I just got Comodo Backup, and have been playing with it. I have a Vista 32-bit system. Here are a few points that I have noticed about the program. I offer these comments in a constructive sense because I think the program has a lot of promise, but at the moment I don’t feel confident to entrust my data to it. Read on to find out why.
I set up a file/folder backup using the .cbu format, medium compression. I backed up all the folders in my D drive to an external USB drive. The original data was 14.5GB, but the .cbu file was 23GB and it took 3 hours. So something went wrong there - maybe it was copying everything twice? Not reassuring!
I then did a simple copy of the same folders to the USB drive. This went OK - it took 33 minutes, faster than Areca Backup (44 minutes). As stated in the manual, the simple copy format does not have a restore option. You basically just copy the files back yourself. So it’s really just a ‘copy out/copy back’ operation, for which you do not really need a program. It just arranges the scheduling for you as a convenience.
Registry backup. When doing a complete registry backup, the program gave a lot of messages that some registry keys were not safe to be copied, or were not allowed to be copied (eg Windows system files). So I’m not sure how reliable the resulting registry backup is. If keys were not copied because they were in use/not accessible, how can a registry restore work? I don’t feel confident to try!
Disk imaging: two points here.
The first is that the manual gives no guidance on how to restore a partition. This is a big lack, because it’s an operation that requires a bit of care to get right. Maybe some people have tried to restore from a Comodo image, but I’m not confident that it’s reliable yet, so I do not care to try it out on my computer.
The second point is that my drive has three partitions: C, D and a ‘hidden’ partition from the manufacturer Acer, which contains the data to restore the computer to factory defaults. It does not have a drive letter assigned to it, and it cannot be accessed by the user. Comodo does not find this hidden partition, but I think to do a complete PC image it should be in the backup.
Compare this to Macrium Reflect free edition, for example, which does find this hidden partition and backs it up (see screenshot below). So I have more confidence in that program when it comes to drive imaging. There are also good tutorials on its website about how to restore a partition image.
The lack of a bootable rescue disk has already been noted on this forum, and that would be an excellent feature to add to a new version. Again, Macrium Reflect allows you to create a bootable Linux rescue disk. I found that their bootable disk works well.
Not sure how to use the sync option in Comodo. It seems to update files already backed up, but what about new files that have been created since the last backup? I guess that would be done by an incremental backup, which is not an option in this version of the program. That’s a serious lack, because incremental backup is the really quick and smart way to do regular backups. I hope it will come soon in a future release; it should be a priority.
Good points: small program size, good scheduling options, preset backup options are convenient, responsive forums for help.
Negative points: erratic backup operations (eg see my first point), no incremental backups, registry backup seems to miss out keys, disk imaging is still rudimentary, no guidance on how to restore disk images, no rescue CD.
What are users looking for in a backup program? Useful features yes, but above all we want rock-solid reliability so we can trust our valuable data to the program. At this point in time, I do not have that confidence in the program to use it. A backup program is the cyber equivalent of a bank or insurance company in the real world; those companies go to a lot of trouble to reassure us that they are a safe haven for our assets because that’s the bottom line for their customers, far more important than any frills or gimmicks which might be on offer.
For freeware disk imaging, I use Macrium Reflect free edition, which is excellent, and for plain file/folder backup I use Areca Backup, which is open source and which provides incremental backups. I have also tried Cobian Backup, also freeware, which is OK for copying out and which provides differential and incremental backups, but it has no restore functions and does not do disk imaging.
I think Comodo Backup has a lot of promise, and if it can add a few key features and improve its reliability, it could be a strong program.
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