Perfect Backup: Perfect? No, but darn close
This free file and folder backup program is far more versatile than the integrated Windows File History, even backing up to popular online services.
Though Windows provides its own file backup facilities in Windows File Backup ( fave. co/3hkitbc), the OS has continually made them less obvious and less intuitive. Why is anyone’s guess. There are plenty of alternatives, but they can be hard to find or just as hard to use. Enter Perfect Backup.
It’s free and, while it’s just shy of perfect, Perfect Backup does grab the brass ring for being the most straightforward and userfriendly interface for the purpose. Add to that stable performance and a cornucopia of options, as well as network, FTP, and online services support, and you’ve got a winner on your hands.
Perfect Backup is file backup—that is, it doesn’t image entire partitions like our favorite R-drive Image ( fave.co/3wslx4z) does. Instead, it merely copies files and folders to a new location. Truth be known, with Windows so easy to install and restore these days, that’s all most users really need.
But there are options—a host of them, as a matter of fact. You can specify the number of versions to keep and the number of incremental backups that will transpire before a new full backup is created, and even compress the files to standard Zip format.
There’s also very granular scheduling, logging of results, reporting via email, throttling (CPU usage), and just about everything else you’d expect from a modern backup program.
My favorite feature, however, is the ability to back up to popular online services: Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, and Box, to be specific. Now if the program only supported multiple destinations for the same job, I’d be ecstatic. You can, of course, duplicate a job and change the destination, but that’s always seemed like a lot of bother to me.
Perfect Backup will also back up to network locations and even FTP sites. You can also back up from network locations, but only if they’re mapped as local drives under Windows.
Currently, you need to have Perfect Backup start with Windows for it to perform scheduled jobs. More elegant would be using the Windows Task Scheduler so the program isn’t always in the background using resources. That said, with modern computing power, this isn’t nearly the issue it once was.
What I really enjoy about the Perfect Backup interface is not so much its logical layout or hand-holding wizard, which are both excellent, but its labels and language. Where so many interfaces are terse or assume knowledge of terminology, Perfect Backup labels and explains things as normal humans think of them.
Mostly. I wasn’t in love with calling the destination directory for the restore function the “output” directory. You might feel differently about it.
Generally, however, the interface’s language helps new users feel less intimidated and more sure of their actions. They won’t have to waste so much time sussing out concepts and metaphors.
One other thing I did not like was the user’s guide being HTML online without a downloadable PDF version. Maybe I’m just old school, but I prefer local documentation. I might be backing up a machine offline when a question pops into my head.
Perfect Backup performed, well, perfectly during my tests, at least on a normal PC. I did have some network-related issues under
Parallels and Windows 11 on the Mac, but that’s not unusual, and not many users will be employing that combo.
I tried both zipped and plain file backups, and the former didn’t seem to significantly throttle what turned out to be very good performance. Restores were also quick and easy, though again, I’d prefer the term destination rather than output directory. Both are correct, but the former is more common.
Perfect Backup being so useful and well realized prompted me to reach out to the company to ask why it’s free. They informed me that it will remain that way for at least two years, and those who use it now can keep using it for free beyond that. The idea is to get free publicity for the program and eventually garner income from licensing. That’s fine by me.
Perfect Backup exceeded my expectations. It’s more stable and easier to use than most of the file backup programs out there, and there’s no arguing about the price. If it created images for disaster recovery, it would be vying for top dog. As it is, it’s highly useful and worthy of recommendation.