It's practically impossible to overstate the importance of backing up your critical data. For the smart user, that means a full backup that can restore your whole system when disaster strikes. We've always advised users not to scrimp when it comes to backup software, and we suggest using Windows Backup as a minimum. A growing number of free backup solutions offering different levels of protection, though; some of them create full backups you can use to restore your system, while others simply back up and restore data. Ocster Backup Freeware is the latter type. It's a freeware version of a full backup solution that can back up your data but not your entire system. It doesn't let you restore individual files, either; it's all or nothing. It's very easy to use, though, producing regularly scheduled full or incremental backups of your data that you can save to a backup drive or similar location or store online, for a fee, at Ocster's Web storage facility.
Ocster Backup's interface has three buttons: Create New Backup Plan, Restore Backup, and Manage Backup Plans. Creating a new plan started with choosing where to store the backup, either locally or externally via your PC or online via Ocster's optional service. We chose a hard drive dedicated to backups (we could also import an existing plan) and then added the files and folders we wanted to back up. The program selected our Documents folder by default. We could view and specify exclusions, too. Ocster gives you the opportunity to encrypt backups but recommends against it; we chose not to encrypt our backup. We could specify daily or weekly backups or choose not to run automatic backups. The program compresses backups by default.
Ocster's freeware can't take the place of a full system backup of the type its premium tools offer. In fact, the free version seems primarily aimed at getting users to upgrade to the premium software. Ocster Backup Freeware certainly works well as a fail-safe for critical data, and it enables users to access Ocster's online data storage service. But you need more than it offers to fully protect your system.