup scores high user ratings, although our own experience tells that the speed with which it creates backups is slower than of competitors.

  • Pros:
  • Automatic backup validation
  • Compact and concise menu
  • Task-list based work window
  • Cons:
  • Low backup process speed
  • Some backup modes blocked
  • Does not create a bootable device

10/15 FileFort Backup 3.31

Vendor: NCH Software, USA. User rating: 4.1 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: Free.

data recovery software

Features: wide storage options (Google Docs, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Dropbox, FTP, USB, CD, DVD, hard drive, network drive), simple menu and navigation, scheduling, option to start automatic backup to USB drive when it plugs in, manual and automatic backups.

For full backups and incremental backups with a free tool consider FileFort, that truly deserves to be among the best backup software. How so? Check again features in the paragraph above – already impressive. User interface is elegant, tasks to-do apprehensive, a progress toolbar is visually handy too. Of course, one can not create a system image or perform disk cloning, but a free utility can’t do everything.

  • Pros:
  • Portable version available
  • Multiple backup destinations
  • Very low file size
  • Cons:
  • Does not have a validation function
  • Only for 64-bit Windows / Mac 10 and above
  • Does not create a bootable device

11/15 Freebyte Backup 3

Vendor: Freebytes, N/A. User rating: 3.9 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: Free.

backup software 64-bit windows

Features: incremental backup (only files not saved by the program), file type inclusions and exclusions, scheduling options, free for personal and corporate use, downloadable manual, works on Windows XP, Vista, 98.

Free but out-of-date backup tool introduced in 2012 and never upgraded afterwards. Honestly, we included Freebyte into the list as an exceptional case, and mostly for users seeking backup utilities that would work on Windows XP or Vista. Though it can only make backups, it showed good results in our test. It costs nothing, and now you’re warned about what it is, so please, don’t get all angry that someone on the Internet is wrong.

  • Pros:
  • Very low file size
  • Fast performance
  • Direct and simple UX
  • Cons:
  • Only incremental backups
  • No validation and restore
  • Outdated as of 2018

12/15 Iperius Backup 5.8 Free

Vendor: Enter Software, Italy. User rating: 4.5 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: Free.

backup software 32-bit windows

Features: incremental and differential backups, local and remote server options (+virtual machines), backup to NAS/RDX, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Azure Storage, OneDrive, Dropbox; data encryption, logs and scheduling, individual files restore option.

In addition to those multi-device storage options, this free Iperius Backup proves to be lightweight, portable and stable utility. Well-fit for home personal and professional use. Create whole drive images, transfer files via FTP, utilize VMware and unlimited ESXi hosts for networks, export Exchange Server mailboxes, safeguard files with AES encryption, copy locked files with ‘volume shadow copy’ (VSC) feature, etc. Such advanced editions range from 29 to 269 Euro, while basic backup tool is free. Thumbs up!

  • Pros:
  • Many specific restoring modes
  • Fast data backup creation
  • Various backup settings
  • Cons:
  • No full system restore
  • Complicated for average users
  • Doesn’t have a validation function

13/15 Macrium Reflect Home Edition 7

Vendor: Macrium Software, UK. User rating: 4.7 / 5.
Free version: 30-day trial. 1-year subscription: $70.

software for system backup

Features: live image of current Windows OS, direct disk cloning, encrypt backups, ‘bare metal’ restore option, ransomware protection, commercial use license.

Disk imaging software, cloning and backup solution – all in one utility for Windows. So Macrium Reflect offers users an option not only saving files/data, but an option to backup system image and, in case some bad things happen, to restore the system to a certain point back in time.

Interface will look like for advanced users at first, but as one performs few backup tasks, it won’t be a problem. Basically, there are three tabs (backup, restore, log) with sub-tabs inside. 30-day trial, we assume, is enough to decide whether one likes the program or not. Home Edition is a one-year license to use.

  • Pros:
  • Extensive guides and FAQs on task
  • Compatible with different file lists
  • Multi-functional scheduler
  • Cons:
  • No cloud integration
  • No tools to protect backups
  • Expensive price for subscription

14/15 NovaBackup 19.2

Vendor: NovaStor, Germany. User rating: 4.3 / 5.
Free version: 15-day trial. 1-year subscription: $40.

tools for data backups

Features: backup software for PC, laptop, server, network, cloud; USA support team, store on Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iDriveSync, SkyDrive, SafeSync; automatic shutdown feature (after backup is complete), system image recovery, special offers and tools for business.

This tool by German vendor is a local backup software, meaning that it can create file backups and system images on user’s local devices. Although it is only for Windows and interface most possibly will be hard to comprehend by a beginner, this app has enough aces up its sleeve. During our comparative tests NovaBackup proved to be one of the fastest in both aspects – copying files and retrieval. And it worked smoothly even on our ‘special pal’ test PC with 4GB RAM. All in all, the option it offers for backing up file, for verifying files, for scheduling, make it a solid contender.

  • Pros:
  • Convenient menu and file manager
  • Plenty of help materials and tutorials
  • Encryption while copying data
  • Cons:
  • No tools to protect backups
  • Advertisements inside
  • Does not have validation feature

15/15 Paragon Backup & Recovery 17

Vendor: Paragon Software Group, Germany. User rating: 4.8 / 5.
Free version: yes, full. 1-year subscription: $50.

top backup software

Features: disk backup types – incremental and differential, restore disk or partitions only in WinPE environment, 2.2 Terabytes hard disk drives, AFD, SSD, HDD, CD-R, DVD-R; compatible with multiple file systems, essential backup and restore features.

And we finish things up with yet another product of German high-quality engineering, Paragon Backup & Recovery, which has both free and paid editions. Free download version has all the basics, while the paid version delivers features like custom scheduling, choice of backup types, saving setting configurations, partitioning, etc. In terms of PC resources usage, it is light as it does not initiate additional background services like many other backup tools do. Overall, an above-decent product to consider.

  • Pros:
  • Create system image backups as on a hard drive
  • Lots of backup creation settings
  • Enough free and flexible solutions
  • Cons:
  • No cloud integration
  • No backup validation function
  • Requires licence check on every launch

Performance tests

For final and main comparison test of backup software we created a 5GB size archive with files. We measured two prime features times – time it took to create a 5Gb backup and time it took to restore that backup. In addition, we also measured time for backup validation in those programs that provide this feature.  

Iperius and Aomei ended up as the fastest for copying data, while FBackup and Acronis were the fastest to restore the entire archive. Find full comparison below. And of course, processing speed remains the matter of discussion in terms of relevance for backups as such.

*Performance tests Backup Restore Validation
Ace Backup 00:05:31 00:05:34 N/A
Acronis True Image 00:03:37 00:01:10 00:03:01
Aomei Backupper 00:02:55 00:02:53 00:01:28
Areca Backup 00:10:51 00:05:46 N/A
Backup4All 00:12:15 00:04:36 00:02:04
BackUp Maker 00:05:35 00:03:59 N/A
Cobian Backup 00:03:19 N/A N/A
EaseUS ToDo Backup 00:04:06 00:02:57 00:02:35
FBackup 00:11:03 00:01:51 00:03:20
FileFort Backup 00:09:33 00:02:55 N/A
Freebyte Backup 00:03:20 N/A N/A
Iperius Backup 00:02:52 N/A N/A
Macrium Reflect 00:03:44 00:02:45 00:01:12
NovaBackup 00:03:50 00:02:53 N/A
Paragon Backup & Recovery 00:04:30 N/A N/A

P.S. Might be also useful to visit PC optimization software.

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