EMC specialises in back-up software, with many tools aimed at the professional user. However, Retrospect 7.6 has been designed for home users looking to back up a single machine using USB or to disc.

When you launch Retrospect for the first time you'll be prompted to make a backup. A simple step-by-step wizard neatly guides you through the process, allowing you to choose types of files you want to back up, as well as create the name of your back-up folder, to make it easier to find.

Encrypted back-ups

If you have limited space you can choose to compress your files, although this takes longer. Encryption using a 128-bit code key can also be added, keeping your data private. Saving open files with no encryption, we found the software easily maintained a 150MB a minute transfer rate, making this a reasonably quick back-up tool.

Once you've made your initial backup you can access the full set of tools. It follows the same approach as Norton's Save & Restore, with a toolbar down the left-hand side and a dialogue box in the middle. However, the EMC interface isn't as readily intuitive, due to the large number of submenus under each heading.

If you're looking for an even simpler approach to backing up your hard drive, EMC also offers Retrospect Express, which is an ideal choice for first-time users.

Once you've grown accustomed to the layout, it is incredibly easy to follow. The toolbar is divided into six sets of tools, with everything from Backup to Automate proving self-explanatory. The same wizard used to create the initial backup is the main way to get results, and you never feel as though you're out of your depth, making EMC Retrospect 7.6 fast, easy and trouble-free to use.