WIth an unfriendly interface and high price, there are better options to be found
This review was updated on the 13/09/2011 after a group test of 13 popular online backup and file syncing services
Although Symantec’s Norton range of security software is mostly excellent, we’ve not been so impressed by its backup service in the past, largely because of the basic web interface that also manages to feel unfriendly. Sadly, this hasn’t changed much. All the controls for backups are located in the web interface – the local client simply directs to you a web page. At least the client is easy to install.
The service immediately started calculating the amount of storage required to back up the default categories: Internet Favourites, Office Docs, Financial Files, Contacts and Pictures. This left us staring at a progress bar that took a very long time to finish – even a PC with minimal data stored on it took the better part of hour to index.
Once the scan was complete, we could use the Settings for each of the PCs – up to a maximum of five – to select additional files and folders to back up. Settings can only be adjusted for the PC being used, though – there’s no central administration facility. Backups can be scheduled to run daily, weekly, monthly or automatically, and there are options to throttle the speed of backups and configure alerts and notifications.
Restoring and sharing files via email is carried out via the same web interface. There’s a tree view of all backed up files, plus a search facility by file name or type. It works, but it’s slow when there are lots of files backed up. It’s not possible to share entire folders.
The lack of a convenient local application and the clumsiness of the web interface makes everything feel more complicated than it should be. It also gets very expensive if the 25GB online storage proves insufficient for your five PCs. Storage upgrades range from 5GB at £30 a year to 50GB at £90 a year. This doesn’t compare well with the unlimited storage provided by services such as Livedrive.