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I am currently using Acronis True Image to create backups of my laptop. It is a nice program and has always worked reliably. However, the software is not free, and it lacks one feature that is essential for me. I will tell you about it in a minute.
Easy to use ^
Veeam Endpoint Backup has fewer features than Acronis True Image has, but Veeam’s backup tool has everything I need and is very easy to use. This is important for backup software because, whenever you have to restore a backup quickly, you probably won’t be in the mood to read manuals. Your mood won’t get any better when you notice that your last backup is useless because you configured one of the countless options of the backup software incorrectly.
Veeam Endpoint Backup status
One reason Veeam Endpoint Backup is so easy to use is that you don’t have to mess with the configuration of full, incremental, or differential backups. The backup tool only knows one backup method, called “backup.” Of course, it has to work in the background with one of the conventional backup methods. Even though the restore tool seems to indicate that Veeam Endpoint Backup uses incremental backups, it appears to work with differential backups. This means that, when you do a full restore, you will get the exact previous state of the computer, and files that you deleted since the last full backup won’t be restored as is the case with incremental backups.
Essential features ^
Aside from being easy to use, until today I expected three essential features from a Windows backup tool: it has to support system backups, offer the ability to restore individual files, and provide bulletproof bare metal disaster recovery capabilities. Veeam Endpoint Backup has all this. But, after playing a little with Veeam’s new backup tool, I had to extend my list of essentials backup software features.
Restoring individual files
A crucial part of a desktop backup tool is its scheduling feature. Scheduling backups at a certain time of the day usually doesn’t work because you can’t guarantee that the machine is running then. However, when the computer is on, you are usually working with it, and that means you don’t want your machine to slow down because a backup job is running in the background. Veeam Endpoint Backup has three solutions to this problem. You can configure backups to run when Windows is locked, at logoff, or when you attach your backup media.
You can use USB storage devices, internal drives, and network shares as backup media. The tool supports internal drives only for file backups, not for system backups. If you have a Veeam backup solution in your enterprise, you can also work with a Veeam Backup & Replication Repository.
Veeam Endpoint Backup consists of several apps that you can access by typing “Veeam” on the Start screen. You can also start the apps by right-clicking the backup software’s systray icon. However, one important app is missing in the systray menus.
Veeam Endpoint Backup systray icon
Bare metal recovery ^
This tool allows you to create recovery media. The tool’s wizard enables you to include all required drivers of the current computer, and you can also load additional drivers if you intend to use the recovery media on other machines. The tool creates an ISO file that you can use to create a bootable DVD or USB stick. If your computer is equipped with a CD or DVD writer, you can create the bootable media right from the wizard. You will need a third-party tool such as Rufus for this purpose.
Creating recovery media
The recovery media is a highlight of Veeam’s Endpoint Backup. Unlike many other backup software makers, Veeam is working with Windows RE and not with a Linux-based proprietary boot OS. The advantage of Windows RE is that you have more options during the restore process if problems come up.
After Veeam’s customized Windows RE boots up, you’ll see three menus: Bare Metal Recovery, Windows Recovery Environment, and Tools.
Veeam Endpoint Recovery
Bare Metal Recovery allows you to specify the local drive or network share from which you want to load the backup. If you don’t have a DHCP server in your network or you want to restore a backup over WAN, you can configure the IP settings manually. In addition, you will have to configure the credentials to access the network share. After you select the backup job and the restore point, you can decide whether you want to restore the entire computer, the system volume only, or selected volumes with the ability to reallocate partition and volumes.
Customizing disk mapping
The menu point Windows Recovery Environment is perhaps a bit misleading because this won’t start Windows RE (it is all running at this point). Instead, this feature enables you to restore a system image that you created with the Windows built-in backup tool. Thus, if you backed up your system with the Windows imaging tool, you can still use these backups with Veeam Endpoint Recovery.
Recovery tools ^
The Tools menu is one of my favorite features of Veeam’s backup tool. The available tools are: command prompt, memory diagnostic, reset password, startup repair, load driver, and export logs.
The ability to load drivers can be essential if your computer crashed because of malfunctioning hardware that had to be replaced or if you want to restore a backup on a new computer. Startup repair might help you fix the computer without needing to restore a backup. Reset password is also a useful tool. People sometimes restore backups because they set a new password that they can’t remember. This feature will enable the local administrator account with a blank password, so you can log on again to Windows.
However, the most important feature here for me is the command prompt, and it is the main reason I might switch from Acronis True Image to Veeam Endpoint Backup. I usually store my backups on BitLocker encrypted media. The problem with this method is that you first have to unlock the drive with the manage-bde command. This can get tricky if you have no other computer available. With most backup tools I tried, you need a second boot media for bare metal recovery.
Thus, Veeam Endpoint Backup offers a complete and free backup solution for me. I think the only feature that some people might miss is the ability to back up to the cloud.