EMC Dantz Retrospect 7 Professional review

Price when reviewed

While Acronis True Image may take the crown when it comes to backing up an individual PC, many people have more than one computer to back up. Step forward EMC Dantz Retrospect 7 Professional, which offers superb value for multiple-PC environments.

EMC Dantz Retrospect 7 Professional review

The price of £57 might not seem good value, but it includes two client licences for use on two other PCs or notebooks. This works out at £19 per PC, while an extra five licences from the EMC Dantz website will cost you just £16 each.

Using the Backup Wizard is simple as long as you don’t require the advanced options. If you do, you’ll have to wade through the many menus. Backup options are comprehensive, with differential and incremental backups available, plus support for open-file backup – in other words, Retrospect can back up your documents even if you’re currently working on them.

Just one level of compression is available, but Retrospect’s security is excellent, supporting the Advanced Encryption Standard up to 256 bits. All major media types except DVD-RAM are supported, although if you plan to back up to DVD you must initially go through the process of configuring the software for each disc format you plan to use. This runs tests that write data to the disc, so it’s advisable to have a rewritable DVD to hand.

Unlike the other apps on test, which set a file’s archive bit to remind them which have been backed up before, Retrospect creates a Snapshot of the source disk before each backup. It then compares this with the files in the last backup set to find duplicates that it then skips. This alternate method contributed to a poor backup data rate of just 546MB/min on our test drive, but it did achieve a fast 1.22GB/min when restoring.

A Disaster Recovery boot disk option is present, but the powerful client system is Retrospect’s main selling point. It allows Windows, Unix or Mac clients to be backed up remotely to shared storage locations. Tasks can be scheduled or run manually, and the main backup PC has access to each client’s backup preferences just as it does to its own.

Retrospect 7 Professional is a powerful and comprehensive piece of software; for network backups, nothing can rival it. It can also be enhanced for extra cost through a large range of add-ons, such as additional file-type support for open-file backup. But the interface is by no means user-friendly, and if you’re not familiar with the many backup terminologies you may find it difficult to make the most of the many options.

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