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PC World

Top 10 backup tools

November 2, 1999
Web posted at: 10:27 a.m. EST (1527 GMT)


by Max Green

(IDG) -- Despite our dependence on PCs, most of us don't take the time to back up our files. We all know there's no good reason for this risky behavior: Copying files to a zip disk is simple, and these days, removable storage is cheaper than ever. Ultimately, plain old inertia may be the culprit, but these shareware programs can help you overcome this. Some of the utilities below back up your registry, others copy programs into folders. Install them, and you'll be protecting your important data from potential disaster. To see all the backup utilities in the FileWorld library, click on "More backup files," link below.

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  1. RecoverNT: Recover files from a hard drive that has been destroyed by a virus or accidentally formatted, even when all the information in the partition table, the boot sector, the file application table, and the root directory has been lost. This program costs $30 to register.

  2. Second Copy 97: Protect specific files or folders by monitoring changes in them and copying them into backup folders whenever they are modified. This $30 utility lets you select the files you want to back up, and keep up to 25 older versions of files. Once Second Copy 97 is configured, an icon sits in your Windows system tray and the program copies files in the background.

  3. Microsoft Configuration Backup: Use this free utility to back up your Registry files (system.dat and user.dat) before you make any serious changes to your system. ConfigBack can store up to nine backup levels. This is the same version of ConfigBack included on the Windows 95 CD-ROM; it was omitted from the Win 95 floppy.

  4. WinRescue: Back up the Registry and other important files your system needs to stay healthy. WinRescue backs up your Favorites folder, Start menu, and any other files you specify. A DOS-level utility is included to help with emergency recovery. This is a trial version; the full version of the program costs $20.

  5. Emergency Recovery System: This $20 program is a backup and recovery system for your crucial Registry and profiles information under Windows 95. Emergency Recovery System requires the file vbrun500, which is included in this archive. Read the text files after unzipping the program and before installing it.

  6. Trouble in Paradise: This free preventative utility could save you from a possible storage disaster. Run it to find out whether an Iomega Jaz or Zip drive is prone to developing the dreaded Click of Death syndrome.

  7. HD95Copy: This $40 program copies a hard drive to an image file on a network server, another hard disk, or any medium you can access via a logical drive letter. The hard disk is copied sector by sector, so long file names and hidden files and directories are also backed up. It also supports removable media.

  8. SmartBackup: Back up crucial files and keep them up to date. During Windows startup, this $15 utility copies files that have been modified since the last backup. You can also use SmartBackup to replicate your data files to a second hard disk, a network server, or removable media.

  9. Norton Zip Rescue: This free version of Norton Zip Rescue for Iomega's Zip or Jaz drives will help you create an emergency boot-disk set to safely recover from Windows failures.

  10. Backer: This $35 program lets you synchronize and update your computer's directories and files to a network, floppy disk, or any removable storage medium. Backer works with infrared connections or cable: You can synchronize your notebook before you travel and your desktop when you return, transfer files between your office and your home, back up your day's or week's work, or save system files to floppies or other removable media.

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