Monday, February 25, 2008

Automatic backup made easy

I have been looking for a truly simple, straightforward backup solution for several years. All of the ones I had seen required some intervention to make the backup work. I had to choose which files to backup, or load some software onto my computer, or trust my data to an online storage company. While my email, accounting and customer data are backed up daily via our company server, all the other files on my tablet like attachments and photos and PowerPoints required a manual process.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, I checked out an automatic backup system called GoClickFree and was so impressed I bought one to try out. Here is how it works:

1. Make sure your computer is on
2. Plug the device into a USB port
3. After the device installs itself, it backs up all your data files
4. Unplug it and put it in a safe place

I did the above when it arrived the other day and it automatically backed up the 16Gb of data files (it doesn't do program files but you could set it for that - those are better reloaded from the original CDs if your tablet is lost, stolen or crashed). The inital backup is the longest because after that, GoClickFree just backs up files that have changed. My initial backup took just over one hour and I was able to work easily (albeit a little slow) while the backup worked in the background.
A VERY COOL FEATURE IS that after the majority of the backup was complete, a message came up on the screen advising me that several open applications were about to be backed up and would be unavailable for a short time (just 1-2 minutes for me). This is great because if you have a just completed PowerPoint or new spreadsheet or never close your Outlook (like me), the device still backs those items up for you.

Not trusting the backup, I wanted to see exactly what was and wasn't there. First, I looked at the summary of files that the device backed up.

Next, I used Google Desktop to search for spreadsheets on my computer and on the GoClickFree device (which containes a 120Gb hard drive). Google Desktop found the same files, whether they were on my desktop, in My Documents or elsewhere on the hard drive. So did the GoClickFree device. Yeah!
Restoring files is nearly as easy. If you need to restore everything due to a hardware crash, that is a single click on Restore All. If you need to restore a single file, you must navigate to the folder and file you want to restore. You can then put it in the folder where you want it or restore it to another location.
For just $169, I think this is a great value because it is so simple. The device fits in a short pocket or small purse. THE BEST PART is that the software is all on the device - you load NOTHING on your tablet. And if your tablet (or laptop) gets lost/stolen/damaged, there is no software to load before you restore - just plug the device in and let 'er rip.
If you want one of these, we now have them on our website.

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