166 MHz Pentium or Faster
50mb Minimum Hard Disk space
Windows 95/98SE/ME/2000 or NT 4.0/XP Home or Pro
Backup Device such as CD/DVD/Tape/Jazz/Zip
We all know the importance of backing up our data on a regular basis, but how many of us actually have the time and are prepared to put the effort into backup? I know I certainly donít backup my data nearly enough, mainly because I canít be bothered and rely on my hard drive not to go wrong. This new software, Backup MyPC, produced by Stomp Inc claims to take the effort out of backup and make the whole process more automated.
ďThe loss of data can be catastrophic for individuals and businesses alike. `There is little question that computers have now become hi-tech safe deposit boxes. Without regular backups, computer data is completely vulnerable to disaster. Backup MyPC protects and restores the information that individuals and business canít afford to lose"
Stomp claim that this software is capable of restoring settings, data and applications at a touch of a button, itís a big claim to live up to Ė So can backup really be as simple as they make out? Letís hope so.
First of all Iím going to take a look at the requirements of this software, as listed above. You can see there is very little you actually need in terms of hardware. A basic computer would have no problems meeting these specs. Stomp have listed that you need some form of media to be able to use the software, such as CD or DVD. But itís not true to say that you require a CD burner or writer to backup your data. For instance the software does allow you to save a backup file, so you could save this file on to another hard disk drive or even transfer it across a network. Itís also nice to see that they have managed to support the latest version of windows, although I did discover that the disaster recovery feature is not yet compatiable with XP.
Stomp Inc very kindly sent us version 4.71 of Backup MyPC software. Pictured below is what we received:
The package Included:
Backup MyPC CDROM (including VERITAS StorageGaurd)
VERITAS StorageGuard is a small program Stomp have decided to include on their CDROM. It basically adds a tab to the properties of your hard disk, showing you how much data is protected and how much is unprotected and then on its recommendation allows a backup to take place. A small, but useful tool pictured below:
Iíve setup the program on a 1 GHz Athlon, with a 40gb hard drive Ė Ready to test by backing up 1gb of data. I have chosen to backup the data on to a CDR as many home users will be using this method, cheap and fast. The software also has support for other media, such as tape/CD-RW/Jaz/Zip. There is support for a USB storage device and possible a firewire device too. One of the great features this program has is its ability to span multiple media. If your backup job exceeds the space available on one piece of media, Backup MyPC simply prompts you to insert another blank media. This is a really useful feature, and will allow me to span two 650mb CDRís with the gigabyte of data.
When you fire the program up for the first time (see below), it greets you with the backup wizard. Here you can select to either backup your whole computer, or just the files you specify. For testing reasons Iím only going to select a gigabyte of data, so I wonít need the ďBackup my computer optionĒ.
Now the program prompts you to select the files that you require to be backed up, as you can see the size of the window is limited and I found it made files difficult to find, especially when you get into long directory structures. This is only a problem with the wizard as the normal program allows for a larger window in which to browse for files.
Below are the main options within the program including the backup wizard:
After pressing next a few times and choosing relevant options, the wizard is complete. Backup MyPC now allows you to compress the files you have selected and to either run the backup now or at a latter date. If you go into the latter date option you can choose more advanced options, such as dates and times for the backup to be run. After completion of the wizard your files are saved on to the selected media, and verification takes place (If specified). This process allows the computer to check the backed up files, with the original files.
ďIf you backup with the Verify Data option on, Backup MyPC will verify the data by reading it from the backup media after writing it and comparing it to data on the disk. Because verify data takes twice as long, you may choose to turn this option off. However it is strongly recommended to use this option, as it helps to ensure reliability of your backupsĒ
Below I have included some pictures of the process using a CD Burner:
As one CDR disk was filled to the brim data, the program ejected the full media and prompted for another disk. This couldnít be any easier, simply insert another disk and press ok. The drive once again spun up to burn the remaining 350mb of data. Once all the data has been burnt onto the disk, Backup MyPC generates a report allowing you to view any errors encountered.
Not the nicest of reports, but it does the job Ė listing times, dates and file sizes. It has to be said that the report is useful when it comes to finding out which, if any, files had errors.
The True Test
Stomp Inc has added a ďDisaster RecoveryĒ function to the program allowing you to re-install your whole operating system, your applications your data and individual settings. This is a vital part of the program; unfortunately Iím not going to test it for obvious reasons (i.e. it involves a disaster! ;)). The feature I will be testing is the ďRestoreĒ function. This feature lets you to achieve the same results as the Disaster Recovery but in a greater number of steps because the OS and the applications need to be individually installed.
Ok, with the computer freshly formatted (the things I do in aid of a review <>) and Windows XP installed along with this vital piece of software, I can go about restoring the backed up. This isnít any more difficult than backing up the data in the first place; all that needs doing is to run the ďRestore WizardĒ. After a couple of steps, including selecting whether or not you want the data restored to its original location, everything is back as you specify. Simple, quick and easy!
I really enjoyed using this program, it proved more than simple to operate and didnít make a fuss. The spanning across multiple CDs also worked very efficiently and prompted when one media source was full, it even ejected the full CDR for me! There is very little bad to say about the program. Only the small problem with the locked window in the file browser and I would have liked some more options for the CD Burner, such as being able to change the speed that it was burning. Another useful feature would have been drag and drop support, although Iím not sure how this would have been incorporated into the software. I found the userís manual easy to follow and well set out, this was nicely complimented by a colourful help file and online help if you need it. All in all Backup MyPC has wide support for many types of media, which makes it perfect for both home and small business use. This coupled with superb ease of use gains the Back MyPC software an ICE hardware gold award. Visit Stomp Inc here where you can see Backup MyPC and a showcase of there other products.
+Easy to use
+Good help available
+Spanning of Media
+Could be cheaper ($79)
+Disaster Recovery feature currently not available under Windows XP.
Overall, i'm proud to award it the IceHardware gold award!