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Nero BackItUp 2014 review - simple, no-frills backup software works well

Data backup may not be top of your list of utilities to spend money on, but that only means you have yet to lose data through hardware failure or theft. The ability to easily and regularly copy files from a PC or mobile device, if not a life-saver, certainly saves time and brain power, when the alternative is reconstructing it.

Nero's BackItUp 2014 aims to make backup a real no-brainer. In the application's basic form, a free download which comes with 5 GB of online storage, it's pretty much click and go. You select the files you want to back up and the destination, which can be a local drive, external USB drive, CD/DVD, network storage or online and away it goes.

If you want compression, encryption or automatic scheduled backup, you need to pay for one of the three Pro versions of the software. These provide 5 GB, 25 GB or unlimited online storage, as well as these extra functions. The unlimited offering really is that, as much storage as you need, as long as it's for personal use.

The scheduler enables you to quickly set up daily, weekly or monthly backups, or to copy continuously, which means a copy is made every time a file is changed.

The controls are very straightforward, many requiring just a simple click on an icon, which makes it an easy program to set up. For example, the different storage types, from local drive to online storage, are shown in a row across the screen, with an indication of their relative protection.

This is a program for backing up file sets, not creating system backups. There are no facilities to copy a complete drive, useful for reinstating a crashed system.

People who want more control of their backups may also find BackItUp 2014 frustrating. For example, it's not possible to create a rolling multi-set backup, with the oldest being wiped each time a new one is created. This gives extra security while limiting the overall size of the backup sets. It's something rival products, like Acronis True Image, can do. See also best backup software.

We've seen criticism of the online backup speed of the program, but this will also depend on the upload speed of your broadband link. As a test, we backed up 3.76 GB of mixed files over a satellite link, rated at 6 Mb/s upload.

It completed in just under 1 hour 50 minutes, which gives a transfer rate of 4.56 Mb/s, approaching the link's nominal limit.

After the initial backup, the software is intelligent enough to record changes only, so backups will then be a lot quicker. Data can be restored to the folders it came from and you can also access individual files within a backup from the original device; or any of up to five others, signed in to your BackItUp account. This means it can be used for file transfer to and from a mobile device, as well as from a PC.

We installed the free Android app on a Samsung Galaxy S III and could happily log into our account and view and download files from our test backup, or backup contacts, messages, music, photos and videos. There are apps for Mac and iOS, as well. (See all software reviews.)


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