Paragon Drive Backup 7
Making a backup of your computer's hard drive is one of those chores we know we should carry out on a regular basis but never seem to get around too. No matter how many times we hear the alarm bells ringing from friends and colleagues, it's not until you have a failure that you curse your devil-may-care attitude and wished you'd bought something to help you.
Considering that it's available as a download for a mere £30, it's a small price to pay for looking after your data. As you'll no doubt have guessed by the name this is the seventh iteration of the software and does exactly as it suggests. Essentially, it allows you to create an image of your existing hard disk and store it in case you need to re-install the image. This can also be useful if you're thinking up upgrading to a larger primary hard drive, as you can simply copy the image onto your new disk bypassing the need to re-install Windows from scratch.
If you're thinking of using it to move over to a new drive, you'll even be able to change partition sizes on the go, without having to resort to any other application. This is a neat trick that will certainly save time upgrading.
Another neat little tool is the encryption feature, which allows you to encrypt the image, so should someone come across it they won't be able to get at your data, ideal if you're a sole trader or small business and want to keep records private.
If you're worried about where to back the data up to, the program now allows you to create an image directly to disc, so saving you the time of having to do it later. This may seem a trivial matter but when we were trying the package out it really did improve the overall experience.
Less impressive is the actual user-interface, which isn't novice friendly and may out those of a nervous disposition off ever using it. However, persevere, as this is an essential tool and one that most people should have on their machine.
If you opt for the boxed edition, along with Drive Backup you'll also get a copy of Easy CD/DVD recorder, which as the name suggests is a disc copying solution that works fine but if you've already got burning software then there isn't any real interest in this tool as it doesn't have the flexibility of either Roxio or Ahead products.
Sadly, the same can be said for another application that is bundled with it; Image Explorer. This is a simple tool that allows you to search out specific files in any images you make of your computer's drive. It's of interest but to be honest, unless you have a full system failure and need to search out one lonely file, it'll hardly be used.