Cobian Backup v11.2.0.582

A Full Review of Cobian Backup, a Free Backup Software Program

Screenshot of Cobian Backup v11 in Windows
Cobian Backup v11. © Luis Cobian

Cobian Backup is free backup software that can backup to compressed archives on a hard drive or FTP server.

There are so many settings in Cobian Backup that customizing a backup to your liking certainly won't be an issue!

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Note: This review is of Cobian Backup v11.2.0.582, released on December 6, 2012. Please let me know if there's a newer version I need to review.

Cobian Backup: Methods, Sources, & Destinations

The types of backup supported, as well as what on your computer can be selected for back up and where it can be backed up to, are the most important aspects to consider when choosing a backup software program.

Here's that information for Cobian Backup:

Supported Backup Methods:

Cobian Backup supports full backup, differential backup, and incremental backup.

A dummy backup mode is also supported, which uses a backup job as a task scheduler to run programs or scripts without actually backing up any data.

Supported Backup Sources:

Data from an FTP server, local drive, network folder, or external drive can backed up with Cobian Backup.

Supported Backup Destinations:

Cobian Backup can backup files to a local, external, or network folder as well as an FTP server.

More About Cobian Backup

  • Though only Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2008/2003 are officially supported, I was also able to run Cobian Backup in Windows 10 and Windows 8 without any issues
  • Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows are supported
  • Backup to more than one destination at once
  • Cobian Backup shows hints for every option for more information on what it does
  • Supports drag and drop when adding source and destination locations
  • Pause a running backup
  • Run a backup job as a different user
  • Control Cobian Backup remotely from another computer
  • Schedule a backup to run on startup, manually, once, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or on a timer
  • Custom ZIP or 7Z compression levels as well as support for encrypting file names
  • Split a backup into small sizes for use on things like floppy disks, CDs, or DVDs
  • Option to compress each file individually or the entire backup source
  • Cobian Backup lets you define a limit to the maximum speed of FTP transfers
  • Able to automatically delete any empty folders from the destination path after a backup has completed
  • Modify the priority Cobian Backup has over other programs with a low, normal, or high setting
  • Includes command line support
  • Easily include/exclude subfolders from a backup job
  • Run missed backup jobs automatically
  • Password protection with AES-256 encryption is supported in Cobian Backup
  • Uses Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to backup locked files
  • Prevent backup jobs from running if the computer sleeping or is running on battery only
  • Include and/or exclude files from a backup by directory/size/creation date and/or file type
  • Specific file types can be stored in a backup archive as uncompressed
  • Before a backup job is launched, Cobian Backup can do one or all of the following: run an executable like (like a BAT, CMD, or EXE), run a custom command, close an open program, or start/stop a service
  • Post backup tasks include all of the pre-backup task options as well as start another task, sleep/hibernate/reboot/shutdown the computer
  • Define the number of backups to keep before older ones are removed
  • Protect Cobian Backup with a master password
  • Can optionally retain the full source path in the backup destination
  • The log file can be emailed to one or more recipients on success or failure of a backup
  • Group similar backup jobs together for easy organization

My Thoughts on Cobian Backup

There are many things to like about Cobian Backup, but it also has its limitations.

What I Like:

The best thing about Cobian Backup isn't necessarily a single feature but just the fact that you can choose such particular options for a backup. There are plenty of settings included in Cobian Backup that similar software may have, but I like that you can find nearly all of them in this one program.

I also appreciate how thorough the hints are in Cobian Backup. You can hover your mouse over nearly any setting or text area to view a small explanatory window to help you understand what that particular feature or option will do.

What I Don't Like:

You can't restore files with Cobian Backup as easy as you can with similar products. It's true that you're able to browse the destination folder and pick out the files you wish to take, or "restore," but unlike other backup software, Cobian Backup doesn't have an easy button to do so.

Similar backup software can not only backup specific files but also entire hard drives or partitions. Cobian Backup, however, is limited in this regard by simply allowing file backup. Additional programs will need to be installed to allow the backup and restore of whole disks.

I also don't like how Cobian Backup handles low disk space. If during a backup, the destination drive becomes full, and unable to hold any more files, you aren't notified of it. Instead, the files stop backing up and errors are shown in the log. It would be nice to get a popup notification so that you clearly understand that not all your files were backed up, instead of having to crawl through the log files to see if they were.

Note: To download the latest version of Cobian Backup, choose the topmost link called "Cobian Backup 11 (Gravity)" on the download page.

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