Dewy, Cheatum, And Howe
Backing Up Your Files Using NTI Backup NOW!
One of the most important, yet least considered area's of personal computing is backup. As anyone who has ever had a hard disk failure will tell you, losing your work, or personal files can be a heartbreaking and potentially costly experience.
Traditional methods of backup such as tape streamers, zip drives, and floppies have always done the job well, but the costs involved in both hardware and media, and the lengthy operations required to perform even the smallest of backups have made such options prohibitive for most users.
The advent of the CD-Writer has given us the ability to archive large amounts of data relatively quickly, but for many, constantly updating cdr or cdrw media with newly created files can be a whole lot of hassle.
In this article, we will create a backup of our documents using NTI Backup NOW!, a product which takes the hardship out of backing up all those valuable files.
NTI Backup NOW! is an intuitive, and simple product, working in much the same way as traditional backup packages such as BackupExec or NovaStor. It is designed to work with CDR/RW & DVDR/RW media, and is wizard driven, allowing you to create complex backups, and scheduled tasks, with a minimum of effort.
As soon as you start Backup NOW! up, you are presented with an explorer style interface, which allows you to choose which files and folders you wish to back up.
Here, we will choose all the files in the "My Documents" folder, simply by placing a tick beside everything that we would like to include in the backup.
Next, we click "Step 2", which allows us to decide where the backup is to be stored. Provided you have a supported CDRW drive, you can pick this, or else choose "file" which will create a backup set which can be stored on another hard disk.
"Step 3" allows us to define special settings for the backup. By default, the backup software attempts to create a compressed backup to save space on the target media, as well as appending (adding) the backup file to the target media, and verifying the files were correctly written after the backup.
Depending on the size of your backup, you may wish to change the settings so that the target media is wiped clean and a totally new backup made on that disk. If you wish to use this facility, you must use re-writeable disks, which are now relatively inexpensive.
Once you have decided on the best backup method for your particular needs, you will be prompted to save the backup job. At this point, no actual backup is being made, but saving the backup job allows you use the same setting next time you back up.
At this point, you can decide whether you wish to perform the backup now, or schedule it for later. If you click the "schedule" button, you can choose what time you want the backup to happen (for example the middle of the night), and which days you want the job to happen on.
By using the scheduler, you can create totally automated scheduled backups which can run at a convenient time, and provide you with a safe, accurate backup which updates every day.
Once the schedule has been set, you will be asked to shut Backup NOW! down. The job scheduler runs in your system tray, so despite closing the program down, it is still ready to perform your backup when requested.
Doing the Deed
If you wish to back up immediately, simply press the "Start" button. The software will show you the size of your backup, and how many disks are required. This dialog box is on a timer, so if you dont click "Start Backup Now" the software will automatically start it for you.
Depending on the speed of your CDRW drive, and the media which you chose to use, the backup can be done fairly quickly. In this article, we have used a LiteOn LTR-40125S with Philips 4X CDRW media, which turned out a 500mb backup in around 12 minutes - roughly double that with verify enabled.
Once the backup has completed, you will be presented with a message telling you if the backup was sucessful. Optionally, you can view a report, giving detailed information on the files that were backed up.
If you will be backing up a lot of JPG images, or MP3 files, you may wish to turn the compress option off. These files are heavily compressed already, and trying to compress such files wastes time. Similarly, MS Outlook files do not compress well, and may cause your backup to report errors.
If you intend to schedule your backup, it is adviseable to keep your backup job to under 700mb. If that boundry is exceeded, the software will require more than one disk, and you will need to be present to change disks.
If the backup is to be totally automated, it is advisable that you ensure that the "Eject media after backup is finished" checkbox is left unticked. A cdrw drive left open for any length of time is susceptible to dust and or damage from household pets, children and the like.
NTI Backup NOW! is available here from $49.
Last edited by martzweb; 12-08-2002 at 02:49 PM.