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6/16/2005 With the Summer months ahead of us, now is as better a time than any to really consider setting up a schedule to back up your data. Not only will backing up your critical files give you a sense of security, it will save you money and potential grief in the long run, because in the event that your hard drive crashes and you haven't backed up, and there is data that you need to recover from that hard drive, it is going to cost you a lot of money to access that data. And that is if that data can be accessed at all. Those of us who use digital cameras especially need to understand the importance of being backed up, because if your digital shoebox goes south, all your digital images will go with it.
So, spend a little money now for at least a bit of piece of mind that your important data is residing at some other place besides your hard drive. And when you do make a backup, make a backup of that backup. In this article, I am going to take a look at two different backup options for your desktop. One is the Maxtor One Touch II backup solution and the other is the Iomega REV drive backup solution. While both are backup and storage devices, both take different approaches to the hardware involved in the backup. The Maxtor One Touch II is essentially a hard drive in an enclosure that is tied together via Dantz Retrospect Express backup software, while the Iomega REV drive is cartridge based, relying on 35GB hard drive cartridges to back up data via the included Iomega Backup Pro Software for Windows, or the Dantz Retrospect Express backup software for Macintosh users. We'll take a look at both of the backup solutions within this article from a user perspective.
Iomega's REV Drive
The Iomega REV drive is an external FireWire based storage solution that uses cartridge drives in 35GB capacities to store and back up data. The device offers a 25MB/per second transfer rate and also features random access technology so it acts just like a hard drive. Because the drive relies on 35GB cartridges, storage possibilities are only as limited as your pocketbook.
Installing and configuring the Rev Drive is straightforward. The QuickStart guide asks that you install the software first, which was a painless process. In my case, I did have to update Roxio's Easy CD Creator because the software detected it was installed on the computer, and to avoid potential conflicts with the REV drive, it directed me to the Roxio website to update the software. After this, the software directed me to restart the computer, connect the FireWire and AC adapter and connect them. After the restart, the Iomega software asked if the drive was visible in a provided dialog box. It was. A yes click and and the drive was successfully installed. The entire process took less than 10 minutes.
The disk that comes with the drive however is formatted for the Macintosh, so the drive had to be formatted for Windows, which was a simple click of a button. Once you format the disk, the Iomega Automatic Backup Pro window opens and asks you to pick a backup task. You have two choices, to Protect my Entire System, which includes the operating system, applications, settings, and data; and to Protect My Data, which includes the files and folders of your choosing.
Protect My Entire System
When you click Protect My Entire System, the software runs you through a series of windows, including the name you wish to give the backup, the backup destination and whether you wish to wait to choose media until backup begins or overwrite existing image when creating new image and what compression level (none, low, high) you wish to choose for your backup. The next window is Schedule Backup Interval. Here you can choose to manually launch the backup session, select it to back up at a set hour interval, such as every three hours, or day, such as every three days, or, you can set the software to backup on a specific day at a certain time, such as every Friday at 5pm.
The next window enables you to password protect your backup with encryption, so your backup is secure. or of course you can choose not to encrypt the backup. The following window gives you a review of the settings that you just configured for your backup session. And finally, the setup complete window enables you to Create an additional System backup Configuration, Create a Data backup configuration, and complete the setup. After you choose one of the options, you are set to backup.
Protect My Data
This option enables you to backup only the data that you want to back up, as opposed to backing up the entire system, which creates a backup to recover your entire system, including software and settings. To backup the files that only you wish to back up, the software directs you to add your selected files and folders by either dragging and dropping them from a Windows Explorer window or clicking the add button, which then opens a Windows Explorer window.
Once you have added the files and folders that you wish to backup, you can then filter the files for inclusion or exclusion in the backup. See image above. For example, if you wish to only backup media files such as JPG or GIF files, or QuickTime and Windows Media Files, then you can include only those types of files and exclude everything else in the folder. Or perhaps you only want to save project files, the same exclusion would apply. You then choose the media that you wish to save the data to, which would be the REV drive. Click OK and you are sent back to the Iomega Automatic backup Configurations window, which details the backup jobs that you have scheduled.
The One Touch II from Maxtor
The Maxtor One Touch II is essentially a traditional hard disk drive in an external enclosure with FireWire and USB connections and a power supply. The drive spins at the industry standard 7200 rpms with a 16MB cache. The advertised sustained transfer rate of the drive via USB is 34MB/second and 41MB/second for FireWire.
The Maxtor One Touch II uses Dantz's backup software, Retrospect Express HD. It takes a slightly different approach to backup. The opening backup screen offers two types of backup; Comprehensive backup, which is the recommended solution, creates restore points for recovering older versions of files or the entire computer, or Duplicate, which saves a copy of the latest version of your files, which in turn overwrites previous versions of the files.
If you follow the Comprehensive route, the software asks you what you want to backup, and your choices here are the entire PC, specific files and folders, or files by type. These choices are flexible enough so if you are working with media files and need to backup just the video files, you can choose to do so.