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Data Backup

by John Nouveaux

Data BackupSo, you want to backup your valuable data? But you need to synchronize a folder here, clone a hard drive there, and keep all the old versions of a special client's files in case they decide last Thursday's revision was the winner after all?

Why purchase two or more programs when you can do it all in one place? Data Backup (2.0.3) from Prosoft Engineering is a single-system backup program for Mac OS X, which can do all of the following:

 

  • Backup a folder or disk in its entirety
  • Incrementally backup changed files, keeping only the most recent version
  • Backup changed files, keeping all the old versions as well
  • Create a bootable clone of your boot drive
  • Synchronize the contents of two folders

Most of these options also support compressing the backup (to save disk space); encrypting the backup (to secure the backup from prying eyes); excluding specified files and folders from the backup; and scheduling the backup for automatic, unattended operation.

The interface for Data Backup is fairly simple-less intimidating than some other backup programs. In fact, the hardest part of the setup is getting your brain wrapped around the differences between the various backup types offered. Once there, however, backing up is a simple matter of selecting the type of backup, specifying the source to be backed up (or sources as multiple sources are supported), specifying the destination for the backup, selecting the encryption and/or compression options as appropriate, and specifying an exclusion list (a list of files to omit from the backup).

Finally, you schedule when the backups will run and check in later to make sure they worked - which is easily accomplished as the backed-up files are Finder compatible. But note: If you're using versioned backups, the older versions of the backed up files are stored in hidden folders - the thorough PDF manual explains how to find them).

That's pretty much it - oh, except you'll need to make sure you have enough disk space for your backups. If you decide to use the versioned backup type (which I personally can't recommend highly enough), Data Backup lets you manage the different versions. You may decide you no longer need all those versions older than a month, say, and can delete them from the backup.

Backups can be written to any mountable volume: internal and external disks, USB thumb drives, other removable media, and even CDs and DVD's using Apple's DiskBurn technology.

Backing up large amounts of files across multiple CDs/DVDs isn't Data Backup's forte and I've also had problems viewing and changing a schedule once set (tech support tells me they're considering fixing this in an upcoming release). I've also noticed that once I've defined a custom backup, any changes to that custom backup cause Data Backup to create an entirely new custom backup instead of replacing the existing custom backup as I would have expected. And, although the synchronization feature is not as customizable as in some other backup offerings, it's adequate for simple needs.

Although not perfect, Data Backup has become my primary backup program of choice (and I own a copy of most of them) it is sort of my Swiss Army Knife of backups.

Prosoft Engineering,Inc.
http://prosofteng.com/products/data_backup_info.php
Product Price: $59 (Single User License)
Product Requirements: Mac OS 10.2 or higher, 10MB disk space