Reader poll: What's the best free backup program?

There are plenty of free Windows utilities that can automate and simplify your backup efforts. The question is, which one works best?

Paragon Backup & Recover 2012 Free offers all the features most home users will need.
Paragon Backup & Recover 2012 Free offers all the features most home users will need. Paragon Software Group

You know you're supposed to make regular backups, yet you're just not doing it. Why?

If it's because you're not wild about the idea of spending money on backup software, here's good news: you don't have to. There are plenty of full-featured backup utilities (for Windows, anyway) that don't cost a dime.

Indeed, your only out-of-pocket expense should be a USB or network hard drive--a place to hold your precious data in case your primary drive goes belly-up.

Below I've rounded up five of the most popular and well-known backup programs for Windows, all of them capable, all of them free. Check the list, then meet me below for some thoughts and questions.

If you've tried any or all of these tools, which one do you like best? And if your favorite backup program isn't on this list, hit the comments and name it.

Personally, I give the nod to Easeus Todo Backup, which combines a friendly interface with a versatile feature set. But Paragon Backup runs it a very close second.

I know some people have mad love for DriveImage XML and Macrium Reflect, but I've found the former unsophisticated and the latter slow and confusing. Likewise, open-source fave Cobian Backup has an interface only a programmer could love.

Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts as to the best free backup utility for Windows. And if you've found a paid program that you think is worth owning, let's hear about that, too.

 

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