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Author: Steve Weinberg
Date: June, 2004
that vile word that everybody knows or hears about, but generally ignores. Here’s
a program, Backup PLUS (http://www.backupplus.net/) 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.
Three years ago, I reviewed Avantrix’ Backup Plus Version 6. Version 7
offers an improved interface, many fixes, improvements and some niceties.
Installation was quick and easy. Note that the format of the backup files has
changed from Version 6 and is not compatible with Version 7.
Backup PLUS 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. A single file is produced that contains all of your backed
up files with a choice of compression. There is an option to password protect
the backup, as well. The more compression used, the slower the backup. 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!
Note that this is not necessary as the program provides a very useful “Restore”
tool that lets you select files or whole directories to restore and place in
the original location or a new location. The latter functionality is good for
comparing versions of files that have changed.
For large backups, or those larger than the removable media, Backup PLUS has
the ability to span multiple disks.
New in this version is the ability to save a default backup location/destination.
This saves having to specify this each time you use it. Better progress bars
show what’s going on more accurately than in the past. Overall speed is
good though I’m using a faster CD burner than I’ve done on the past.
It took about 20 minutes to burn a CD with 606 megabytes of data including compressing
them prior to burning.
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. A nice feature is the programs memory of your tasks. I have
several tasks defined and can tell the last time each was completed. Some of
mine include backup of: e-mail, documents, website sources, pictures and financial
data. One of the great features is the ability to create incremental backups.
This refers to the “freshening” of the files on a backup disk. For
example, let’s say I backup all my web source data to a CD-RW disk today.
It might take 10 minutes. During the next week, I change a couple of links on
one of the RPCUG website pages. When I use Backup Plus a week from now it only
writes the changes that have occurred to the files. Consequentially, it might
take only 30 seconds to “freshen” the CD-RW with the changes which
puts it in sync with the latest data on my hard drive.
Installation was a snap. Manual not required. Order it from the Internet for
$39.95 at: http://www.backupplus.net/.
There is a free trial version available on the website.
This program has a very unusual Help feature. It actually has information that
is useful in contrast to most of the programs I've used. It seems as though
many vendors treat the Help functionality as a necessary evil and just through
lots of information in a searchable help file most of which never seeming to
fit your needs. When I wanted to find out how to turn off the "Tray Icon" for
the "Timed Backup" functionality, it took me mere seconds to get to the information
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. Note that this is not meant or recommended as a means to backup your
entire system. It's all about backing up your personal data files. Documents,
financial data and other critical information is now on your computer instead
of written down somewhere. If you lose it, you'll be hard pressed to get it
back again without lots of time and energy spent to do so.
I used Backup Plus on a Pentium 4, 1.5 gigahertz system with 384 megabytes of
RAM running Windows XP. Minimum requirements are considerably less than that.
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