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Review: BackupPLUS, Version 6.0
Backup! There's that vile word that everybody knows or hears about, but generally ignores. Here's a program, BackupPLUS from Avantrix, Inc., that will ease the pain of doing that time-wasting, dreaded, non-productive task. Please, realize that I am being sarcastic here. Backing up your critical data files is one of the most important and productive things you can do in your computing life. All you need is an instance when you removed a file or changed it and you will have to spend hours upon hours recreating or re-installing. This will convince you of the worth of a recent backup.
BackupPLUS is a solid performer with an easy-to-use interface that covers all the bases for most of us. It can to be used to backup your data files, not a complete system for disaster recovery. You can backup to just about any media except tape. I backed up my critical data files to my CD on a CDRW disk and then restored to a new location to compare files. Quick and easy with perfect restoration of the originals. Good compression is achieved using the standard ZIP compression. I even used WinZIP (WinZip Computing, Inc., http://www.winzip.com/) to examine and restore a selection of files from the backup set. How convenient!
For large backups, or those larger than the removable media (floppy disk, Zip Disk, Jaz Disk, CDR, CDRW, etc.), BackupPLUS has the ability to span multiple disks. I tested this with multiple floppy disks. It worked well and quickly. I even restored from a multiple floppy disk set with no problems.
A "wizard" is included that helps to create backup sets (a definition of which files and folders should be backed up). It worked well in creating the backup set, however, I had to re-select the backup set before I could use it when I had selected floppy disks as the target of the backup.
Installation was a snap. Manual not required. However, the 77-page manual supplied is quite good at explaining backups and how to use this utility. The shipped version comes with the manual. Or order it from the Internet for $39.95 at: http://www.backupplus.net/. To get the CD and manual shipped, spend only $44.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling.
BackupPLUS worked very well for me and I will continue to use it. One particularly good feature is the ability to display the backup tasks that I've defined and the date when each was last run (see graphic). There is, also, the ability to set up "timed backups" that will run at predetermined times. My home computer is not on at scheduled times, so this is not an option useful to me. It would also mean that I would have to make sure that I had my backup media of choice (my CDRW) in place at the time of the scheduled backup.
Some negatives were, there is no way I could find to remove a backup set definition. Note that I could easily remove the backup file definition from Windows Explorer. It is not totally Windows compliant. Some windows show a grayed out 'X' box in the upper right corner when they shouldn't, some windows are not re-sizable and no double-click is available on some file selections. BackupPLUS will backup the Windows Registry for many of the Windows versions, but it does not yet do so for Windows 2000. This is a down side for me and I hope that there will be an update from Avantrix that will cover this soon. I have not had a problem with Windows 2000 Registry and hope not to. I hope not to have to use the restoration features of BackupPLUS either. But, I would be more comfortable if I knew this capability was available.
All things considered, the negatives are very minimal. You should have and use a backup of some sort. BackupPLUS should be a strong contender to consider in your strategy for saving your critical data. Consider how long it has taken you to create your data and you might reconsider not backing it up.
System requirements: Pentium, 16 mb RAM, SVGA, 8 mb hard disk space