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Pros / The backup and restore speeds are excellent.

Cons / In our testing, the backup process’s ease of use score was just average.

 Verdict / Macrium Reflect is a powerful PC backup app that processes and protects your data very quickly, but the interface poses some significant learning curves.

Developed by Paramount Software, Macrium Reflect is a PC backup solution loaded with advanced features for high-level tech users. While the interface is geared toward more advanced users, the overall backup and restore performance was excellent in our tests, though the compression rate was just average.

For our review of the best PC backup software, we ran multiple backup and restore sets on the same computer with each of the programs. We used the same test data for each app so all the results are directly comparable. In each test, we recorded the backup and restore speed and average CPU usage, and when testing backup performance, we also looked at the compression rate. In addition, we evaluated how easy each program is to use from the perspective of a novice by counting the number of steps in the backup and restore processes, as well as the number of options in each step and the organization of the interface.

Macrium Reflect received a C grade for ease of use during the backup process. It’s easy to see from the interface’s design that the app isn’t made for someone who has never backed up a computer before. The homepage displays the various disks, volumes and partitions under the Create a Backup tab, rather than focusing on backing up specific folders and files. This poses a significant learning curve for novices, as they’re unlikely to know what these terms mean, much less want to back up entire disks, volumes or partitions. That said, creating a backup set is relatively easy, though it takes about 11 steps. Users with advanced technical knowledge will likely prefer this design.

In contrast, the restore process received a B-plus for ease of use. While the backup process has many steps, the restore process has just four. There are some minor learning curves – additional options in the steps and an interface designed for an advanced user – but a novice can restore their files without much trouble.

Macrium Reflect’s best feature is its backup and restore performance. Both phases received an A-minus for speed. While the software wasn’t the fastest at processing data, it was close. In addition, it didn’t hog resources, receiving an above-average grade for CPU usage in both phases.

Only one facet of performance wasn’t stellar – the compression rate, which received a C grade. In our tests, it compressed data by just 1.25 percent on average. At this rate, it can only save about 12.5GB of storage when you back up 1TB of data. For comparison, the program with the best compression rate in our review could save over 96GB. This means it was average at best, though some of the apps we tested failed to compress data at all, so being average isn’t a terrible thing here. Also, it’s important to note that compression potential varies by file type, so it’s possible your results could be better or worse.

Macrium Reflect is loaded with advanced features. This isn’t surprising considering its low ease of use grades. Most of the program’s tools are beyond the scope a novice needs or can use, but there are some useful advanced features. For example, the app has three encryption levels. It also has incremental, differential and full-system backup schemes as automatic settings. Finally, it has a rescue media builder, which creates boot-up discs in case your system fails to start. The only advanced feature that’s missing is cloud storage integration.

  • Encryption Options
  • Backup Speed
  • Restore Speed
  • Average Compression Percentage
  1. This is the number of encryption options.
    More is Better.
  2. 5  Macrium Reflect
    3.0 Encryption Options
  3. 4.0 Encryption Options
  4. 3.0 Encryption Options
  5. 3  EaseUS
    1.0 Encryption Options
  6. Category Average
    2.7 Encryption Options

Summary

Macrium Reflect is a PC backup app that’s loaded with advanced features aimed at intermediate to advanced users with experience backing up data. Because of this, it didn’t receive high ease of use marks. However, the backup and restore speeds were excellent in our tests, and the CPU usage was better than average, though its compression rate wasn’t impressive.

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