Softland claims that its Backup4all is a “feature-rich, intuitive backup solution for users of all versions of Windows at all levels of expertise from beginner to professional.” That sounded like the backup solution I was looking for, so I took it for a test ride.

As is the case with most software these days, download and installation were simple – except for an unwieldy 60-character registration key. It took me two tries to get it right; the first time, I skipped an entire group of numbers. This would be about the only thing I would change, however. The Explorer-like interface is at once familiar and comfortable, making Backup4all immediately accessible, while its ultra-modern graphic menu icons give it a high-tech look. Hovering over an icon gives the expected descriptive tag and, of course, there is the text-based menu we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing.

My Documents, My Pictures, and IE Favorites backups are preconfigured. If that is where you store all your data, you need only put in a CD or DVD – Backup4all works with both – click the Backup icon or press F6, and you’ll soon have a backup – it’s that simple. The program automatically spans multiple disks if necessary (my last backup took two CDs). And if you have a USB drive or another hard drive that you prefer to use for your backup, you can use that, too. You can’t get much more friendly or versatile than that.

I especially like the fact that Backup4all uses standard zip file compression. While other backup products often force you into using their restore function exclusively, Backup4all does not. The extensive and user-friendly Help file says, “…Backup4all creates standard zip files. This means that your data is not at the mercy of the utility itself; you can access it with any zip compatible utility.” For this reason alone, I would give the program high marks.

Backup4all lives up to its marketing claims. It’s versatile, has all the features you need, and is easy to use. The beginner can easily get a good backup the first time. And the professional can tweak the program until his backup hums along exactly as he wants it to. It runs on every Windows OS from 95 to XP, too. From $25 – $45, depending on the version you buy, Backup4all is a bargain. Check it out at