Data Backup 2.1

There’s an old adage among tech support people that all hard drives eventually crash, and the question is ‘when’ not ‘if’. Data Backup is an easy-to-use and flexible tool for home and small business users. Sporting a drag-and-drop interface and controlled largely by using buttons and drop-down menus, the user can choose between an intelligent set of pre-defined backup routines or create one of their own. Data Backup is compatible with a wide range of storage media, including iPods, CD-ROMs, and network devices accessible through the Finder, such as the iDisk.

Data Backup’s key function is to manage when backups are performed and which files are backed up. The icons for the source and destination drives or directories are dragged across to the interface window, and then certain criteria can be added to trim the list. For example, files above a certain size or with a certain extension can be ignored. Backups can be run manually or following a schedule, say every weekday at noon and 6pm, or after specific intervals, such as every hour.

Besides configuring what is backed up and when, Data Backup includes a number of options for determining how the files are archived. Incremental backups will only copy across the files that have changed, while versioned backups create a ‘snapshot’ of the files being copied at a certain point. Data Backup hides all but the most recent version from the Finder, but through the Restore window, the user can go back and retrieve older versions of files as and when required.

On both a G4 and Intel Mac Data Backup sometimes stalled on launching, but otherwise it appears stable and reliable. It does have problems writing to CDs and DVD in Mac OS X 10.4 though. The interface is not without quirks. The built-in help file is unsearchable, though detailed, and schedules need to be deleted from a Schedule View window even if the backup plan they were created for is deleted in the main window.


Glitches aside, this is a fast, versatile, and easy-to-use product at an attractive price. Home users will find being able to clone their entire hard drive to a bootable volume especially useful, while small businesses will value the combination of schedules and versioned backups.

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