Updated July 2014
Backing up your important files, or perhaps your entire hard drive, is one of the most valuable maintenance tasks you could possibly do on your computer. With your data backed up, a hard drive crash or accidental deletion won't be nearly as painful.
Backup software makes backing up your data automatic - a must-have feature of any successful backup plan. Here is a list of some of the most popular commercial backup software titles available:
Important: Be sure to look at my Free Backup Software list before paying for any of the backup tools listed below. Better yet, check out my Online Backup Services list for cloud backup solutions, an arguably better way to back up your important data.
Note: I use the term commercial to indicate that the backup program costs something, not that it's necessarily a better choice than free backup programs in a business setting.
Acronis True Image 2014, like the other popular backup software programs profiled here, is a complete backup solution for your home computer.
You're able to backup the files of your choice or make a complete image backup of your whole PC, saving it to places like an FTP server or external hard drive.
A huge number of advanced, unique features are supported including email notification of completed backups, mounting backups as regular disks, 5 GB of free online storage for a year, a hard drive eraser tool, sandbox mode, a PC cloning utility, and much more.
Acronis True Image 2014 is currently priced at $49.99 USD and is available for all major Windows versions.
AOMEI Backupper Professional is a full-featured backup program that can backup various types of data. Simple file/folder backup is supported as well as disk cloning, partition backup, and whole disk backup.
An easy restore wizard is included in AOMEI Backupper Professional, in addition to the ability to compress a backup, split a backup into smaller pieces, and even backup files that are currently being used, among other features.
There's also a free version of this software called AOMEI Backupper Standard that can also be used in a commercial setting, though it lacks some of the features of the professional version.
AOMEI Backupper Professional is currently priced at $39.00 and is compatible with Windows 8 down to Windows XP.
EaseUS Todo Backup Home is a nice choice for a backup program. It not only backs up files and folders, like documents and mail, but also entire disks, partitions, and even Android devices.
It's easy to use because of the built-in wizard that walks you through the steps of creating a backup job. It also supports standard features like compression and email notifications, among others, which aren't included in the free version.
EaseUS Todo Backup Home is currently priced at $29.00 USD and works with Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
Genie Backup Manager Home 9.0 is yet another excellent choice for your home backup needs. Like other backup programs, you can backup your entire system, certain files and folders, or even certain types of files like music, pictures, etc. - whatever is important to you.
Backup and restore wizards make it easy to keep your data safe and restore it after an emergency. Compression capabilities, email notifications, online backup options, and preconfigured backup sets make Genie Backup Manager Home 9.0 an excellent value-priced choice for advanced users.
Genie Backup Manager Home 9.0 is currently priced at $49.95 USD and works with Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
O&O DiskImage 8.5 Professional makes it easy to backup everything from single files to whole hard drives, even the one that Windows is installed on.
Among other features is support for encryption, the ability to restore data to hardware that differs from the source, and an easy to use wizard that compacts the O&O DiskImage 8.5 Professional program window to allow for extremely simple backup and restore functions.
O&O DiskImage 8.5 Professional currently costs $29.95 USD and can be installed to Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
Like some of these other backup programs, NovaBACKUP Professional can serve as disaster recovery software and backup hard drives, system partitions, and specific files and folders like movies and music.
A simple wizard is used to encrypt backups and choose the source/destination folder.
In addition to other features, NovaBACKUP Professional can enable virus scanning, send email notifications, and restore backup images to dissimilar hardware types and drive sizes.
NovaBACKUP Professional (version 16) is currently priced at $49.95 USD and works with all versions of Windows, from Windows 8 to XP.
Ocster Backup Pro 8 walks through a simple wizard to backup an entire hard drive, single files and folders, email, or bookmarks to and from any local or network folder.
Among other features, file versioning and custom compression is supported, as well as encryption, email reports, restoring single files and folders, and automatic pausing if too many system resources are being taken up.
The current price for Ocster Backup Pro 8 is $39.90 USD. It works with Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP, as well as Windows Server 2012/2008/2003.
Symantec System Recovery 2013 Desktop Edition is a business-class disaster recovery tool but the price is competitive enough with other home-focused backup programs to be a solid choice.
If you want the complete backup package in one easy to use program, Symantec System Recovery 2013 Desktop Edition is an excellent choice.
Common features are supported, like AES encryption and offsite backup; and more advanced abilities are allowed as well, like restoring to dissimilar hardware and creating a backup image of an entire computer.
Symantec System Recovery 2013 Desktop Edition is currently priced at $84.87 USD and is available for all Windows versions, from Windows XP to Windows 8.