PROS / It had the fastest backup and restore speeds in our tests.
CONS / The compression rate wasn't impressive.
VERDICT / NovaBACKUP is the best data backup software in our review because it's exceptionally easy to use for everyone and it has the fastest backup and restore speeds.
Developed by Novastor, NovaBACKUP is meant to be the "backup for the rest of us." This slogan clearly supports the sentiment that many PC backup apps are designed for IT experts. Still, many apps claim to be the easiest but produce an overly complicated app. NovaBACKUP is not one of these apps. From the perspective of a novice user, this is one of easiest apps to use. In addition, the backup and restore speeds were the fastest in our tests, despite average compression and CPU usage. For these reasons, it earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best PC backup software.
For our comparative review of PC backup software, we installed each app onto the same computer and then ran multiple rounds of backup and restore sets using the same data with each product. In this way, while you might experience different results on your computer, our results are comparative. We recorded the speed, compression and CPU usage. We also evaluated the ease of use from the perspective of a novice user, because the best PC backup software should be designed for anyone with a computer, not just the computer savvy.
For the backup process, NovaBACKUP receive an A-minus for ease of use. There are as few as three steps to the process with no options provided in these steps. This means there is little room for user error. You can access the settings to customize compression and encryption settings prior to starting a backup set, but these aren't presented to the user.
The one issue that kept this app from receiving a perfect grade was the two times it crashed. This could have been the result of user error or the test computer, which is doubtful. We're not sure what caused the app to crash, but it's certainly something to think about it.
The backup speed was the fastest in our tests, receiving the only A grade. The app backed up data at a rate of 1.53GB per minute. This speed includes backup sets run with compression, without compression, with encryption and without encryption, though it clearly performed faster with no compression and no encryption. If you were backing up 1TB of data at this rate, it would take less than 11 hours. By comparison, the average speed in our tests would complete the same backup in almost 20 hours and the slowest would take several days.
The compression rate and the CPU usage was just average, receiving a C-minus and C-plus respectively. While these are indications of performance, they aren't nearly as important as backup speed and ease of use.
Compression is only necessary if you're backing up a lot of data and you need to save as much space on the external drive as possible, and CPU usage only matters when you're trying to multitask while backing up. Most people run backup sets at night or when they plan on not using the computer, so the average CPU usage isn't a major concern.
NovaBACKUP has the easiest restore process in our review with the fewest steps and very little room for user error. Novastor clearly want this app to be used by everyone, which is refreshing, because backing up your computer is something that everyone who owns a computer should get into the habit of doing.
This app was also the fastest at restoring data, and it wasn't even close. NovaBACKUP restored data at a rate of 2.53GB per minute, which was 320MB faster than the second-fastest restore speed. To put this into perspective, if you restore 1TB of data at this speed, it would take only 6.5 hours. By comparison, the average PC backup software would restore the same data in almost 16 hours.
The CPU usage during the restore process was much better than in the backup process, receiving a B. The app used an average of 21.05 percent of our CPU, which isn't spectacular but is still significantly above average. Still, as with the backup process, this is a minor concern since you're unlikely to be using other programs while you restore data.
While NovaBACKUP has a simple and elegant design that's easy for anyone to use, it doesn't lack the flexibility of other apps. This PC backup app is full of advanced features, which makes it an ideal choice for IT managers. The backup schemes include full, incremental and differential backups.
A rescue media tool allows you to create bootable media that will get your computer up and running if it won't boot. You can also create full system images, disk images and partition images. It even has cloud storage integration so that your data is protected off-site if you want.
For protection, the app offers four encryption options, including Blowfish encryption. This is more than most apps. Multiple encryption options are important because it allows you to customize the protection to the performance you want. For example, a high encryption level means you'll have a slower backup speed, so you may not want to back up everything at that level. If you had only one option, you'd have to choose between protecting your data and leaving it unprotected.
Help & Support
Although NovaBACKUP is an easy PC backup app to operate, you may still encounter the occasional question about how to perform a specific task or run into issues. For this reason, the program has comprehensive help and support that begins with a rich online knowledgebase. The product website even has training webinars to help you install and operate NovaBACKUP.
The company provides direct support by email, phone and live chat and can even provide an IT expert to help you. However, phone and email support are only available for the first year. After the first year, you have to pay a fee for support.
NovaBACKUP is the best PC backup software because it's both easy to use and fast – you won't find many PC backup apps that are this easy to use and this fast. It was the fastest app in our backup and restore tests, though the CPU usage and compression were just average. When you combine the ease of use and speed with the long list of advanced features, this is clearly one of the most versatile PC backup solutions available.