Paragon Software has debuted the latest version of its excellent free-for-personal-use drive imaging tool, Backup & Recovery 2012 Free.
The program is essentially a maintenance release, but there is one immediately obvious addition in the Express Launcher, a front-end menu which enables you to launch Backup & Recovery’s easy-to-use backup or restore wizards with a click.
Other minor interface reorganisations help to further improve ease of use. And the program uses the very latest version of Paragon’s core backup engine, so you’ll benefit from any bug fixes and performance tweaks which have been applied over the last year.
But the key to the program’s success remains its strong set of core drive imaging features. So you can run complete or differential drive backups, optionally excluding particular file types to improve performance. Your archive can be saved to local or network drives, or split across DVD or Blu-ray discs. There’s control over compression, archive integrity checking, and DVD/ BD burning options; password-protection helps keep your archives secure; it’s easy to restore a single file from a backup, or an entire image; and a bootable recovery environment means you’ll be able to restore your last backup even if Windows has been corrupted and refuses to start.
Yet most of this functionality remains hidden in the background, unless you go looking for it, with simple wizards making it easy to set up backup jobs or restore data in the event of problems.
Backup & Recovery 2012 Free doesn’t have the most compelling of “new feature” list, but given what the program does already that’s probably no great surprise. It remains our pick of the free drive imaging tools, and the new build is available now.