At a Glance
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While the $50 NovaBackup 10 (price as of 7/15/2008) has many major changes under the hood, the obvious improvement to this package is its infinitely friendlier user interface. The new interface mimics one of the best, Microsoft Office 2007 with its big button file menu. And perhaps even more importantly, NovaBackup's layout and workflow are immaculate--a rarity among the comprehensive backup applications NovaBackup competes against.
Another huge improvement is the addition of disk imaging--backing up drives and partitions in their entirety. Seeing as version 10 marked NovaStor's initial attempt at doing disk imaging, I was expecting a primitive first-time solution; but NovaBackup's implementation, courtesy of Farstone is more than adequate for most users, and will likely satisfy many professional users.
You can back up and restore entire drives or single partitions, restore individual files and folders, and even search within individual images once you mount them as a Windows drive letter.
I enjoyed my hands-on with NovaBackup 10 tremendously--especially the seamless integration of online backup storage. If you have an Amazon S3 or NovaStor's Digistor, simply add the service as a device, enter your user info, and you can then select it as the destination for any of your backups. Not that the backup clients for other online services are bad, but using NovaBackup's advanced options and GUI simply make it that much easier. It also allows you to apply the same settings to your local backups so you?re always sure you have everything backed up to each location.
NovaBackup includes a free, one-year, 2GB DigiStor account. You need to provide credit card information; however, the account will be cancelled, not automatically renewed if you don?t want to keep it.
NovaStor claims that it's reworked many of NovaBackup's internal routines so that backups transpire faster. In my hands-on testing, backups of every kind were as quick or quicker as the competition?s, but the program itself was a bit slow to boot and the disaster recovery (imaging) module was especially slothful enumerating drives, taking up to thirty seconds to recognize them all. Due to a lack of a progress bar during the enumeration, the first time it occurred I was nearly convinced that the program was locked up. Blinking drive lights told me it wasn't, but the experience is just that slow.
As improved as NovaBackup's interface may be, the software still has a few rough spots. I was darned if I could figure out a way to save a script that I created using the backup wizard, which actually says ?Create a script to backup your data? (using backup as a verb is their mistake, not mine). Secondly, there were interface glitches when I used the disaster recovery module on my system with XP SP2 set to Large Size (120 DPI) display mode. Until I switched to Normal size (96 DPI), the module was unusable.
These glitches are easily fixed and NovaStor has promised quick fixes. Overall, the program is easy-to-use and highly capable--file-based backup, support for tape drives, open file backup, plain file backup and restore, seamless online backup, integrated antivirus scanning, and disk imaging--all for just $50, undercutting much of the competition by more than half.
--Jon L. Jacobi