Uniblue WinBackup 2.0 Standard
At a Glance
Uniblue WinBackup 2.0 Standard's interface does a fine job of balancing power and ease of use. The step-by-step buttons atop the main window let you easily access each part of the backup process, but they don't constrain you to a linear workflow once you're up to speed. Handy shortcuts quickly back up the settings and data for common applications such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Outlook Express. Regrettably, the bitmaps that give the interface its friendly look are improperly spaced and overlap if you use Windows' 120-dpi/large-font mode.
The $50 (as of 5/25/06) program includes a nice flash tutorial embedded in the help file that aids new users in getting comfortable, but Uniblue should eliminate minor interface drudgeries such as having to type in common file extensions for filtering files and file-split sizes.
The 2.1.2 version of WinBackup that I tested operated and performed solidly for the most part. It stalled once during a backup to a rewritable DVD that already contained another backup, and it performed slowly when copying our Windows installation to a network-attached storage unit. The most likely cause: Without the company's $40 Open File Manager add-on, the program had to spend extra time dealing with the open files in our tests. With OFM, the app's performance was up to par.
Both Uniblue's online support and the WinBackup documentation are excellent--a good thing since the company is located in Malta and there's no free telephone support (although a number is listed).
Alas, WinBackup's lack of disaster recovery and its inability to back up open files without a $40 add-on forces its score downward a bit, and the program omits support for tape drives and differential backup, as well. Uniblue also offers a $70 (as of 5/25/06) Professional version with heavier-duty 256-bit AES encryption (versus the Standard edition's 128-bit) and the ability to shut down after a backup.
Jon L. Jacobi