Personal Backup X4

Backing up has to be one of the most boring things you ever have to do with your computer. It takes a long time, and usually involved lots of faffing about with arcane applications. Intego’s latest update to Personal Backup isn’t going to make backup exciting, but it does take some of the pain out of the process.

New features include predefined scripts to back up the most precious of your documents, your music, videos and your work (probably in that order). It’s not groundbreaking, but convenient at least.

The interface is clean and simple, especially when you compare it with older backup utilities like Dantz Retrospect. Granted, it doesn’t have the raw power of Retrospect, but there isn’t much it lacks, and is perfect for personal use.

There are five types of backup available to the user: backup, synchronize, clone, archive and move. All are subtly different, but necessary, though the difference may have novices searching for the manual (available thought the Help menu). Backup is straightforward enough, it copies selected files on your Mac to an external drive, network drive or removable media such as a CD or DVD. Synchronize is helpful to make sure you have the right files on a PowerBook before you go on the road.

The clone feature copies your whole drive to another one, including all invisible files. The resulting clone will be bootable and identical in every way to your original drive. This is handy for making portable boot drives, or backing up your system before an update.

If you have a lot of data that you need to keep, but don’t mind if you don’t see it for a while, the archive function is ideal. It uses compression to make a single file from any number of files from your drive. It means the data isn’t readable unless you restore the files, but it will save disk space.

The scripting function sounds like it might get a bit technical, but the user is guided though the options one at a time. There are seven screens with straightforward questions, including the ability to schedule the script to happen when you are not using your computer.

If you are comfortable with more technical features then Personal Backup does have them. You can link scripts, and use Automator Actions, you can even back up Spotlight searches if you are using Tiger. Backups can be to local storage, or networked disks. You can even back up to FTP sites.


Like the rest of the Intego applications, Personal Backup offers quite powerful features in an easy-to-understand interface. New users shouldn’t feel daunted by a complicated interface, and pros will enjoy the scripting features. Backup will never be fun, but at least with Persona Backup X4 it is easy.

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