US$69 / AU$57 at IvyBackup
I was expecting good things from the US$69 / AU$57 IvyBackup when I first
fired it up. I've expressed the thought numerous times that backup
programs should use formats that can be opened without the need for
proprietary software. IvyBackup uses the common Zip and .VHD
formats rather than proprietary containers. Nice.
IvyBackup also supports two destinations per job (local and
online), a partial implementation of another feature I lobby for:
one data set, many destinations. Kudos to Kudu Computing Ltd.
(Sorry, I had to…)
As you might imagine, I was predisposed to a favorable opinion.
Alas, while I love that the program implements my favorite feature
requests, and I have high hopes for this program's future,
instances of poor error-checking and logging render me less than
enthusiastic about this current incarnation.
IvyBackup offers both image and file/folder backup. Image files
are saved in common .vhd format that Windows creates and
understands. Again, this means that should you lose the program, or
are recovering data at some time in a distant future where
IvyBackup doesn't exist, you will still be able mount the image on
any Windows PC (and most other operating systems) and recover the
files inside. Nice.
file and folder backup to .zip files, plain file mirroring, as well
as imaging to the common .vhd (virtual hard drive) format.
Files and folder backups may be full (everything you select),
incremental (all changes to your selections since the last backup),
differential (all changes in your selections since the last full
backup), or mirrored. The three former are zipped, another nice nod
to easy, independent recovery. The latter is a plain file copy
without any container or compression so you can browse it using
nothing more than Windows Explorer.
You don't need to use these facilities, as IvyBackup has a
guided restore function, but they're nice future-proofing.
IvyBackup supports Dropbox, Google Drive, and pDrive as
secondary locations for backup (another feature I love). Sadly, it
doesn't support One Drive, the service I use. It does, however,
support FTP/FTPS/SFTP, which can be handy, and you can also use any
The major normal backup options are all present: scheduling,
filters, pre- and post-backup actions, command-line functions, plus
logs and reports you'll hear more about in a bit.
Interface and ease of use
I like the clean look of IvyBackup, though I don't love the
mismatched font sizes or overall approach used in the main window.
There are too many icons and labels, plus you're needlessly forced
to jump back and forth between home, job, backups, reports, etc. I
find the object-oriented approach—where there's a task, and all the
immediate actions are available a single location—quicker and more
is clean looking, though a bit more cluttered than it needs to be.
Shown here is a performance graph taken early on in testing.
The dialogs on the other hand, step you through the
backup-creation and restore processes nicely. Once you're used to
the program, it's no big deal, but IvyBackup's main interface could
be more efficient.
There were also some minor visual flaws. On my 5K display with
Windows scaled up, dialogs were the wrong size to begin with, and
didn't remember my adjustments. You can scroll their contents, but
the constant tweaking became frustrating quickly. Also, after
cancelling a backup, the icon on the taskbar didn't update for
quite a while, showing it still running.
Most users running more common resolutions and scaling won't
encounter these issues, but they are something developers should
The file and mirror backups I set up all succeeded quickly and
without any fuss. However, two attempts to image my C drive failed
for no apparent reason. The program just quit the process with no
error message and the report seemed to think everything had gone
off without a hitch.
Neither did the more detailed PDF log files offer any clue about
the failures. The specified backup file simply didn't exist.
Dropbox, Google Drive, and pCloud as online destinations.
A bit of experimentation revealed the issue. The 500GB partition
I was attempting to image had approximately 250GB worth of data. I
assumed that IvyBackup would default to imaging only the data-laden
sectors and that the 400GB of free space on the drive I was backing
up to would be adequate. Such was not the case.
A third attempt and subsequent runs using a destination with 2TB
of free space were successful. Successful, yes—the VHDX file was a
whopping 670GB in size, significantly more than twice the amount of
data I wanted to back up. It does, however, appear that the
program's imaging routine works just fine—if you have enough space
for the resulting VHD/VHDX file.
It's likely that the copy is raw, sector-by-sector, whether
sectors contain known data or not. If that's the case, this could
be handy for data recovery of deleted files, etc. But it does eat
up large amounts of storage capacity. I saw no option to change
Bottom line: Allowing the user to select a destination that
doesn't have enough space for a backup is a no-no. Not informing
the user post failure, or even recognizing the failure, makes for a
While IvyBackup was eventually successful in all test operations
(given proper manual calculation of space requirements), backup
programs, for obvious reasons, should demonstrate bulletproof
programming. IvyBackup currently doesn't. Add that to the rather
steep price tag, and this version of IvyBackup is tough for me to
I hope the developers straighten out these issues, as
non-proprietary containers and dual local/online destinations are
great basic features. They might also consider lowering the price.
We'll take another look if there are significant improvements.