AOMEI Backupper Professional Review
Data is the new money or say new currency of modern world; or say, Ye who holds the data, thy shall have power. Even modern wars are information wars where data is at core.
With such an importance, it has become so much critical to safeguard this data more than ever. Not only data encryption, but also data backup and its insurance is needed. Amongst scenarios of accidental data deletion, we have to look for data backup solutions. With this, one of the top software nowadays is data backup and recovery tools.
- Typical novice-friendly UI for a backup utility.
- Faster backup and restore
- Variety of backup programs and personalization.
- It can backup and migrate Windows OS
- File-sync to collaborate with cloud folders.
- Individual volume backup to recover files separately.
- Disk cloning to copy each and every file directly to other drives, without making image files.
- Create Bootable media in case of boot failure, crashes, etc.
- Users can check, merge, or explore each backup using internal explorer.
- PXE boot tool for booting LAN systems in case of emergency.
- Create image of entire disk for recovery.
- Free trial has only few restricted functions.
- The product is somewhat pricy, and offers only single PC license except for server and technician edition.
- Lack of direct cloud connectivity forces to choose separate drives for certain backups.
- The backup file explorer needs to be more detailed.
- File-sync feature is average compared to dedicated cloud-sync software.
- There may be some issues in licensing while cloning system for Windows OS.
- It is better to use freemium bootable media creators than present in this tool.
- No option to print or export log files.
- Lacks automated online backups.
- Average customer support. Possible language barrier, since the responses are rude and awkward.
- Tutorials of every feature needs update and detailed video guides attached to them. Also, include an error code directory in the software itself for helping users solve some minor problem by themselves.
Amongst such data backup software, we have AOMEI Backupper Professional. Being part of products of AOMEI Tech Co. Ltd., and formed in 2010, in Hong Kong, they have worked continuously for these 10 years to make sure they deliver best data insurance methods and services for customers worldwide.
They have grown their support for over 180 countries, with their main product, AOMEI Backupper received gracefully by millions of customers. This tool has features to backup and restore data from hard drives, partitions, system drives, etc. It also has tools to do data mapping and cloning.
With this review, we are to gauge these core functionalities in data backup. With this, focus must be on types of backup devices available, backup formats, encryption, recovery methods, and recovery results. It is really hassle-free to check all these qualities of the product upfront. So, let’s move ahead.
Introduction to Backup utilities
Well, what do you know about data backup tools? Have you ever used them before? If not, we can give you a brief intro on them, and their working process.
Just like you save data on one device and copy it to another, this backup software also works in same manner. They just copy, or say backup your data on other device. When you want to restore this data, you can simply use the restore button in these tools, and the files will be decrypted and saved on your system at given location.
The first step, obviously, is to run the setup and learn its routine. For that, we had a subscription for AOMEI Backupper Professional. With this license, there are no restrictions on the software usage. On organizational levels, they have an enterprise edition.
As of now, the professional version seems to be a good testing point. The free backup software has a pretty sleek interface. There are several individual tabs to access different functions. Among them, both primary and subordinate features are appropriately categorized.
On the home panel, you can view the list of all backup files so far. From there, the sections are Backup, Restore, and Clone. Other features like bootable media, boot tool, image deploy, etc., can be accessed from the Tools Section.
The backup process is beginner-friendly. Select the backup section, and then just input files, folders or drives you need to backup. Select the properties and click Backup Now. Once done, move to the home page for the backup file you just made.
Generally, the file extension used is .afi for these backups. From there, users can organize multiple operations like merge files, restore it, edit the backup properties, move the backup file, etc.
In a similarly easy way, users can also play around with other functions. However, be careful that you do not use any partition or system-related items before being fully aware of their use since that can mess up some things for you.
Overall, if you are familiar with the tools and its function, you can easily configure them, thanks to such an easy setup. For now, this is our short intro on AOMEI Backupper Professional. With upcoming sections, we can review them in detail and see if they have excellent services or not.
Backup Data with AOMEI Backupper
As we move on, we now go to check the core function of this program, i.e., data backup. If you look in the setup, there are several types of backup options given by AOMEI.
These are system backup, file backup, disk backup, file sync, and partition backup. Among these, each backup type has distinct services. The first one, i.e., System Backup, allows users to create a backup of entire system and its partition. This data is stored in form of AOMEI backup image.
While you select the system backup, there are primarily two drives to look for. The program will detect the drive for backup automatically. The software detects the installation drive as well as a reserved data drive.
Select the location of the backup file. The data can only be stored in data drive like hard disk, pen drive, etc., or users can save it on a network location too.
For system backups, some backup software also allows users to store data directly on cloud servers. AOMEI Backupper must have included cloud setup too here, like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
The main concern is file size here. The system backup may take really vast space, and that is why, it is better to have cloud and network options too. When you are doing these backups, you will see additional specific options at the bottom of interface.
These choices are backup settings, schedule, and scheme. For now, just know that they are used for correcting certain settings related to backup files, their encryption, and compression methods.
The second option is fairly known to all. Scheduling is used to set up the timings for backup process. For your surprise, this section is bit exhaustive. Apart from the usual options for date-wise triggers, you can use event triggers, USB triggers, and real-time triggers.
For the event triggers, handlers can use options for event types viz., a user log ON/OFF, system startup, shutdown, etc. USB triggers allow the software to backup files as soon as it detects a USB drive. Real-time sync only works while syncing data in real-time.
In the advanced setup for scheduling, users can pick up full backup, incremental backups, and differential backup. We can also install a monitoring service. In case the current backup schedule fails, it will resume things on next startup.
Similar options are given in backup scheme options. Once you have completed these settings, you can proceed with the Start backup button. Depending on the size of your drives, the time taken for backup process will be calculated.
There is a small pencil icon at top. Use this to change the name of backup files directly. With this, we have concluded the system backup method. There is only one con here, and that is AOMEI Backupper has no support for drives divided as 4096 bytes per sector.
Now, once you are aware of one of the methods for backups, rest will be a cakewalk for you. After the system backup, there is an option to back up your individual files and folders too.
Many times, instead of whole system backup, we can do things by saving main files and folders too. Without the aim to recover entire system owing to boot crashes or other reasons, it is better to use files and folders backup mode.
Nevertheless, same steps are to be followed for file backups. On average, the time for file backup was smooth. It took around 3 minutes to do full backup of 1 GB file. This is really fast backup even though we selected the highest compression format.
AOMEI Backupper has options for post backup too. These include options like shutdown, hibernate, sleep, etc. These features are what must be in a typical backup program, and so we did not find any issues with them.
File Sync Feature
We have seen the most common backup methods in above sections. Files, folders, and system backups are all needed by us, and now we have to check another backup method called File Sync.
Well, didn’t we just checked file backup above? What is this new file sync thing? To be honest, we also thought same, but file sync is technically backup without image, i.e., copy-paste style backup.
Whenever you backup files from either system backups or file/folder backup options, they are converted into the AOMEI Backupper format and then saved on the desired location.
In here, file sync does not convert them into .afi format. This is like cloud sync function. Whenever you add or remove files from the chosen folder, you can see the software using auto-sync to copy them into the backup folder automatically. Users can select a network drive too for this function.
While selecting the location for backup, we can see cloud option in this setup. However, they merely copy the files into folder of cloud drives like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. There is no asking of login credentials for the drive or direct upload to these drives.
This can be halting. They must adopt features like a cloud backup software, to directly integrate with the cloud-server instead of copying them in the cloud folder on your current system.
Remember that this is only a cloud or network-based backup function. However, you can also save files into your own system disks. So, the name file sync has been given since AOMEI monitors the chosen folder, and updates the backup folder in real-time.
With this, users need not to decrypt other backup folder, and they can directly access their files. As we said above, they must include real-time cloud upload like in GoodSync. That way, we can sync with the cloud-server directly instead of relying on the system to upload those files.
Disk Backup And Partition Backup
After backing up individual files and folders, we are now checking how to backup entire drives or partitions. We know that internal storages not ok to save backup files.
Many of you may wonder why? This is because the main aim of this kind of backup method is for blackout scenarios like hard drive crashes, disk failures, etc. In this case, if the saved file is on the same drive, the backup file will also be lost forever.
That’s why, users should use an external drive for storing entire disk image. If possible, we would like to see cloud integration too involved in this part.
Now, for the disk backup feature, under disk backup settings, users can choose entire disks for backup. Generally, there will be two backup disks shown in the setup. One is your system disk, and other can be an external hard drive, or other network location.
In this, all the partition of disk will be selected. Users cannot select individual partitions here. Select the backup drive and then select the destination drives.
This process takes much time depending on the disk size. Nevertheless, the other processes to modify backup settings are same. There are similar restrictions as before while making the backup for some disk types.
The backup features cannot work on 4096 bytes per sector disks. You can only create a disk image for them. Also, the backup method switches to per sector-based backup, if the primary disk is non-NTFS/FAT32 type.
For the next part of this session, we deal with partition/volume backup. Like above, where we had to backup entire disk volume, we can choose to backup individual partitions or volumes here. If the recovery partitions are small, we can backup the data in one of the internal partitions itself.
With this, select the partitions to backup, and then choose the drive for output backup. Similar to above, the backup is saved in image format and can be restored later.
However, it is not advisable to use it for system backup. Instead, use the dedicated system backup function as mentioned above. With this, our main backup categories are configured.
As you have experienced with us, the entire process is quite sturdy, and novice users won’t have any difficulties with this. However, it is advised that new users must learn about these backup features beforehand from the help section of their website. Wrong settings while doing system backups, or playing with the primary partition disks can ruin things.
Time to Restore the Files with AOMEI Backupper
With so many backups, it is critical to test if the files are restorable, or if work or not. Will they be corrupted after we restore them? Will my system boot or not after I use system backup? All these questions are genuine concerns for anyone trusting their data in the hands of a backup program.
Access the backup tab from main setup and go to the restore panel. This panel consists of two main functions for users. They are, select tasks, and select an image file.
The first section is where the backup tasks are stored. Whenever users create a backup with any of the above features, it is registered in this segment. This is to allow direct access to those backup files without searching for them in your drives.
They have displayed name, and date/time of the backup in this section. For us, we felt the UI here could be improved further to include detailed information. Showing only two basic things is not enough to recognize the correct backup files.
They must have added other data regarding backup like backup size, location, backup type, backup encryption status, last restore time, etc. too. If not these, they must give an option where we can tick on a backup, and it opens a pop-up with all detailed info like above.
Unlike the first setup, not every file we want to backup will be on our system. In case we had done our backup on exterior systems like external hard drives, network drives, or cloud storage, we will have to restore them via other options, i.e., select image file.
With that, we can show the path for the backup image file, and then recover the files from it. There are two extensions for these backup image files viz., .adf & .afi.
Select the drive where they are stored and restore the backup. Now, on the backup screen, a list of all files and folders stored in the backup file are displayed. Use checkboxes to select individual files or entire folder for restoration. Once again, a bit more details of these files could have been added in it.
They must include at least the file size and date of creation in this preview panel. After that, use restore button to proceed. In the next window, select the location for file restoration. It can either be to the original location, or you can save it to alternate path on attached drives or networks.
Every backup category is different, and so be careful about that. System restore, partition restores, etc. must be handled carefully. Only thing we can add here is that they can improve the list of backup information parameters in it.
The procedure may differ for sector by sector restore, especially concerning encrypted or non-NTFS/FAT32 types partitions. Anyways, all the restore processes are one click only. There are very fewer settings in it to get confused.
Disk Cloning Facility
With so many backup features, AOMEI Backupper has once again introduced a unique backup function as above. Except for this time, we are cloning these drives instead of backup & restore.
For that, access Clone Tab from the main tab of desktop interface. In this section, users are presented several options for cloning viz., System Clone, Disk Clone, and Partition Clones.
So, what is the difference between this cloning system, and backup system above? Do we need to have some extra resources for that? How will the backup work?
Well, unlike the backup function, where we want to save files, in case the current system malfunctions; data cloning is used to transfer entire system from PC to another. With this, you can migrate your old OS and hard drive to the new drive, with all files and programs as in the old one.
After the transfer, you just connect the new drive hardware into your PC, start the system, and voila! Now you have same files, folders, and OS as it was on the old drive. It copies all files, system apps, system settings, etc. with this clone system.
With this, even migration from HDD to SSD is possible. Amazing, isn’t it?
As we know, and as we explained before, system cloning is used to make sure we can migrate from old/damaged drives to the new ones. Please note that it can only restore if that data is accessible. This feature doesn’t work like data recovery.
Click System Cloning Tab. The program will directly ask for the destination drive. Network, or cloud drives aren’t supported. Moreover, users need to connect their drives to the system beforehand.
After that, just select your output drive and click next. AOMEI Backupper will automatically divide partitions in the given drive. This is why users must make sure the data on output drive is already backed up.
There is a separate option for SSD mode, and sector by sector cloning in it. Apart from this, partition settings also edit information related to each partition like drive letter, partition type, etc. All of them are quite accessible.
There is no need for extra complicated setup in here. With this, the next step is disk and partition cloning. As their name suggests, disk cloning will be used to clone an entire hard drive from one to another.
A similar setup is given in the above system cloning. System drive will only copy the OS, and system partitions, while this program will copy entire hard drive to another eligible drive.
Now, for the partition cloning, users need to learn once again how that works differently from these two cloning. As you can speculate, this is to clone individual volumes and partitions to other drives.
With this, cloning features in AOMEI are now completed. With overall experience, they have done decent work with this setup. There are some issues in the process like overwriting the other partition completely, removing previous partitions from the output drives before cloning, no scan for bad sectors before cloning, etc. There are some issues with the Windows license, when cloning one system to another.
If you go through their forums, there are too many questions and issues for customers in this part. Most of them can be handled if they include the error codes and very detailed cloning tutorials. They also need to make a video tutorial instead of screenshots only.
Nevertheless, it is simple to pick up the working of this setup. The UI is quite detailed, and also has a feature to create disk partitions, and change their properties.
Now, we conclude the entire backup feature presented in this review. AOMEI Backupper has worked around all options to deal with this. Most of the questions are from the customer side.
This points out the burden on AOMEI, which suggests improving their help sections, and even include details of every error in it. Plus, this feature is not in the trial version.
Some Useful Tools for you to Drool upon
With the principal backup utilities reviewed above, now we have to review some of the additional features given in AOMEI Backupper. Unlike the main tools above, users can select these sub-options via home tab only.
On the Home tab, use the Tools Drop-Down Menu. From there, list of options viz., Create Bootable Media, View Logs, Image Export/Import, Explore Files, PXE Boot Tool, Centralized Backupper, and AOMEI Image Deploy Tool are given. We can review them in brief one by one.
Creating Bootable Media Drives
Many times, we had to boot up our system using a USB or a CD. This can be to format the system, or to do some type of scan & system alterations. Although, we need to have a bootable drive for that.
From the Tools menu, select Create Bootable Media. From there, the new menu has selection for bootable disc type like, i.e. for Linux system, or Windows OS. Based on the level of your practice, you can choose one.
For regular explanations, we choose the Windows OS one. After that, select the type of PE boot mode i.e. legacy mode or UEFI mode. Look out for what your system can support. Typically, modern OS in windows have UEFI enabled by default.
Next, you have to pick the drive you need to write the files on. There are only three options viz., USB, Disk drive, or ISO file. With that, you can add extra drivers too in it. This can be useful to install some drivers at system bootup. The drivers have to be in .inf format.
After that, if you selected download drivers button, it will download all the drivers first, and then create an image file. If the speed is not proper in this setup, use a download manager and then extract the files into installation directory.
Once the download finishes, the files are either exported, or mounted on the chosen devices. Use this device to boot up the computer in case something goes wrong, or you need to access the boot menu of system.
Download the files for WinPE setup separately if needed, and then manually select the path to that file and make the bootable image file. Currently, this has the most uncomplicated procedure for conventional use. For better and more options, we prefer to use a dedicated boot disk creator program.
Explore, Check or Merge Backup Image Files
All these options are used to just toy with the image files of AOMEI Backupper Professional. Unless you want a pro setup in it, it is advisable not to do too much playing with them.
First, after creating an image of backup files, we need to check if the files are safe or not. Have they been corrupted after a recent malware attack on my system? With this, you must be entirely sure if the backup files will work or not.
Just go to the home tab, and select the backup you want to check. If the list of backups is not available, there’s only one way to point out the path to that image file manually. Below is an option to pick the path manually for checking a backup image.
Regardless, just select the backup file, use Check Backup from advanced tab. After this, AOMEI will scan that image file and show some errors if the file is unrecoverable, else it will show green checkmark for recoverable files.
Next part is Explore Backup Files. Just as you read an ISO file by mounting it on a virtual drive, using tools like Power ISO or Daemon Lite, users can use the AOMEI Backupper to do the same.
Just select the backup to be viewed, and choose explore file. It will open setup in the main window itself for you to view the content of that image. Similar to the standard OS explorer, you can see a file tree in it. However, you cannot open individual files for review.
However, you can selectively pick them and save them using the checkbox button. It is easier this way to save entire files and folders, and then extract some of them as per use.
The last setup, Merge Backup, merges two backup files into one backup. This one is to be used in case of incremental backups. With file backups every week, or say daily, we may have 100s of version for that file. To avoid the blunder while restoring files, we have to use this function to merge those incremental backups.
Overall, these were some root functions which you can use to play within AOMEI Backupper. These functions worked very fine and didn’t show any discrepancies while testing.
AOMEI PXE Boot Tool
Certain times, we have problems starting our computers, thanks to any form of corruption in boot files, by any malware or crashes. For these conditions, we need to have some backup to restore these files, or at least make them bootable.
For such purposes, AOMEI PXE Boot tool is perfect. However, we may know that copying these files on a single system is easier compared to the 100s of network computers. In case of many network desktops being corrupted, we can use the LAN mode of this tool.
Now, access this tool from the main menu. The initial setup has some help texts on the top to give you a brief idea of PXE, i.e., Preboot Execute Environment. This setup is for LAN connections only.
In this menu, select from either Linux OS, or Windows OS. You can manually add the ISO file path too for PE microsystems, and enable boot on all the LAN devices. This makes it quite clear that only microsystems are supported in it for now. Bigger ISO files won’t be booted with it.
Once the remote device boots, change the settings to legacy mode, and also enable LAN PXE Boot option. Without this, remote machines or client systems won’t be accessible by the parent computer.
Overall, this is a very unique tool with a backup utility and works charm. Users can add the PXE ROM as default boot device too.
Among these options, we have Logs and Backup Transfer. Both of them are quite handy from time to time.
The logs are used to generate logs from the backup files. The logs are very minimal. They include only date/time, plan name, operation, execution result, and detailed view.
There is no feature to sort these backups. Many other items are missing like backup size, file path, number of files and folders information and more such details. When user clicks on detailed view, same options are shown in it too.
This brands it underwhelming. They can input many more advanced UI functions here. Users must also be redirected to the explore backup feature from here. We can expect this section to get more cutting-edge features than current version. Options to export and print logs will also be a plus.
Just like it, the import/export button works the same. It can import either an image file or task from the given path. The general tasks can also be exported in XML format.
Overall, there were some more options given in the setup viz., AOMEI Centralized Backupper, and AOMEI Image Deploy tool. The Image Deploy Tool was part of technician edition, which we couldn’t test. The other one, i.e., Centralized Backupper was used to collaborate different systems via single backup portal, and was an additional setup.
All in all, it is better to make it a centralized backup to ease the work of LAN systems. With this, we have finally explored all the features in AOMEI Backupper Professional.
In our conclusion, we were thoroughly satisfied with the services of AOMEI. Not a single bug or discrepancies were encountered while we did our testing. The time taken for backup and restore was decent. The feature to see, if the backup files are recoverable, was also a plus point.
Dividing the backup into different types was a smart idea. One con we felt was the overwrite feature in partition backup. Users need to empty their target partitions or backup their data beforehand. AOMEI must check if the data on that drive is under the recommended size. If possible, isolate it to restore the partition, and later on restore old files back to the target drive.
[Image 19: settings]
Tools section can be added as a separate tab rather than a drop-down menu. Also, logs feature can be made more interactive and detailed. Other than that, we did not feel any substantial change is needed in AOMEI Backupper.
When it comes to recommending it, they’ve got a thumbs up from us. The pricing seems is inflated for the lifetime license compared to products like Ease To-do Backup, Acronis, and Symantec Ghost. So try the license, and tell us below if the features worked for you or not?