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Now More Than Ever? Protecting Precious
Our daughter sat on the edge of her
bed sobbing uncontrollably. Her friends stared at her notebook's blue
She had accidentally hit the wrong key while showing them the shots she
had taken on our dive vacation in Kauai. The entire folder was gone.
Her brother volunteered his underwater shots but that was no
consolation. She had some special turtle, monk seal and nudibranch
shots, his shots didn't compare in her mind.
We reminded her that we had her photos on our system as well so
everything was not lost. Nothing is better for a father than a "thank
you, thank you, thank you" hug from your daughter.
But it made us think that we had better plan for a disaster we couldn't
recover from and find a backup solution for all of the systems in the
So we did a little research.
Turns out according to Contingency Planning Research most computer
problems are user error (50%) while 20% of the losses are caused by
hardware/software error. Everything else was a distant problem ? natural
disaster, fire, even theft.
Our kids are like most teen-agers and in fact most PC users. They have a
lot of video content on their systems. While the RIAA (record industry)
and MPAA (Hollywood) might look at them and see rampart pirates, the
kids could really care less about their stuff? it is all about them.
Most of the content they store on their PCs is personal stuff.
You know video games of all types ? including their connections to WoW
(World of Warcraft); music video, sports and YouTube/MySpace downloads;
and lots of personal photos/videos they seem to take constantly with
their digital cameras and video-enabled cellphones.
Most of the material could never be replaced.
We then surveyed the adults? hard drives. Totally different picture.
Most of the content was family, household documents along with all of
our emails/contact information and the various versions of office work
we had done at home. Most of this content could be redone ? with a lot
of effort ? if we lost the hard drive. Not something we wanted to
We were also surprised at how many family moment photos we had in
folders that had yet to be sorted, now these could never be
In our research for a fast, easy, almost fool-proof backup and
protection solution we were took some consolation in the fact that we
weren't alone in not backing up important family ? and business files.
According to a study we found at the Consumer Electronics Association's
web site, backup isn't high on most people's list.
That gave us some consolation that at least we weren't completely
negligent or just plain lazy !
But still we wanted a solution that would be inexpensive for all of the
systems in the house and would allow the systems to be backed up to an
external drive locally as well as on the home network.
The solution we selected was the NTI Shadow v3.0 (www.ntius.com). It was
the same solution that HP had bundled with their Media Vault as well as
Toshiba, NEC and Freecom for their portable external drives.
The whole idea behind the software is to put an end to losing valuable
data, photo, video, and music files that have been modified in between
scheduled backups. The software maintains real-time, continuous backup
of all changed files. An advanced scheduler is included that lets you
set backup start times by minute, hour, day, week, or month.
The software installs quickly and easily. When you first launch it, you
can choose the folders you want to back up and the location where the
backup should be placed.
Everyone in the family set up their systems to meet their needs and the
primary backup target was our home network storage solution. Because we
also use our notebooks away from the house we also set up backup options
so that we could do interim backups to USB flash drives' just in
Next you select backup frequency which for peace of mind we chose as
every time a file was changed as well as a specify frequency of time.
What we liked about the software is that you can specify how many
versions of a document you want to keep. This is important when you're
doing office work at home because you can modify/update and have
multiple version backups just in case.
You can also choose to have the backup file deleted when you delete the
original file. This significantly reduces that huge backlog of ancient
files on the hard drive that you just never quite get around to
Another option is the ability to select file types to save or not. The
program saves all file types by default but with the Shadow Wizard you
can specify file types to either backup or ignore.
Once you have set up the configuration, which takes just a few minutes,
and before it is accepted the Backup Job summary page is displayed.
This allows you to review the choices and change any you want. One of
the outstanding features of the NTI Shadow solution is that it saves
backup copies in regular, native-format which is directly replaceable
into the source file without the use of the program. If you've
accidentally deleted or lost a file you simply drag and drop the file
from the Shadow archive back to any desired location.
If you have hidden files and folders the software will automatically
back them up as you've requested.
If you copy files or move them the software automatically detects the
action and saves it.
As we noted when we're away from the house with our notebooks at school
or the office we can also do a backup to a 2GB Store ?n Go USB drive.
There have been times for example when we haven't wanted to take all of
our emails and contact information with us but would still like to have
access while we are on the road, just in case. Then no matter which
computer we're using to access the email or address, we can keep the
computer up to date and have the information instantly available in our
pocket. That's a lot easier than lugging a notebook computer everywhere
We use Shadow to automate the process without having to drill down into
folders to find messages, copy them, access the Store ?n Go and paste
them in. All of these tasks are handled by NTI Shadow automatically and
in the background. The backup process works transparently in the
background without disturbing any of your work or using any valuable PC
resources that can slow system performance.
One of the other features we liked about NTI Shadow is that you can do
your backup to virtually any storage device ? USB flash, mobile storage
device 9micro drive), internal/external HD, NAS (network attached
storage) device, CD and DVD? including the new blue laser discs (HD DVD
While it is true there are a growing number of online storage services
such as those offered by Google, Yahoo, Apple and others; we always have
- are they really safe from outside access - will the files always
be there when we need them - what happens if the service goes out of
business - what happens if the government or law enforcement
suddenly decide they want to review all of the files stored by the
Beside there is something reassuring about being able to see your backup
device and media.
NTI Shadow runs on Windows Vista, XP, Windows 2000, Macintosh OSX
v10.2.8, or higher as well as U3 environments.
If you want real peace of mind regarding the documents, photos, videos,
music and data you have on your system as well as your home network we'd
suggest you visit www.ntius.com. Cost is just $29.99.
A hug from your daughter? Priceless!!!!
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By: GAD. Andy Marten