Genie Backup Manager Home Edition is a long-established consumer-level backup program that has always impressed me with its clarity, power, and well-chosen range of genuinely useful features. The previous version won our Editors’ Choice award, and the latest one comes tantalizingly close to winning it again. The only thing that holds it back is its inability to create a bootable rescue disk on a USB flash drive. It still creates bootable rescue disks only on optical disks, and the era when virtually every computer had an optical drive is over. If you can lie with this one minor limitation, then Genie Backup Manager is a fast, efficient, and beautifully designed application for saving and restoring data.
Interface and Options
Genie Backup Manager’s main menu is elegant and informative, with big buttons leading to wizards that perform Backup, Restore, and Disaster Recovery. (The Disaster Recovery wizard creates an emergency recovery disk that you can boot from when disaster strikes.) The Backup wizard lets you create and optionally reuse backup jobs. You create these jobs in a simple interface that lets you choose a backup location either on a local disk, including optical and USB disks, or a network disk, or an FTP location, with fully up-to-date support for secure FTP if needed.
You can choose to backup items from your Windows user “profile,” which means that you can select documents from your Documents folder, or media files, or Outlook data files, Windows settings and registry data, and much else. You can also choose specific folders, disks, or Windows-specific locations such as your Libraries and shared folders in a HomeGroup.
Further options let you save your backups in ZIP format or with all files readily accessible. One especially useful feature lets you create archives in the form of executable programs that you can run on computers that don’t have Genie Backup Manager installed. This feature reflects the very real possibility that you won’t have your backup software available when you need to restore your data in a hurry, or that you sometimes need to restore your backups on someone else’s computer.
Genie offers you the standard choice of full or incremental backups, with an option to make your backups “mirror” the source folders, so that files that you delete on the source will also be deleted from the backup. This is a valuable backup type that works in a similar way to file synching services like Dropbox, but it should only be used with the understanding that it won’t let you recover deleted files. You can also schedule backups in an intuitive and flexible way. When you’ve created a backup job, you can modify or reuse it by selecting it from a list in the Backup wizard. You can also modify existing jobs from the app’s main menu.
If you choose this program for the non-experts in your family, you can switch to an even simpler interface that offers only the option to create and run a Backup job, or to Restore files. But if you want to use your expertise, you can click unobtrusive “More settings” buttons in the wizard interface and set up e-mail notifications of backup jobs or only of errors and other expert-level features.
Genie Backup Manager wasn’t as speedy as Acronis or NTI, taking 2 minutes 45 seconds to backup an 800 MB folder to a USB3 drive—almost twice the time as Acronis—but speed isn’t the most crucial factor in backups. What matters most is reliability and ease of use, because if a backup program isn’t easy to use, you’re not likely to use it.
I like Genie Backup Manager a lot, and if it could only create emergency boot media on a flash drive, I would happily promote it to share our backup software Editors’ Choice with Acronis Backup and Recovery.
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|OS Compatibility||Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7|
|Type||Business, Personal, Professional|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc