I've just had a play with the demo and am about to place an order for this software. I have to say I'm impressed.
Plenty other niceties, too. Among those I don't remember mentioned in earlier discussion:
- You don't need to run Backup4All in the tray. If you use Windows Scheduler, there is no additional load on your system; the program only starts when a job is scheduled and can be configured to exit when done.
- I love being able to drag folders into the Source window, rather than fish for folders in a tree one at a time or select checkboxes. (The checkboxes are also available, though).
- This may have been mentioned, but open/locked file backup is smooth sailing, no problems there at all.
However, having used it for a year, I have a pretty long list of things I'd like to see improved. The first time I made a request I was pretty much brushed off by the author (politely, but still), and since there is no user forum, there is little one can apparently do to request a feaure or influecne the program's direction. Here's a short version of what I'm missing in Backup4All and some bugs I've found - I have yet to send it to the author, but after his first response I'm not too hopeful:features
- backup files as they change, with an optional minimum time span between backups
- For versioning, there is an option to "Limit maximum number of stored backups", but no option to limit by date, i.e. Keep old versions of files for no more than n days. The latter is more useful / more intuitive than the number of backups, because e.g. I know I want to keep old versions for a month, but I don't know how many copies will be made in a month (and if I change the schedule, the number of backups will also change, which will in turn affect the limit). In other words, I don't care how many old versions I keep; I do care about always having access to versions at least a month old, and there is no way to configure that (unless you put no limit on old versions at all).
- ability to run regular backups (full, incremental or differential) without zipping. (The Mirror mode copies without zipping, but does not do versioning. If you mirror to folders with a datestamp, it copies all the files every time.) Zipping is of course hugely useful, but makes it hard to compare versions, since you must unzip the files first.
- There is no support for comparing stored versions. It should be pretty easy to add integration with Beyond Compare, WinMerge etc.
- when using the mirror mode, it does not scan the target folder, but copies everything, even if the target files are already in place. This is a more general issue - Backup4All relies ONLY on its catalog files (bkc). If you delete all mirrored files but keep the bkc, it will not restore the missing files, because the bkc file tells it they are present. And the opposite: if the target files are already there, it will still copy them over if the bkc file indicates they are absent. This has cost me several hours recently (backup over 54 kbit LAN).
- pause a job while it is running (important if a scheduled backup kicks in just when you're doing something disk-intensive)
- suspend all scheduled backup jobs (this can be done by manually editing Windows Scheduler tasks, but it should be a one-click operation, e.g. when installing software or running an operation that requires lots of disk throughput or network bandwidth)
- ability to backup selected registry keys to .reg files (very, very few programs do this. HandyBackup does, but it's $99 and misses a lot of other features, like backing up open files)
- automatically run tasks that were missed or have failed
- provide a remaining time estimate for a running job (there is a progress meter, but a rough estimate in minutes would be more useful)
- enable filtering in the jobs pane (e.g. show only tasks that have not been run yet; only tasks that are not scheduled; tasks with warnings or errors; tasks that have FTP or LAN as target, tasks that are scheduled to run today, etc - lots of possibilities here)bugs
- error messages are too generic, especially for FTP-related errors. If, for example, you make a typo in the ftp server hostname, all the log message says is "could not connect". What it should report instead is DNS lookup failure, which would immediately tell you that the hostname is wrong.
- If Backup4All is configured to exit when a scheduled job is finished, it will quit even if you started it manually and are editing a profile in the dialog box. There is no prompt, it just quits while you're typing in it. A little annoying if you've just spent 5 or 10 minutes fine-tuning your file selection...
- There is a bug in its bug reporting feature (try it, "Support request" under the Help menu)