Macrium Reflect 5 review

7 Oct 2011

Not one for novices, but beneath the dry surface is a rich and focused suite of powerful backup tools

Price when reviewed: 
37(£36 inc VAT)
4

We reviewed Macrium Reflect 4.2 in April 2008, so we were as surprised as anyone to discover it’s only recently reached version 5. In the intervening years we’ve seen the competition shift backup into the realm of the novice, with Acronis True Image 2012 and Carbonite making it delightfully simple to squirrel your important files away locally or in the cloud.

Macrium Reflect 5 doesn’t do that – in fact, it wouldn’t be at all unfair to say the interface is just a Windows 7 re-skin of its 2008 self.

Macrium Reflect 5 v 4.2

It’s all dropdown menus and an overload of information, with the only real interface upgrade being the addition of drag-and-drop for partitions and backups. It isn’t novice-friendly, instead it’s more suitable for advanced users who know VBScript and MS-DOS scripts, and the good news is that those users will find a lot to like.

It covers all of the essentials, with the ability to image entire disks or partitions, perform incremental and differential backups with 256-bit encryption, as well as a basic folder backup. Technically, you can specify individual files within those folders, but only via wildcard filters and file-type inclusions – this isn’t really one for picking and choosing, as you may do with Carbonite. It does give you an option to back up everything needed for a working Windows installation, which gathers the relevant partitions into one single image.

Macrium Reflect 5

You can mount a backup as an image to easily browse its contents in Windows Explorer, and if you’re restoring whole disks you can rejig partition sizes as you go. It also directly clones entire disks, and you can restore disks to a different computer (or server if you opt for the £48 Professional version). As with many backup suites, Macrium lets you create bootable rescue discs and add an extra option to your boot menu for emergency restores – it also supports UEFI systems.

It does all of this very well for the most part, with email notifications, a detailed scheduler and the ability to rotate backups across several destinations for added security. In fact, for pure backup it does everything Acronis can do, albeit without the same level of polish. What Macrium Reflect 5 doesn’t do is extend into other territories: there’s no file synchronisation, and no online component to speak of. With other suites getting increasingly bloated, the type of user Macrium is aimed at will surely see that as a good thing. If you know what you’re doing, and want control over your drives and their contents, for £36 it isn’t a bad choice at all.

Details

Price ex VAT £31
Price inc VAT £37
Overall rating 4
Ease of Use rating 3
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Software subcategory Backup software