Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 8 Desktop Edition PC Review - -

Installation 9.0
Ease of use 8.0
Usefulness 8.6
Value 8.8
Distributor: Symantec
Review Date:
April 2008
Edward Millarion


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Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 8 Desktop Edition

Symantec's Backup Exec returns, featuring a plethora of new options in Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 8 Desktop Edition that is the probably the most definitive backup software available. My personal favourite feature of this utility is the “Offsite Backup Copy” which allows you to create recovery points to an offsite destination through FTP, network sharing or external hard drives, ensuring a broader range of options should a doomsday scenario occur. Users using USB drives will be pleased to know that even if your drive letter changes, the software intelligently communicates to the USB drive, ensuring a flawless backup. How's that for some great new features?


Key Features

  • Recover complete Windows desktops or laptops in minutes to same hardware, dissimilar hardware or virtual environments with the Restore Anyware™ technology

  • Create real-time, while-you-work recovery points of the entire system and save to any disk-storage device

  • Enables offsite backup copy to an FTP location or secondary disk drive for enhanced disaster recovery capabilities

  • Search and retrieve files and folders in seconds via Google Desktop or Backup Exec Retrieve

Key Benefits

  • Rapid and reliable system recovery even from a bare-metal state, without the need to reinstall and reconfigure operating systems, applications, system settings, and preferences.

  • Eliminate backup windows by capturing the entire live Windows system, without disrupting user productivity or application usage

  • Simplifies and extends your data and disaster recovery capabilities

  • Centrally manage backup and recovery tasks for multiple desktops/laptops across your entire organization (via Backup Exec System Recovery Manager)


What sets Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery apart from its competitors is the intuitive and simple to use interface that no matter what your computer experience is, you should have no issues whatsoever in mastering this powerful software package. The interface is neatly divided into a variety of menus on the top (File, View, Tasks, Computers, Help) and a list of icons in the left navigation pane which include Home, Status, Tasks, Tools and Advanced. By clicking on either of those icons, it will bring up the relevant section in the main right window pane.

The Home icon will give you a status of your backup and allows the user to manage their backups, recover their computer or files with just a click of a button for some great backup wizards. The Status area displays a calendar which displays your recovery points for your various backups and when the backup last occurred. Tasks is where the user manages their backups and also recover their files and computer.

Tools offers the user to manage their backup destination, copy a recovery point, convert to virtual disk and copy their hard drive from one to another. Lastly, for the more experienced user is the Advanced area which gives the user a variety of more user defined options plus some extremely in-depth logs and progress views.



New Features

Innovative technologies in Backup Exec System Recovery enable you to recover complete Windows systems in minutes, not hours or days, making Backup Exec System Recovery the gold standard in complete Windows system recovery

Offsite Backup Copy

Automatically copy recovery points (backups) to a remote server using FTP or to an external hard drive or network share to enhance your disaster recovery efforts

Symantec ThreatCon Integration

Easily configure Backup Exec System Recovery to automatically run a backup when the Symantec ThreatCon level reaches or exceeds the level specified. This feature ties directly into Symantec's global DeepSite ThreatCon infrastructure.

USB Drive Identification

Backup Exec System Recovery intelligently and uniquely communicates to USB drives, running backup jobs to the given device even if the drive letter changes.

Flexible Data Recovery Capabilities

Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition delivers many data recovery capabilities, simplifying the recovery of individual files and folders. Features include:

  • Recovers individual files and folders in seconds from either recovery points or file/folder backups

  • Enables end-user recovery of files and folders via Google Desktop or Backup Exec Retrieve using a common web-browser interface for fast and simple recovery, without IT intervention

Revolutionary, Simple User Interface

Calendar view shows past, present and future recovery points and the protection level for each volume on the system, including backed up, attention needed or at risk.

  • Simple, Easy-To-Use

  • Incorporates Automated Best Practice Decision Making and Reporting

Dissimilar Hardware Restoration with Restore Anyware

Rapid recovery of entire systems to dissimilar hardware breaks the barrier of incompatible storage controllers and hardware abstraction layers, thereby reducing recovery times and saving significant hardware investments. Combines hot-imaging with the ability to restore to different hardware platforms on the fly.

  • NIC driver retargeting supports hardware-independent NIC drivers

  • Perform complete hardware migrations with ease using Restore Anyware

Continued Virtual Support

Leverages the power of virtualization, enabling seamless physical to virtual (P2V) and virtual to physical (V2P) conversions for VMware ESX Server, VMware Server (formerly GSX Server), VMware Workstation, and Microsoft Virtual Server disk formats. Convert entire systems at once or select volumes at a time.

  • Easy-to-use, intuitive virtual conversion wizard allows for quick conversion directly to VMDK or VHD files

  • Allows for pre-flight testing of patches, installations in the virtual environment before applying changes to production systems

Customizable Symantec Recovery Disk

Simplifies and speeds system recovery by allowing IT administrators to build their own recovery environment with drivers unique to their hardware needs. It automatically harvests system drivers from the system on which the customizable SRD is being created. It also allows for manual inclusion of additional 3rd party drivers with the ability to burn to CD or .iso format.

Customizable Event Driven Recovery Points

Allows users to specify executable(s) or .com files for which recovery points should be triggered. Users can also select to automatically capture recovery points prior to application installation, user logon or logoff, and configurable storage utilization changes.

Integration with Altiris Notification Server 6.5

Manage system backup tasks directly in Altiris Notification Server 6.5 using Backup Exec System Recovery and the Backup Exec System Recover Integration Component for Altiris.

Review (Continued...)


Speed is a major factor in backup software and we were pleased to report that Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition is one of the fastest programs on the market which was on our Windows Vista 64-bit operating system with 4GB of RAM and an AMD Phenom 9600 CPU.


However it should be noted that it is impossible to accurately measure backup speeds due to the complexities of systems and files but given our experience, we can report that this program has a huge edge over its competitors. Best of all, restoring files or even complete operating systems was as simple as clicking an icon and “presto”, the software began restoring the entire hard drive. Even over our wireless network, the speed was constant and successfully restored.

Although selecting what files you wished to restore, times or entire hard drive contents have been a feature in most backup utilities, Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop also features a similar premise, however with the inclusion of “Google desktop” and the web-based interface, those budding system administrators or novice users will easily be able to restore those individual files, folders or entire hard drives.

Previous users will be pleased to know that Symantec goes beyond their existing virtual drives by supporting a plethora of standards and my second favourite aspect, the ability to install software on the virtual environment before installing it onto the production software. Needles to say, a very important feature that is extremely important in this day and age of upgrades and updates.

The system requirements of Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop are quite low which is perfect for individuals or organisations with budgetary constraints. Best of all (again), the product supports a variety of Windows operating systems from Windows 2000 Professional to Windows Vista Enterprise, ensuring that this software can be used by a broad variety of operating systems.

In conclusion, Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition is the definitive backup and recovery software for the 21st century that not only targets the novice computer user but also the professional system administrator. The new and improved interface that is extremely user friendly with the inclusion of a variety of new features such as real-time backups, virtual environments, off-site backups and the Google desktop is the perfect accessory and necessity for Windows based operating systems.

System Requirements

Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition

Operating Systems Supported

Windows 32-bit or 64-bit operating systems:
  • Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business or Enterprise
  • Windows XP Professional/Home (SP2 or later) or Media Center
  • Windows 2000 Professional (SP4 or later)


  • 233 MHz or greater, as required by the operating system

RAM Requirements for All Platforms

Memory requirements per key components:
  • Backup Exec System Recovery Agent: 256 MB
  • Backup Exec System Recovery user interface and Recovery Point Browser: 256 MB
  • Symantec Recovery Disk: 512 MB minimum (dedicated), or 768 MB minimum (dedicated) for the multilingual version of the Symantec Recovery Disk
  • Backup Exec System Recovery LightsOut Restore: 1 GB

Available Hard Disk Space

  • Approximately 250-300 MB for the entire product, depending on the language of the product you are installing
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0: 280 MB of hard disk space required for 32-bit computers, and 610 MB for 64-bit computers
  • Recovery points: Sufficient hard disk space on a local hard disk or network server for storing recovery points
  • Backup Exec System Recovery LightsOut Restore: 2 GB

CD-Rom or DVD-ROM Drive

The drive can be any speed, but it must be bootable from the BIOS in order to boot the Symantec Recovery Disk CD-ROM. Backup Exec System Recovery uses Gear Software technology. To verify that your CD writer or DVD writer is compatible, visit You can look up information about your writer if you know the name of the manufacturer and model number of your writer.


The .NET Framework 2.0 is required to run Backup Exec System Recovery. If the .NET Framework is not already installed, Backup Exec System Recovery initiates a prompt to install it for you.

Virtual Platforms (for converted recovery points)

  • VMware ESX Server 2.5 and 3.0
  • VMware Infrastructure 3 (replacement/rename for ESX Server)
  • VMware GSX Server 3.1 and 3.2
  • VMware Server 1.0 (replacement/rename for GSX Server)
  • VMware Workstation
  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2


  • Intel Pentium III: 1 GHz or higher; Pentium 4: 3.0 GHz or higher recommended

Operating Systems Supported

Backup Exec System Recovery Manager Console
  • Windows Vista Home Basic, Premium, Ultimate, Business
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions (SP1)
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Editions (SP1)
  • Windows Server 2003 (SP1)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SP1)
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server (SP4)
  • Windows 2000 Server (SP4) and Update Rollup 1 for SP4
  • Windows Small Business Server 2000 (SP4)
  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (SP1)
  • Windows XP Professional (SP1)
  • Windows 2000 Professional (SP4)

Backup Exec System Recovery Manager Server

  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions (SP1)
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Editions (SP1)
  • Windows Server 2003 (SP1)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2003 (SP1)

RAM Requirements

Memory requirements per key components:
  • Backup Exec System Recovery Manager server: 1 GB
  • Backup Exec System Recovery Manager console: Dependent on the operating system

Available Hard Disk Space

The hard disk space requirements for each component are as follows:
  • Backup Exec System Recovery Manager console: 100 MB
  • Backup Exec System Recovery Manager server: 750 MB
  • Backup Exec Retrieve: 15 MB
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0: 280 MB (32-bit computers); 610 MB (64-bit computers)
  • Storage space on the network for the recovery points


Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 is required to run Backup Exec System Recovery Manager and Backup Exec System Recovery on client computers. When you start the Backup Exec System Recovery Manager console for the first time, .NET is automatically installed if it does not already exist or an older version exists.
  • Note: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 must be installed on client computers before you install Management Control.


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