We all know that we should backup our files. It's all too easy to put off securing precious digital files and data, only to repent at leisure after a PC has crashed or a hard drive failed. The good news is that you're in the right place.
Install one of these backup utilities and save copies of important photos and music files either to a separate hard drive or to the cloud. You will never regret the outlay: it's a small price to pay for peace of mind.
If you're unsure what backing up your hard drive entails, read our tutorials on how to back-up files with SyncBack Free and how to back up your digital photos online for free. But rest assured that any of the products we review here will do the job for you, and most will explain how.
Acronis True Image
Powerful, feature-rich and easy to use, Acronis True Image drive partitioning and backup software for Windows is a solid option.
You can pick and choose the files and folders you want to backup if you don't need to back up the whole computer, and recovery options let you hand pick files if you don't need to recover everything too.
Customisable backup plans let you choose how often you want to back up fully, and let you backup the most important files more regularly.
Plus, the backup will run in the background to make sure that you're not disturbed while you're working.
The backup features end-to-end encryption to keep it safe and secure, and you can search for backed up files both on your machine and in the cloud to recover them at any time and any place.
For 50GB of cloud storage, you're looking at £29.99 per year, but if you have some extra cash to spare we'd recommend the 1TB option with free upgrades to new versions, premium support, local and cloud storage options and the additional bonus of Active Protection, Notary and ASign tools from Acronis for £69.99 per year.
Additional storage and additional computers are available to add to your package at an extra cost too.
You can find out more about Acronis and all of its features by clicking here.
EaseUS Todo Backup Free
EaseUS Todo Backup Free is (as you may have guessed) a free backup service that offers step-by-step instructions to help you quickly and easily backup and recover your files.
You'll be able to carry out a full system backup, or file-level backup if you'd prefer. There are also options that allow you to only back up changes made since the last backup to save time and space, and there's a back-up scheduler that you can tailor to suit you.
You won't get cloud storage space included in the free version of EaseUS Todo Backup, but you can backup to CD/DVD, local hard drive, external drive, iSCSI device or network destination, or a combination of them all.
You can find out more and download the software from the EaseUS website.
There's also a paid 'Home' version of the application available for $29 (approximately £23). This adds the option to transfer to a different PC, event-based schedule backup, free technical support, Outlook backup and recovery and more.
Find out more on the EaseUS Home website.
With CrashPlan, you can backup to an external drive, the cloud, or even a second computer such as your partner's, family member's or friend's.
The free version of CrashPlan has all you need for regular backups to a variety of media, including the unique hosting of your personal backup on a friend’s computer, although this doesn't include cloud backup.
Unfortunately, as of 22 August 2017 CrashPlan Home subscriptions will no longer be available for new users, and the product itself will cease to exist on 23 October 2018.
CrashPlan is still worth mentioning here though, because the paid service's $5 monthly subscription makes it one of the cheapest online services available, and it promises unlimited offsite data storage.
There's a free mobile app too, to offer access to files even when you're out and about.
Find out more on the CrashPlan website.
Paragon Backup & Recovery 16
Paragon's Backup & Recovery 16 offers a range of features that'll help keep your files safe. It can backup individual files or the entire system, so provides the complete package rather than focusing on just one feature.
You'll get a Backup Job Wizard that will take care of all of the backup tasks you require on the schedule you set, and you can filter your backups to only store the files you really want to.
There's also a second 'Wizard' that can help you perform a single time or one-shot backup if that's all you need.
And if there isn't enough space in your backup destination, you can even split the backups into smaller portions to solve that problem.
Paragon Backup & Recovery 16 costs £21.99.
For the full list of features and more information about the application, visit Paragon's website.
Pipemetrics Bvckup 2
Bvckup 2 is a fast and simple Windows backup utility.
It's one of those applications that you don't need to think about after it's set up: it just works. It's fast and reliable with well-thought out features to help along the way.
Delta copying speeds up the backups when compared to full file copies, and greater reliability comes from intelligent error handling and detailed logging.
Bvckup2 represents great value at $20 (approximately £16) for home users.
O&O offers a quick and simple AutoBackup application that will automatically synch and backup copies of your files and folders to a hard drive or USB stick.
O&O AutoBackup's backup on insertion is a neat trick, but the program is otherwise limited. For anyone who wants to simply insert a drive, back up and remove it, it works well, but it's a one-trick pony that won't cover everyone's needs.
O&O does also have DiskImage Professional, and DiskRecovery Professional, though, the first of which can handle file backup and system backup, while the latter can resurrect lost files.
Find out more about each product on O&O's website.