NTI Backup 5 Advanced
Backup 5 Advanced uses the same impressively intuitive interface that has been its trademark for several years, with the more polished look that was introduced with version 5 last year. The step-by-step buttons on the left and the relevant options and selectors on the right are the perfect blend of easy-to-learn and easy-to-use. Many wizard-like interfaces get in the way once you know them, this one doesn't.
The imaging module includes adjustments for compression level, encryption, and verification. You can get more granular with your tweaks for Backup 5 Advanced's file-based and CDP backup. For CDP, you can back up by filter or location (choose a directory), as well as back up your "profile", i.e., e-mail, desktop settings, address book, Outlook .pst file and the like. All three types of backup can be scheduled at any time, and you may instruct the PC to go into standby, hibernation or power-down modes after a job completes. You can also have the program notify you by e-mail upon the completion (or failure) of a job, though it lacks a provision for running programs before and after a job.
Broadly speaking, NTI Backup 5 Advanced worked extremely well for me. Its backups were flawless; however, I had a couple of minor operational gripes. To back up to a network location, I had to first map the destination as a drive within Windows Explorer--a rather odd approach considering the program allows you to select an FTP site as your backup destination. Also, while you can schedule daily backups, you can't set them to run on alternate weeks to different media as you can with Retrospect. I discovered a very minor bug where the drive-based backup wouldn't show the drives on my system while an internal 100MB IDE Zip drive was attached. This was most like a conflict with the ASPI layer used by NTI for low-level drive access.
Backup 5 Advanced is the first NTI backup product I can wholeheartedly recommend: It's a solid, reliable performer, its file-based backup is more-than-adequate for typical use, and it offers CDP and imaging as well. Alas, at $70 it's twenty dollars more than NovaBackup 10, a nearly-as-friendly and more powerful product.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you must register to download the software.
--Jon L. Jacobi