Netgear ReadyShare Vault review

Backup and restore should be a fairly headache-free process, especially for home users. Netgear's ReadyShare Vault app along with the Netgear Centria, provides easy, simple and reliable local backup.
Photo of Netgear ReadyShare Vault

Netgear’s ReadyShare Vault app is for use with Netgear’s new Centria device, a NAS/router combo. The app provides back up in much the same way as ReadyNAS Vault does for Netgear’s line of ReadyNAS devices. ReadyShare Vault is a free app that provides automatic, continuous backup of Windows PCs to the Centria. The app has a wonderfully simple interface with intuitive backup settings, and adds value to using the Centria device to back up the Windows machines on a home network.

Download and Install
You can download ReadyShare Vault from http://www.netgear.com/readyshare and then install it on each PC you want to back up. This app is only for Windows. To use Centria with Mac, you must use Time Machine.

You can also enable ReadyShare Vault from Netgear’s Desktop Genie app if you’ve installed Genie as part of the Centria set up. From Genie, click on the ReadyShare option and then select ReadyShare Vault mode. Netgear has made install and getting started with ReadyShare Vault quite easy.

Interface
ReadyShare Vault opens to a colorful dashboard.  By default the app is set to back up to shared folders on the Centria, so this isn’t cloud backup. You can also select to back up to any connected USB drives on the Centria.

The backup selection is set to an option called Smart Selection. This will back up data likely to be of more importance to Windows users: Outlook email and Windows Live contacts, Desktop, My Documents, financial files, photos, videos, bookmarks, Office files, music, eBooks and PDFs.

Or course, you can add your own files and folders to the backup selection. You are shown a hierarchal tree of all of your files and folders and adding them to the backup set is as easy as clicking a checkbox next to each file and folder.

ReadyVault Share also allows you to enable security by setting a password for the back up and restore processes so that no one without the password can do either.

The Back Up
Once backup settings are saved, an initial back up job starts. You can chose a fast back up option which speeds back up by using more system resources.

As the back up job happens, you are shown the total used and free space on the destination drives as well as the size of each folder getting backed up, so you can quickly see if you ever run out of room for your backups.

The interface displays the date of the last back up, when the next back up is scheduled and the number of items backed up. This information is updated after every back up.
Users can customize back up by enabling a back up limit. The default limit is 100GB.

There’s also the option of enabling Presentation Mode. When enabled, a backup job running in the background will pause if you are playing games, movies or slideshow presentations. You can also enable a power-saving mode.

If you’re of a mind, you can tweak back up even more. For instance, choose to delete files from the backup set that are older than 2 weeks a month, 6 months…etc. You can also send email notifications on backups and if any errors occur.

The back up interval uses a feature called Smart Timeline. With Smart Timeline, the system does automatic, incremental backups every three minutes. You can of course, set automatic backup to run as often as you want or set a schedule.

Backup exclusions by default, when using Smart Selection, include hidden files, executables, and any system files like those in the Windows folder. You may add your own exclusions.

I tested a rather small backup job and had 162 items using Smart Selection backed up in just a few minutes. I noticed no system slow down doing tasks like playing music or web browsing while back up was running on a Core i7 Windows 7 laptop with 4GB RAM.

After a file or folder is backed up, that file or folder icon has a green dot on it, these are called backup markers. A right click on that icon adds to the contextual menu the choices of “remove from backup” and “ReadyShare Vault” which gives the option of showing all versions of the file – by version number, date modified, and size.

The Restore
I deleted a file to test the restore capabilities.  I clicked Restore from the dashboard and a directory tree of the backup set was displayed. I selected the file from the backup set that I deleted on my computer and clicked Next.

I had the option of restoring the file to its original or to an alternative location. I could also keep the latest version of the file or replace with a different version. Then I clicked Restore now. A restore status displayed with the number of items restored, the total size, and if any items failed. A progress bar of the restore job is also shown.

Other Tweaks
There are some additional preferences you can customize. You can choose to have the app update weekly or disable updating altogether. Control some Windows Explorer settings that include choosing to display or hide the green dot backup markers on file and folders icons, and can also choosing to show hidden files in explorer. Users can also enable logging.

Simple Backup and Restore
Back up and restore should be fairly headache-free processes, especially for home users. Netgear’s ReadyShare Vault app along with the Netgear Centria, provides easy, simple and reliable local back up. It’s a 4 star earner for back up apps and while it’s not fancy, online back up like our Editors’ Choice pick SOS Online Backup; for Centria users with light backup needs, ReadyShare Vault is a great extra with the Centria device.

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Specifications
OS Compatibility Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7
Type Personal
Free Yes

Verdict
Backup and restore should be a fairly headache-free process, especially for home users. Netgear's ReadyShare Vault app along with the Netgear Centria, provides easy, simple and reliable local backup.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc