Review: Handy Backup is plain, powerful, and easy to use

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Handy Backup Free

    PCWorld Rating

    Handy Backup should be on your shortlist of backup programs to check out.

Handy Backup is utilitarian in the best sense; it's a backup program with a no-nonsense interface and a boatload of features. Despite its plain countenance, one of its iterations is sure to appeal to IT types and smart consumers. I looked at Handy Backup Free, which is... free.

1. There's not a lot to look at, but there's power behind the Handy Backup grille.

Handy Backup Free is easy to use and lets you select files as well as repositories for backing up. Repositories are folders or accounts such as My Documents, an FTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, etc. It's a little odd to see the latter items listed under a backup list, but it's also nice. You can back up to and restore data from local drives, CD/DVD/BD, FTP, and across a network.

You create a backup, restore, or synch task in Handy Backup Home using step-by-step wizards. These are easy to use, and once a task has been defined you can edit all the options directly from a multiple-paned dialog. To skip the wizard, you can simply duplicate a task and edit the pertinent options. Said options include full, incremental, differential backups; compressing the backup to encrypted zip files; scheduling; and running tasks before or after a job.

Handy Backup also comes in $39 Home, $99 Professional, $199 Small Server, and $599 Server editions. Home is the latest 7.x version, while Pro adds disk imaging, backing up to SFTP servers, and ODBC database backup. The Small Server edition backs up numerous business and enterprise-level databases such as Microsoft Exchange data, Oracle, and more. The full Server version has all that plus the ability to back up multiple PCs to a central location.

Handy Backup's step-by-step wizard helps you through jobs.

About the only thing missing that I'd like to see in Handy Backup is support for Rsync, a backup and synchronization protocol used by many servers and NAS boxes. Aside from that, one or the other editions of the program should have all the features you need. I had an easy time with the program; it's lightweight it does the job, and it stays out of the way. What else could you ask for?

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page downloads the software from the vendor's site. The Handy Backup website can make downloading the proper version confusing. You need a serial to use the free version, which you can obtain from the developer. Also, the message to upgrade is for a trial of the home version. Ignore that message to continue using the free version.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Handy Backup should be on your shortlist of backup programs to check out.

    Pros

    • Easy to use
    • Multiple jobs
    • Automated

    Cons

    • No rsync support
    • Upgrading free version makes it a trial
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