capsule review

Roxio BackOnTrack 3 Suite Backup Software

At a Glance
  • Roxio BackOnTrack 3 Suite

    PCWorld Rating

    Decent backup app isn't on a par with its competition.

Roxio's BackOnTrack 3 Suite is an easy-to-use albeit limited backup program that employs a three-pronged approach to data protection: It replaces Windows' System Restore with its own Instant Restore, it images entire drives for disaster recovery, and it backs up individual files and folders.

The Instant Restore module saves information much as System Restore does, but restoring occurs through a separate Windows PE (Pre-install Edition) OS that BackOnTrack installs--handy in case you can't boot into normal Windows. Unfortunately, it also means that whenever you start up your PC you have an OS-selection menu to wait on (it times out in 8 seconds) or click through. Instant Restore isn't compatible with System Restore and turns it off. This wouldn't be a bad thing, except that Instant Restore, while schedulable, lacks one of System Restore's best features: It doesn't hook into the OS, so when you install a new program, it doesn't set a restore point automatically.

The program's disaster recovery drive-imaging feature, which includes boot-CD creation, is effective if used sparingly. Since it backs up only entire drives (you may restore files individually) instead of individual partitions, and since it doesn't offer incremental backups, users with lots of data may quickly find their backup media overflowing. The individual file and folder backup portion of the program is straightforward, allowing either plain file copying or compressing everything into a single file. You can password-protect the compressed file if you desire, though you can't schedule imaging.

I have one other, minor complaint with the BackOnTrack 3 Suite: the annoying advertising for Roxio's products on the home screen, which I could not turn off. Beyond that, the suite can be effective for users with moderate amounts of data, but it's no match for same-priced competitors Acronis True Image Home and Norton Save & Restore.

--Jon L. Jacobi

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Decent backup app isn't on a par with its competition.

    Pros

    • Restores system when Windows won't boot
    • Easy to use

    Cons

    • Lacks System Restore's OS hooks
    • Won't create incremental disk images
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