Keeping an accurate and up to date backup is important, but many people still put it off until after they’ve lost important data. It needn’t be a complicated process; with the right backup software it’s pretty much a set and forget installation. Rebit is keen to emphasise this, when describing its Rebit 5 application.

Installing the Rebit 5 software wasn’t that easy. Our test system has two internal hard drives of 160GB and 250GB, each with two partitions. Rebit demanded 250GB of external storage before it would start. We added a 320GB eSATA drive and the software then asked for 333GB, though this time it was only a recommendation. See all: PC Advisor software downloads.

We ignored the advice and a backup of all four partitions was created, but why didn’t Rebit 5 enquire what we wanted to back up, before deciding on storage requirements? It’s quitre normal to want to back up data selectively and we only wanted to test with the 30GB C: drive partition.

We ran Rebit 5 again and this time it offered a settings screen, where we could select just the drive we wanted to back up. The program took a little over three hours to do this, which is very, very slow, though the process does only have to be done once – from then on, the program only updates. Rebit says you should allow twice as long if backing up to a network drive. Our backup of 22GB from a 30GB partition occupied 55GB. See also: Group test: what's the best backup software?

Rebit 5 hides the backup files, so they don’t show if you examine the backup drive under Windows. Within Rebit, though, that drive shows an identical file structure on the backup drive to the drive it is mirroring and you can examine and recover the files at any time. Each is marked with a Rebitted icon, so you can distinguish between original and backup.

Once set up and running, Rebit 5 saves to your backup drive every 25 seconds or so, to ensure it remains up to date. This happens even when you haven’t saved anything to your drive in the intervening 25 seconds, which seems a bit wasteful. It takes under a second, though, and there’s very little performance hit.

Rebit 5 creates a system backup, but one which is also accessible at the file level. Files can be copied out of the backup as needed, but if there’s a system failure, the whole system can be recovered from backup storage, using a bootable version of Rebit, which can be stored on CD or USB drive. Recovery points can be set manually at any time, though an automatic one is scheduled once a day.

Backups themselves can be on an internal drive, a USB or eSATA external drive or on network storage, but there’s no facility in the current version to back up files to online servers. As new versions of files are backed up, the amount of required storage space increases, but technologies called SmartSave and NeverFull work together to automatically delete the oldest versions of files, when storage reaches 90 percent full.

As a close to totally automated backup, Rebit 5 does very well, though more seasoned customers may miss the lack of some controls. For example, you can select drives to backup, but not specific folders or filetypes. 

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Rebit 5: Specs

  • Windows XP/Vista/7, 32/64 bit, 256MB RAM, 250MB HD
  • Windows XP/Vista/7, 32/64 bit, 256MB RAM, 250MB HD


£50 for a 3-PC licence, under £17 per machine, is a good price, though an inability to use online storage and an over-simplification of options make Rebit 5 a mixed bag. Its slow initial backup and high local storage requirements (1-3x the total capacity of the drives being backed up) may rankle against rival products, like Acronis True Image.