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Back up conveniently with free GFI application

GFI Software launches free full-featured backup and recovery software for home users.

Dong Ngo/CNET

If you haven't been backing up your data because the economy is bad and you can't afford a decent backup software, I am about to open a can of no-more-excuses on you.

GFI Software launched on Thursday a free backup and recovery software for home users. Unlike other free software, which tends to be the stripped-down of the commercial version, GFI Backup Home Edition is a full-featured application.

The application gives PC users a few ways to safeguard data, including backing it up and syncing it with another location. I tried out this wizard-driven application and the feature I liked best is the capability to back up and sync a computer's folder with an FTP location. Very few other backup solutions offer this and none are free. Of course, GFI Backup also supports backing files to local folders, network locations, and other removable media.

Most backup software, including my favorite, Acronis True Image, uses a proprietary compression standard, meaning you will need the same software to do a recovery. GFI Backup Home Edition, on the other hand, uses the popular ZIP format to store backups.

This helps make the recovery job very convenient, as the ZIP format is natively supported by Windows XP and later. The software also supports the backups with military-strength 256-bit AES strong encryption, in case you want to keep your backup secure from unauthorized computer users.

GFI Backup Home Edition is the first in GFI's "We Care" initiative, in which the company will be releasing freeware versions of some of its products over the next year to help small-business and home user customers during these troubled economic times.

The free GFI Backup Home Edition software only works with Windows and can be downloaded here.