At $50, Backup Now is pricey for a program with no disaster recovery. However, combined in the $60 Deluxe Suite with the Drive Backup imaging component, which does have that feature, it's a much better deal. Drive Backup 5 and Deluxe Suite 5 aren't available at this writing; according to NTI they should ship in November.
Price: $50; 30-day trial
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Backups based on imaging
"Imaging" is the copying of the entire contents of a hard-drive partition -- the boot sector, operating system, and data -- to a single file. The beauty of an image is that creating or restoring one takes only a single step -- backup and disaster recovery just don't get any easier. That said, the line between traditional-backup programs and imaging apps is blurring. Programs such as Norton Save & Restore and Acronis True Image now have the ability to back up individual files and folders in addition to full partitions, and can even perform incremental and differential backups.
Norton Save & Restore
Symantec has taken great pains to make Save & Restore user-friendly by removing the concept of images from the interface -- you'd hardly know this program created them, for all the talk about recovery points. But it is indeed an imaging program, with a wide range of features such as full/incremental imaging, file and folder backup, scheduled backups, encryption, and compression. It also has a unique (among imaging programs) housekeeping function that automatically culls previous backups to keep scheduled jobs from failing due to lack of space.
Advanced users might find tunneling down for options such as raw imaging (copying all sectors) a tad wearying, but such options do exist. Unfortunately, tunneling down also reveals a pane with a download link to Google Desktop, completely integrated with the options dialog box. I can't speak for anyone else, of course, but I don't want to spend $50 on a program and find ads in my options dialog box. Symantec should be ashamed.
But the real fly in the ointment is that you can't create an image using the install/boot disc, only restore one. You do get a file-copy utility, but it's a much slower process that leaves room for user error when you're trying to save data from a failed Windows installation. The boot disc is Win PE 2.0-based, though, so you can load drivers as needed; it also provides a virus scanner, an extremely handy item in case of a malware attack.
Price: $50; 30-day trial
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Acronis True Image Home 11
In breadth of features, True Image can't be beat. It runs from within Windows or from a Linux-based boot disc, creates full and incremental images, and also backs up single files and folders. It offers the usual compression and encryption options, and if you opt for the more expensive Workstation version you can also purchase a Universal Restore module that will restore images to a PC with a different hardware profile from the one that the image was created on.