• United States

Burn your backups

May 05, 20034 mins
Backup and RecoveryRouters

Backup Now Deluxe makes backing up to CDs or DVDs secure and easy

Now that your financial records are reasonably up to date, at least through the end of last year for tax purposes, let me harp once again on the importance of data backup — specifically CD and DVD backup options. This week I’ll offer a product review; next, I’ll tell you about a small Dallas firm selling DVD data archive services. 

NewTech Infosystems makes a handful of products for writing CDs and DVDs. I tested Backup Now Deluxe 3.0 ($79.99), which includes Backup Now for file backup and Drive Backup for disk image backup. The latter you use for emergency disk repair and to recreate a system on a reformatted or replaced hard drive. NewTech offers free trial versions for each for download.

Backup Now Installation went smoothly, so I rebooted my Dell Pentium III 450 (128M bytes RAM running Windows 2000) and started the program.

As a good backup utility should, Backup Now steps you through choosing files to backup and prompts you to name the backup configuration. All PC drives, including network connections, appeared in the Explorer-like backup application window. You can back up any files your PC can access, including those on other PCs sharing their hard drives using Windows peer-to-peer networking. This feature is a must-have for any backup program. Getting one person to back up reliably is tough enough, but getting everyone in a small office to back up is nearly impossible. You need to back up the files on every PC you can reach.

Backup locations include the same list of drives, so you can also back up to a network-attached storage device or another PC. The Drive Spanning feature spreads a big backup across multiple CD or DVD disks. If you have two drives mounted on your PC, the program will automatically move to the second when the first fills up.

Backup configurations must be given a name. Backup Now creates a default for you, but a descriptive name will help keep you organized. The individual backup file must be given a name also and needs to follow file name conventions, meaning you can’t use slashes for the date, for instance. You can exclude file types by clicking on a display of all file extensions or accept the default of all files. If you don’t want to backup .386 device driver files you can avoid it, and if you want to back up .DOC files only, you can use the Include option to narrow your backed up files.

When you start the backup, the program counts down 30 seconds to give you time to stick your blank CD or DVD into the drive. On my system, the Task Manager showed that Backup Now died during the backup process to my USB-attached Iomega CD writer. Yet the program ran fine, so don’t give up if the same thing happens to you.

You can configure the backup process to compress files, verify files after backup and append files to an already-used disk (assuming there’s room). You can also provide a password, adding security to your backup files. Just don’t forget it.

Restoration — sometimes a pain with tape backup — was a snap. I deleted a file deep inside the directory tree I backed up, and the program identified and restored the file in a blink. You can let the program restore files to their original locations, as I did, or restore them to any specified disk location.

Yes, you can just copy files to a CD or DVD yourself, but you lose convenience. You also lose security options such as password protection and compression to cram more files onto a single CD or DVD. Check out Backup Now or at least be sure any backup software you buy matches its feature list.