I have a multi-OS household so I've gotten to see Apple's Time Machine up close and personal. Here's what it does:
1) You plug in a USB drive (or configure it to point at a Time Capsule or at a Linux netatalk share configured to look like a Time Capsule), and then it just works. Nothing else to do.
2) If you want to restore a file or directory, you just use their Finder/Explore-like UI to choose the date (or just the latest date), then drill down to the file or directory you want, and drag it out to your desktop. Then you can move it to where you want it.
3) If your hard drive crashes, you just re-install MacOS from scratch on the new hard drive, and near the end of the process it asks you, "Do you want to restore from your Time Machine backup?" Answer "Yes", and then a few hours later you're back to your desktop as of within less than an hour of when the hard drive crashed, with all your programs, data, and settings.
4) If you buy a new Mac, one of the first things it asks you is, "do you want to migrate your programs and settings from a Time Machine backup of your old computer?" You answer "Yes", and then a few hours later you're back to your desktop exactly as it was when you turned off your old computer after its last backup, with all your programs, data, and settings.
So: I have this nifty new HP Envy 17 laptop. It screams because I got a 120GB SSD as the C: drive and a 750GB hybrid drive for the D: drive and a quad core 2.6Ghz Core I7 Ivy Bridge processor. This is my new desktop replacement laptop. But one thing that is apparent is that Windows Backup that comes with Windows 7 is no Time Machine
. This is a problem I haven't faced before -- personal backup of a Windows machine -- because my previous Windows experience is on corporate networks where we store all our files and data on the file server and if the machine crashes just re-image it and join it back to the domain and there ya go. But that doesn't work for a personal laptop where I want my data to go with me when I haul it to a job site.
So: Is there any backup software for Windows that does the first three things that Time Machine does? I.e., does incremental/differential backups on a continuous basis, allows restoring individual files, and allows restoring the *entire system* including all data, programs, and system settings as of the last backup? (Don't care about the migration, I can manually migrate my data, that's what I did to get it onto this laptop on the first place after all!). Thus far I've found two programs typically touted as being "like time machine": Altara Oops Backup and Genie9 Timeline. But Altaro Oops Backup will only do #1 and #2, it won't do #3 (restore the entire system as of the last backup). What about Timeline? Has anybody used it and have anything to report about its ability to do #3?