Ashampoo Backup 2021: free but good enough?
German software publisher Ashampoo released Ashampoo Backup 2021, the free version of its backup application for Windows, recently. Free backup solutions are a dime a dozen on Windows and new releases need to demonstrate that they stand a chance against best of class applications such as Macrium Reflect 8, Paragon Backup & Recovery Free, or Veeam Endpoint Backup.
Ashampoo Backup 2021 is the latest iteration of Ashampoo's free backup offering. It is designed to backup entire partitions on systems it is run on, and cannot be used to backup individual files or folders. You may use it to restore individual files or folders though, next to restoring entire partitions.
The program is available for download on the developer's website. Note that it is only compatible with Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system according to Ashampoo, and that you need an Ashampoo account to use the program. The Help file on the other hand lists options to uninstall the backup software on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
Does Ashampoo Backup 2021 run on Windows 7 or 8.1? Likely, but we did not test it.
Ashampoo Backup 2021
The program displays just a few options in its interface. These are:
- Back up these drives -- Select the partitions and drives that you want to back up.
- To this folder -- The destination folder for the backup.
- When to backup -- the backup schedule.
- Old backups to keep -- how many old backups you want to keep until the oldest gets deleted.
Ashampoo Backup 2021 supports incremental auto-updates; this makes sure, according to Ashampoo, that backed up files are always recent and never out of date. The feature seems to be tied to the scheduling feature, but it is not explained anywhere.
You may select local or local network folders as the backup target in the application. Once you have made the selections, select Activate Plan to enable the plan. Backups are run automatically if scheduled but you may also run them manually at any time.
Restoration of backups comes with several options. You may browse the backups to restore individual files or folders, restore a drive or partition, or, if backed up earlier, the entire computer. The option to create a rescue disk is provided, to restore backups if the system does not boot properly anymore. Backups can also be verified at any point to check their integrity.
Ashampoo Backup 2021 does not highlight the space that is needed on the target drive to complete the backup during the creation of the backup plan.
Ashampoo Backup 2021 is a basic backup software for Windows that focuses on backups of partitions and drives. It works as intended. I ran it through a series of backup and restoration jobs on a test PC, and it worked just as it should.
The program lacks several options that other free backup programs offer. You cannot use it to backup files or folders, there are no options to password protect backups, change the backup mode, enable automatic integrity checks after backups, or change the backup type, e.g. between incremental and differential.
You may create one backup only using the application. It is probably not that much of a problem since it supports only partition and drive backups, but it is not sufficient for some use cases, e.g. when different backup destinations need to be used.
Last but not least, it is necessary to create an Ashampoo account before you can start using the program. The company's commercial backup version, Ashampoo Backup Pro supports most of the missing features.
All in all, it is a solid program but lacking several features that other free backup solutions do support.
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