What Cobian Backup lacks in appealing aesthetics and instant allure, it more than makes up for in terms of powerful options.
Recognizing that most people will have varying types of data that they want to back up in different ways with varying frequencies, the program allows for the creation of multiple backup jobs. Each of these can have different settings – such as different files, different backup locations, different encryption and security settings – and each can be automatically run on its own schedule.
With support for FTP and network backups, Cobian Backup is suitable – and free – for both home and business use, and the ability to backup to more than one location at a time is a nice inclusion. It's possible to run backup jobs as a different user, meaning you can backup files that require administrator access even from a limited account, and there's a remote control option so you can manage your backups when you're away from your computer.
With so many options to configure for backup jobs, it's good to see that there's a 'dummy' setting that enables you to give backups a test run to ensure that they work as you're expecting. A nice touch for when things start to get complicated – such as if you've opted to run extras tasks before or after a backup job.
Cobian Backup not look particularly appealing, but most things are relatively straightforward. You're virtually guided through the process of selecting the source to backup and the type of backup it should be – full, differential or incremental. You can then specify the schedule on which it should be run – or use triggers such as system startup – and choose the priority at which jobs should run.
Compression and encryption are available and easily applied, but it could be argued that the option to filter file types to include from the folders you're backing up should appear at the same time as you select those folders.
Where Cobian Backup falls down – and it's going to be a serious falling down for less confident users – is in the fact that there is no built-in way to restore the files you back up.