I must admit, I'm a fan of the Windows Metro interface, albeit not the way it's tacked onto Windows 8. That might predispose me to like Genie Timeline Backup 2012 Free, which has embraced the Metro look and feel big time. However, I'm actually predisposed toward the program because when I previously reviewed the pay version, Genie Timeline, I found it to be solid, effective, efficient, and easy to use.

The free version of Genie Timeline Backup has all those attributes--though being free it is somewhat limited compared to the $40 Home and $60 Professional versions. You can't change the scheduling or set email notifications. There's also no disaster recovery, and the program is limited to a single backup job. Nor can you set a limit on revisions, or cull them, so a backup could eventually grow very large.

What you can do with Genie Timeline Backup 2012 Free is select any files or folders you want backed up using Computer tab. Or you can rely on the program's wisdom and use the numerous filters under the Smart Selection tab (the default view) that automatically select files for you. The list of smart selections includes email, the Desktop, the My Documents folder, office (not just Microsoft) files, financial files (Quicken, etc.), iTunes music, Blackberry files, pictures, video, music, bookmarks, ebooks and pdfs, and even compressed and ISO files. Genie Timeline recognizes the extensions of the files, but won't let you define your own selection filters.

I do have one nit with Genie, in that the company occasionally uses the phrase "real time" in its advertising. Timeline Backup 2012 does not do real-time backup, which is monitoring and saving files immediately as they change. NTI Shadow does that. Genie Timeline merely backs up changes at predefined intervals: every eight hours with the free version, as little as every 30 minutes with Home, and every 3 minutes with Pro. You can call this CDP (Continuous Data Protection), but not real time.

As a simple file backup program to augment Window's own disaster recovery, Genie Timeline Backup 2012 Free is just what the doctor ordered. It doesn't even bug you with ads outside of the upgrade button in the main Window. Give it a whirl.