A look at Paragon Backup & Recovery Free for Windows
Paragon Backup & Recovery Free is a free backup program for Microsoft's Windows operating system. The program is available for all client versions of Windows that Microsoft supports but not for server versions of Windows or other operating systems.
Windows users have lots of choice when it comes to backup software. I picked Paragon Backup & Recovery for a number of reasons: it is compatible with Windows 10, supports differential and incremental backups, comes with restore options and environments, and is maintained by a company that has a good reputation and long standing history in the field.
Note: Paragon Backup & Recovery requires that you sign-in to an account. You can create a free account if you don't have one.
Paragon Backup & Recovery
You can download a 32-bit version or 64-bit version of the backup software from Paragon. The 64-bit version has a size of about 140 Megabytes; installation should not pose any difficulties as you don't make any meaningful decisions during setup.
When you start the program for the first time you are asked to sign-in to an account or create one. Once that is out of the way, you can configure the first backup job from the program's main interface.
It is real easy to set up new jobs but before you do, you may want to open the program settings to consider making one adjustment and creating recovery media.
A click on Recovery Media Builder displays two options to create recovery media. It is recommended that you create recovery media as you can boot using it to restore a backup if Windows fails to start or if the restoration from within Windows is not working properly. In fact, the only option you have to restore data is to boot into the recovery system that you create.
You can select to use the existing Windows image or an ADK. Select a Flash Drive with sufficient storage to proceed with the creation. The process deletes all data on the disk.
It is possible to add storage device drivers and network device drivers to the recovery media but those two options are optional. You may also configure network settings and network share settings during setup.
Now that all of this is out of the way, you can create your first backup using the software.
The backup process
Creating a new backup is simple. You click on the backup source icon and decide whether you want to back up the entire computer, disks or volumes, or files and folders.
Backup & Recovery displays a browser afterward. unless you select entire computer. The list of connected drives is displayed when you select Disks/Volumes. You can select one or multiple disks or volumes on the screen; these are highlighted with a orange border so that you know what is included in the backup and what is not.
The Files & Folders option works a bit different. The default option is to select files and folders manually. Backup & Recovery displays a tree view of all drives by default which you can expand to display folders and eventually the files they contain.
Select any folder or files you want to include in the backup. The other option you have is to select files by file type instead.
Backup & Recovery supports three presets by default to backup documents, music, or video files. You can add your own file types, e.g. programming related file extensions or executable files, and include those in the backup.
Once you have selected the file types you need to select the disks that you want Backup & Recovery to scan for the selected types.
You select the target for the backup in the next step. Backup & Recovery supports backing up data to local folders, external drives, or network locations. Options to create, rename, or delete folders are provided.
The software displays options after you select the source and destination for the backup. You don't need to make any changes here and can click on the back up now button to start the job right away.
The following options are provided:
- Schedule the backup so that it runs regularly, e.g. daily, monthly, or event-based.
- Change the backup type from full backup only to include incremental or differential jobs which reduces the space requirement but may increase the time it takes to recover.
- Select for how long you want backups to be kept (default forever) based on the number of days or backups, or until storage is full.
- Change the backup container type from Paragon Image (pvhd) to VMWare image, Microsoft Virtual PC image, or Microsoft Hyper-V image.
- Change the backup compression level.
- Set a password to protect the data.
- Split the backup into multiple files.
- Turn on volume raw processing to process partitions with unknown file systems using sector-by-sector copy. The software supports NTFS, ReFS, Fat16, Fat32, Linux Ext2FS, Ext3FS, Ext4FS, Linux Swap, Apple HFS+.
- Run external programs before or after backup.
- Enable integrity checks after backup jobs.
There is a lot to consider and some options apply only to some situations. If you have selected a partition with a file system that Paragon Backup & Recovery does not support, you need to enable volume raw processing for it to be backed up.
You can edit backup jobs at any time after creation to make modifications.
Backup & Recovery supports two different options when it comes to recovering backups. Both require that you boot into the WinPE environment that you hopefully have created during setup.
The first option allows you to recover an entire backup image to replace all data on a disk or partition with a backup copy. The second option offers a granular approach as it gives you the option to select individual files that you may restore using it.
Paragon Backup & Recovery is an easy to use backup program that supports all major features that you'd expect from such a solution. It is easy to create new backup jobs and customize them using important options such as compression, password protection, scheduling, or type of backup.
The two downsides to using the program are that you need to create an account before you can use the application, and that you can restore files or entire disks only in recovery mode.
Now You: Which backup software do you use?