As of December 31, 2023, Paramount Software — the maker of Macrium Reflect — will no longer update its freeware version. I’ve been a long-time fan of this software. It has bailed me out of countless jams, many self-inflicted or the results of experiments gone bad. But I feel compelled to recommend a free backup tool to users, thinking that not everybody can (or wants to) pay for Windows backup. That’s why I’ve been seeking free Windows backup satisfaction for most of 2023. So far, I’m not too thrilled with what I’m finding outside the Macrium umbrella.
Still Seeking Free Windows Backup Satisfaction
As I often do when I’m looking for good software in some category, I turned to Tim Fisher at LifeWire. His 32 Best Free Backup Tools story, last updated in September 2023, certainly covers a lot of options. But now that MS has thrown ReFS volumes into the mix with its inclusion in the Dev Home utility for Windows 11, the number of suitable options drops precipitously. (Macrium Reflect, for example, supports ReFS only in its Server versions, which are not free. Many other tools on Tim’s list likewise omit ReFS in free versions.)
Tim’s #1 ranked choice is EasUS ToDo Backup which indeed comes in a free version that includes ReFS support. I’ve been messing about with it and it does the job. But gosh! The free version is chock-full of constant, annoying and even intrusive ads, ads, ads. Honestly, I *hate* it. And FWIW, Susan Bradley at AskWoody recommends buying a license if you use this product anyway. I have to concur, if only to make the darn thing SHUT UP already.
The Slot Remains Open…
As I dig through Tim’s sizable collection of possible Macrium Reflect replacements, I’ve yet to find something obvious to fill its slot. Val Potter at ComputerWorld gave me the option of recommending a paid-for tool instead when I revise my story on Windows Backup sometime soon. I may stick with Reflect anyway just because I know from long and sometimes hairy experience that it works, works, works.
If you have any suggestions for a killer free Windows backup app that’s neither Macrium Reflect nor EasUS ToDo Backup, please use the contact form here to drop me a line. I’m open to suggestion!