Backing up your data is essential. With the rise of Ransomware and similar tools which can encrypt your data, unless you're prepared to pay the ransom, your files are lost forever. Backup your system partition, along with your most important files and the easiest way around a Ransomware situation is to simply wipe your drive and restore your data.
But, you need a backup/restore tool and preferably one that ships with a recoverable media builder. One such option is Paragon's Backup & Recovery 16 Free which, as its name implies, is a free version of the commercial tool from the same company.
Backing up your data is relatively easy and is wizard-driven. After choosing the drive or files you'd like to back up, select the archive destination which can be a local or network drive, a disc or another external device. Unfortnately, with the Free edition, there's no facility to backup to the cloud, so you can only store your files offline.
If you've used previous Paragon Backup & Recovery Free tools, you'll probably expect more. The previous 2014 edition was far more comprehensive, enabling you to exclude particular file types from the backup in a click or two; set your archive compression level; password-protect your backup for security; set up CD/ DVD/ Blu-ray disc burning options, and more. You can't do any of this in the updated 16 Free.
What is included is a comprehensive scheduler, meaning your backup job can be automatically run at system startup, logon, daily, weekly or monthly.
Also included is a a File Transfer module, which enables you to store files from another location, such as a network drive. You can simply choose the individual files and folders you want to migrate and the destination and Backup & Recovery will do the rest.
Restoring data from backups is easy. You can either restore an entire drive backup, your individual files and folders or use the supplied media recovery tool to create a bootable recovery disc which you can use to restore when you can't get back in to your computer.
You can expect far more in the commercial Backup & Recovery 16. The most important feature which is missing in the Free version is incremental/differential backup support, which is ideal if you're backing up a lot of data each day. It means the system doesn't need to backup files which were unchanged since the last backup, saving a lot of time.
Paragon Backup & Recovery 16 Free is a decent enough basic backup/restore tool.