Review of NovaStor NovaBackup

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Background

NovaStor is a California company with 15 years experience in providing backup solutions. NovaBackup 7.0 itself, is  a very ambitious product that tries hard to be everything to everybody and surprisingly, it almost succeeds.

Usage

The cluttered opening welcome screen  is not the last word in user friendliness but after scanning all the possibilities, it soon becomes clear that the program offers the choice of a backup wizard or manual configuration of settings.

The wizard will be the option selected by most first time users but unfortunately it is close to impossible to get the program to do what you want it to using the wizard interface alone.  Really you need  to configure your global settings first and then run the wizard, but it's not at all obvious. 

Another item that might confuse a beginner is the definition of the  backup sets.  The setup screen is cluttered and worse still, the program does not even bother to explain the concept of backup set.

You can make four different types of backups with this program- Full, Incremental, Differential, and ‘Snap Shot’. Once the backup set is defined, you get your choice of running the set immediately or at a scheduled time.

The program will back up to almost any destination you can imagine, including CD, CD-RW, DVD, network drives, network attached storage, and even tape drives. It’s worth noting that it records CD-R’s without pre-formatting.

This program has a dizzying array of features and options (available for setting under View/Global Settings). You can set the backup type, virus scanning options, encryption of the data, how to handle the logs, which files to ignore (the program comes with a default list), and any custom programs you’d like to run before or after the backup, such as  a  drive defragmenter.

While useful to the advanced user, many of these options would be daunting to a beginner who would be best advised to stick with the backup wizard. 

NovaBackup comes with a copy of InstantRecovery Personal, which makes a drive image of your boot volume, so that you can create a disaster recovery file. This is a real plus. I’ve always used a separate program to make drive images, but having that ability in your normal backup software can save time and effort.

A second bonus is that this is the only program we found that had built-in virus scanning. No, we don’t mean that it’s able to take advantage of Norton Anti-Virus or whatever flavor tool you have installed Instead, NovaStor wrote their own virus scanner that will scan your files as they’re being backed up.  I have no idea of the quality of their virus scanner and will mainly be of value to those who don't have a virus scanner already installed.  Virus signature file updates are available for free online.

Performance

In this review we tested the more expensive Server version of NovaBackup. The only difference between this and the cheaper Workstation version is that the Server version will backup across a local network while the Workstation version won't.

In all our tests, NovaBackup backed up and restored our data flawlessly. It was a pleasure to use.

However NovaBackup's speed performance was towards the bottom of the test group on most  measures. It was the slowest to produce an uncompressed backup set and 2nd slowest compressed. It was also the slowest to restore data from a backup set.

Help & Support

NovaStor does very well in this department, providing phone support during business hours of 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Pacific Time), online website support, e-mail, and if all else fails, fax. There are also user forums available. The website has a clear and complete variety of FAQ’s about items like system requirements and hardware compatibility. We tried out their e-mail support and got replies within hours if the mail was sent during their business hours.

Summary

NovaBackup is a highly capable backup program with many extra features such as a virus scanner and the ability to create an image file of your boot disk drive. However the overly complex  user interface is likely to confuse many beginners. Price is also an issue with the workstation version at $79.95 and the server version at $149.95.  However they do offer competitive upgrades from other publishers’ backup programs, which is a very rare thing these days.

Features Table

Supported backup media Floppy, Zip, Jaz, hard disk, network drive, CD-R,
  CD-RW, DVD-R/W, DVD+R/W, tape
Backup modes Full, differential, incremental
Maximum backup file size Limited only by the file system
Backup file format Proprietary
Can verify backup accuracy Yes
Can backup email files Only by specifying exact file name and location
Can backup Favorites Only by specifying exact file name and location
Can backup Win Desktop Only by specifying exact file name and location
Can backup Win registry Yes
Can encrypt backup Yes
Can restore individual files Yes
Compression options Uncompressed, compressed
Backup time taken 1'43" with no compression (slowest in test group)
  4'45" at max compression (2nd slowest in test group)
Backup file size 442MB at max compression (3rd largest)
Restore time taken 2'10" at max compression (slowest)
Windows versions supported 9X, ME, XT, 2000, XP
Support options Help file, online FAQ , forum and webform
Support duration Unlimited
Upgrade policy Minor point upgrades via built-in update function

Version tested: Nova Backup 7 Server Version

Price: $79.95 for workstation edition, $149.95 for server edition.

Buy:  Click here for purchase details

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