There's one criteria. Do you trust it? Does it do what it says it's doing? Or is it running for 3 hours creating a ghost of a backup?
Here's what I want my backup software to do.
1. Run automatically.
2. Do not encrypt or use any proprietary file formatting.
3. Be highly configurable.**
4. Restore the files when I need them.
**I want to be able to pick a schedule, select incremental backups, delete old backups, pick the folders and files I want backed up, and have it run at two in the morning and leave a report when it finishes. I want the backups on one of the external devices we already discussed, a local external drive, and perhaps a network location off-site.
There's lots of choices. Here's CNet's review of free backup software.
I can't speak about most of them, they may all be fine, but the one I use is on that list. Cobain. It does it all as far I am concerned. Here's the review from Download.com:
That's it. One recommendation. Free. Been using it personally for years. It's the same software I would recommend to you if we sitting around a campfire sipping bourbon.
For all the bells and whistles you get with this backup program, we were shocked to find that it's free. Cobian Backup not only looks good, but it proved to be a very reliable and easy to use backup tool.
The user interface is straightforward, and the colorful command buttons are extremely intuitive. Creating a new backup task was easy, despite all of the configuration options. Basically, all we had to do was create a name, decide what files and folders to include, and create a schedule for the backup. We opted to save important files to our USB, which worked perfectly. We were impressed by the file compression and encryption options that aren't found in many paid programs. The Options menu comes with tons of settings for more advanced file compression, password-protecting the user interface, and even changing the interface's appearance. We were able perform random backups with the click of a button, and likewise, we were able to run multiple backup tasks all at once without any problems whatsoever.
Cobian Backup offers multiple help venues, including an index, a tutorial, and support forums. However, even the most novice users will be able to jump in with very little, if no, guidance. We highly recommend this program for all users.