Symantec's Norton Save and Restore offers an easy way to back up your files, programs and settings. Should the worst happen, it also offers a simple restore option. Installing the suite is easy, and anyone who has used other Norton products will be familiar with the user-interface. You'll have to enter a product key - provided with the software, and need to activate the product online. Save and Restore will stop working after 15 days if not activated.
The software allows a number of different ways in which to back up your laptop. It's possible to create back-ups of individual folders, or to back up your entire drive. A recordable medium is required - such as an external hard drive or recordable CD/DVD. Creating back-ups takes up lots of space, so unless you're planning on copying just a folder or two, a USB memory stick is unlikely to be large enough.
Save and Restore will let you copy files at random, or set up a schedule for when files need protecting. This means the back-up can happen when you're not present, which is handy as it's a time-consuming process. Restore points can be created, so if your laptop has a problem, you'll be able to go back to a specific point and retrieve your files. You'll also be able to search for deleted or lost files.
We found restoring a hard drive a relatively easy process. Although you won't be able to do it in Windows, Save and Restore includes a bootable CD, which offers a simple interface in which to work. Because of this, you'll be able to restore your laptop even if Windows encounters a major problem, and you have trouble getting it to boot.