- easy to use
- works with many types of backup devices
- anti-virus scans of backups.
- Not very flexible in determining what to backup
- unstable when trying to backup encrypted files.
Of all the backup products we looked at, NovaBackup works with the widest array of tape drives, CD burners and removable disks. It also includes its own anti-virus software, so you know that your saved files are uninfected. What's missing is a simple way of saving only the changed files -- something you'll find in Retrospect -- or the quick system recovery found in GoBack.
You can download a 30-day trial demo to test-drive the various features of this backup software; then you can buy the full version from NovaStor. NovaBackup is composed of three separate programs: NovaDisk+, NovaBack SCSI/EIDE and NovaBack QIC. You choose which program you need, depending on which tape drive or SCSI/EIDE device you're using.
The program download doesn't include a manual, which you must download separately. This 47-page PDF file is not quite as extensive as Retrospect's manual.
The overall backup procedure in NovaBackup is easier than Retrospect's. From the main screen, click the Select Files button. From the resulting directory tree, just choose the drives, folders and files you want to back up. Optional choices, such as incremental or Registry backups and the like, are handled from an Options dialogue box.
You can customise your backup procedures with NovaBackup. For example, if you need to back up only one important work file each day, NovaBackup lets you memorise the process for later use with the My Backup feature, so you don't have to repeat the selection steps.
NovaBackup expands that folder and file tree to let you pick all or some of the folders and files you want to restore. You can copy the restored files to a different location if you want -- important if you suspect a virus or other file corruption and need to compare a backed-up file with the current version.
During testing, we discovered that NovaDisk+ doesn't handle encrypted files on a Windows 2000 system at all well. Some long-forgotten encrypted files were included in our backup selection, and when NovaDisk+ found those, the computer locked up. Although the mouse and keyboard were still responsive, the Windows Task Manager couldn't kill off the programs. That left a sluggish computer requiring a reboot.
NovaBackup includes the optional capability of scanning your files for viruses during the backup process. None of the other backup products we've reviewed offers this feature. Unfortunately, the extra anti-virus protection may not be worth the effort; unless you back up multiple times a day, you still need regular anti-virus software to scan files received by email or over a network. This means you must keep two sets of anti-virus signatures current. Also, scanning for viruses during backup makes the entire process take a little longer.
Scheduling backups is easy with NovaBackup. An icon in your system tray lets you schedule backups for a convenient time, say, in the middle of the night when you don't need your PC. NovaBackup also comes with a set of handy utilities for tape drives. What it doesn't include, unfortunately, is a disaster recovery tool; that's available as a separate product called InstantRecovery. Similar to Norton Ghost, InstantRecovery makes a complete image of the hard drive -- perfect for recovering after a crash or when migrating to another computer.