Cobian Backup Review

Cobian Backup is popular free backup software that has been around for years.  Despite being 13 years old, it continues to evolve and change with the times.  In this review I’ll take a look at the latest version, Cobian Backup 11 (Gravity).

Cobian Backup logo

Editor's Rating:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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User Rating:
Rating: 4.0/5 (28 votes cast)


  • Free for personal or commercial use
  • Easily backs up files and folders
  • Many options to customize
  • Remote management capabilities


  • VSS problems in Windows 8
  • No built-in restore

The Bottom Line

Cobian Backup is free, has a ton of features, and is just plain awesome.

Installation and Setup

The installation was a bit complicated.  I confusingly had to choose whether to start Cobian Backup as an application or a service, and if a service then whether to use a regular account or a system account.

Cobian Installation

These options aren’t very well explained.

Regardless, I chose to start it as an application.  The installation gave me an error that the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) couldn’t be started.  I imagine this is due to Windows 8 not being a supported OS.  Oh well, I just won’t backup open files.

Backing Up

Creating a new backup task is fairly easy.  You can specify things such as:

  • A name for the task
  • Backup type (full, incremental, etc.)
  • Scheduling
  • CPU priority
  • Compression/encryption
  • Filters
  • Pre/post commands
  • and more…
Cobian Backup main screen

The Cobian Backup main screen.

You can backup files, directories, and files on a FTP server.  Possible destinations are the same: either a local directory or FTP server.

My backups completed without any issues.


Restoring files in Cobian Backup is done by navigating to the backup destination, and copying/pasting files you wish to restore.

If the files are compressed or encrypted, you can use the built-in decompressor tool or decryptor tool to extract them in bulk.

Unfortunately, this manual restore process can get a bit messy, especially if you have many incremental folders you have to dig through.  Consider that your files might be scattered among multiple folders.

Backed up files to restore

Restoring files through Windows Explorer.


Cobian Backup has a lot of options to customize.  It can email you log files.  You can limit the speed of FTP transfers, choose .zip or .7z compression, and remotely manage your application (or even multiple applications).

Cobian Backup options menu

The Cobian Backup options menu.


Cobian Backup has a forum where users can ask questions.  It is fairly active at the time of this review.

What I Liked

I liked how many options there were to customize.  Everything about your backup task can be suited to your needs.

All the options are easy to understand and well explained with tooltips; just hover over anything for a more detailed explanation.

What I Didn’t Like

Windows 8 support sucks.  Also, the installation is way too complicated for the average user.  A built-in restore feature would be nice, too.

Product Name Cobian Backup
License Freeware
Price Free
Operating Systems Window
Backup Types
Files and Folders yes
Full Disk Image no
Incremental yes
Differential yes
Backup Destinations
Hard Drive yes
Removable Media yes
Network Shares yes
Blu-ray no
FTP yes
Online Storage no
Compression yes
Encryption yes
Email Notifications yes
Error Handling yes
File Versioning yes
Priority Setting yes
Scheduling yes
Speed Limiting yes
Synchronization no

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund