NovaBACKUP Professional Review (updated for version 16)

NovaBACKUP Professional is a line of backup software from NovaStor, a privately held company with offices in the U.S., Germany, and Switzerland.  It can do full disk image backups of PCs and laptops, in addition to backing up files and folders.

This is my fifth review of NovaBACKUP.  In my last review, I noted how most bugs in the software had been fixed.  How does the latest version stack up?

NovaBACKUP main screen

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Pros

  • Full disk imaging capabilities
  • Supports database backups
  • Can backup to many locations including local drives and Amazon S3
  • Built-in virus scanner

Cons

  • Slow differential backups
  • Errors encountered during: boot media creation, backup job modification

The Bottom Line

NovaBACKUP Professional offers a lot of great features, particularly for business users (and home power users) looking for a disaster recovery solution.  However, I encountered a couple bugs during my testing of the software.

NovaBACKUP Features

NovaBACKUP supports various features, which can be disabled or enabled during installation:

  • NovaBACKUP Anti-Virus to scan for viruses when backing up and restoring files
  • NovaBACKUP Disaster Recovery to create disk images
  • NovaBACKUP Devices to backup to online destinations (Amazon S3, FTP, etc.)
  • NovaBACKUP Plugins to backup live databases and virtual machines (SQL, Exchange, VMWare, etc.)
  • Agent Service to connect to the management server

Free email support is included during the trial.

Backing up with NovaBACKUP

The Express Wizard lets you create a new backup job, restore data, or edit a previously created job.  Types of backups supported are:

  • Local Backup
  • Disaster Recovery (disk image)
  • Cloud Backup
  • Copy files/folders
NovaBACKUP select drive to backup

Backing up my C: drive.

I backed up my 100 GB C: drive to an external hard drive in 2 hours.  Oddly, it took more time to run subsequent backups – which were differential (only backup changes since the last full backup).  Those took 3 1/2 hours, on average.

Why is NovaBACKUP taking 3 1/2 hours to backup 1GB of changes on my hard drive?  I have no idea.

I was also unable to modify a backup job from the Schedule tab, which appears to be a bug.  When I clicked on “Modify Job,” nothing happened.

Boot Media Creation

NovaBACKUP includes a tool to create boot media, so you can recover data outside of Windows.

There are two boot media types: Simple and Advanced.  The software states Simple boot media is easier to create, but might require your operating system disc to complete.  The Advanced media option creates a Window PE boot disc, which requires downloading additional files.

I attempted to create boot media with the “Simple” option, and was told there was an error creating the boot image.  There was no error code, or anything else I could use to diagnose the issue.

Overall, boot media creation is not as easy in NovaBACKUP as other disk imaging software.  I was unable to resolve the error I encountered, although I created a WinPE boot disc without problems.

Restoring Data

To perform a full system recovery, you first need to create boot media as I previously mentioned.

Once you boot into the recovery DVD, you’ll see the Disaster Recovery screen.  From here, you can access the Tools menu which provides several useful features:

  • Mount backup image to a drive letter
  • Mount ISO file
  • Convert backup image to VHD (Microsoft’s virtual drive format)

NovaBACKUP was able to restore my entire system in just over an hour.

One thing I liked about the recovery process is that the target device is selected automatically.  It makes recovering the hard drive easy, since there’s no need to select partitions.

Other Features

Cloud Backup

There are two default cloud backup providers: one in the U.S., and one in Germany.  The U.S.-based FirstBackup.com charges a whopping $90/month for 100GB of space.  This is much more expensive than competing online backup services.  On the plus side, they’re HIPAA compliant for use by healthcare providers.  A user also informs me they support data deduplication, which would be useful when backing up multiple machines.

FirstBackup.com pricing

Cloud backup is way too expensive.

NovaBACKUP can also backup to Amazon S3, FTP, and xSP accounts.

Copy and Mirror files

NovaBACKUP includes a tool to copy and mirror files.  It’s very easy to use, and it can be set on a schedule.  There’s also a “bi-directional” copy type which will copy files in both directions on the source and destination.

NovaBACKUP Anti-Virus

This will scan files you backup files for viruses.  If you already have anti-virus software, you can disable this to speed up your backup jobs.

Time Slider

View your backups by time rather than files, so you can select a single point in time to restore.

Machine independent restore

NovaBACKUP can also restore to a computer with different hardware, such as a new motherboard.

Support

Overall, I found NovaStor to be very helpful and thorough in my support tickets.  I was responded to promptly within one business day.  NovaStor offers “NovaCare” phone and email support with their software, for a price of $30 per year.

You can also use their support forums, knowledgebase, documentation, and tutorial videos to get answers to questions.

Summary

Version 16 of NovaBACKUP is more buggy than the previous version, at least using my test environment.  I was unable to create a recovery DVD using the default settings, and I couldn’t modify existing jobs.  Differential backups were also extremely slow.

More Screenshots

Specifications
Product Name NovaBACKUP Professional
Version 16.1
License Shareware
Price $49.95
Operating Systems Window
Backup Types
Files and Folders yes
Full Disk Image yes
Incremental yes
Differential yes
Backup Destinations
Hard Drive yes
Removable Media yes
Network Shares yes
Blu-ray yes
CD/DVD yes
FTP yes
SFTP no
Online Storage yes
Features
Compression yes
Encryption yes
Email Notifications yes
Error Handling yes
File Versioning yes
Priority Setting no
Scheduling yes
Speed Limiting no
Synchronization no
Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of BackupReview.com. He is a cloud fanatic and regularly reviews online backup services. He believes backups should be easy, affordable, and automatic.
Geoff Akerlund

@backupsoftware

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  • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

    I actually know Bugamoe via email and asked him to post his review – I assure you he’s a real customer. Thank you for sharing your experience! I know for a fact NovaStor is reading these reviews.

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    • John H.

      NovaStor reads these reviews? Great. May they’ll resolve my problem with trying to create a Boot Disc. Worked for six hours on this today without success. Did everything with the Windows 7 AIK ISO file and nothing works yet. No responses yet from NovaStor to any of my Help requests. 7/28/2014. So the jury is out until tomorrow on this product.

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      • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

        Hi John. That does sound very frustrating. Let me know how it works out.

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  • bruin_bruin

    Good luck with recovery. I spent 3k on the software for multiple servers. We are getting our backups, however whenever I have had to restore…. It takes FOREVER to find a file, I almost always end up using previous versions or another method before I can even find the file on NovaStor, so is it useful? I still don’t know. It’s bad enough that I seeked out a message board this am while waiting, very unhappy with my purchase.
    In the past we used BESR, while it had it’s issues as well, the restore process was actually useable. I am VERY disappointed with the file level restore feature using both the Wizard and the traditional method. I have yet to try a whole system restore. Probably good if you are doing small backups. Ours are 600-700k files within 20-30k folders and NovaStor has a lot of issues with it’s database speed when trying to find a file to restor. If they fix this, it might be better. I am using the latest v15

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  • PeteCress

    “*Somewhat* confusing interface ?????

    I would call it a hopelessly-confusing interface.

    To wit:

    – You give a backup a name in Backup | Backup Name, but that name never gets shown anywhere else – like in the schedule

    – Backup | (click “Settings”) | Advanced Settings | Custom Commands | Command(s) to Run Before Backup only allows a single command, not multiple commands as implied by the name “Command(s)” and the navigation menu defaults to .exe every time… which is a PITA to say the least.

    – On the “Backup” tab, there is no “Save” button.

    – Schedule | Scheduled Jobs shows the same name for every job – and it’s different from the name assigned by the user in Backup | Backup Name

    I have been writing applications for 30 years, so it’s not like I’m easily confused – but NovaBackup has me in a state of bewilderment. It just *cannot* be this bad… so I am hoping that I am missing something.

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    • sgarcata

      I couldn’t agree more… and there are many more examples. They clearly don’t have a GUI expert on their staff or even anyone who walks through typical Use Cases from the perspective of a user. The DR component appears to have been coded by an entirely different development crew and is even more awkward than that for file backups… for instance, it doesn’t appear possible to set up an image backup job without running it and then it doesn’t show up in the selection list when you want to create a schedule for it… to say nothing of the naming of various components… sometimes “media” sometimes job name… different labels for the same entity on different screens… the only reason I am seriously considering sticking with it is the backup speed which is phenomenal and the quick and knowledgeable support. I also have 30+ years in s/w development and workflow and I am appalled at the user interface design on this product.

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      • http://www.backupreview.com/ Geoff Akerlund

        Thanks for the comment sgarcata.

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  • sgarcata

    I’m amazed that even a very small business has only 2Gb of data to backup. That is less than what my iPhone stores. My email file alone is 4Gb and my data is 100Gb…. so I can’t agree that online storage is not expensive. I am using the latest version: 16.5.1106 and find some bugs, but mostly the user interface is amazingly inconsistent and confusing.

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