Allow me to paraphrase Seinfeld, “People not backing up their stuff until its too late… What’s up with that?!” It sure as hell cant be the lack of backup options – the market is swarming with various backup solutions. I am guessing its a combination of things like healthy doses of denial and procrastination sprinkled with the fear of having to delve into the potentially complicated realm of the backup geekdom. Even some of the folks who have more than a casual acquaintance with the computer world still believe that backing up data involves some complicated IT Voodoo. So people go on practicing unsafe computing, accumulating gigs of un-backed data, until the day they get a cootie and have to start from scratch or better yet having to pay for hard disk crash data recovery. Another fun occurrence is when their drive physically craps out and they have to pay a thousand bucks to some shady data recovery guy to do some alleged “CSI magic”, to get back a fraction of their data at best, and usually in an unusable format. Ummm yeah…
Now that I busted out some doom and gloom on the canvas of your imagination, let me introduce you to most user friendly bit of backup gadgetry I have ever seen. This is not am empty boast either, for I am one technologically jaded bastard. This particular backup solution is called the TotalRecovery USB by the FarStone Technology folks. Read on for a full review of the TotalRecovery USB backup solution.
The TotalRecovery USB is a bootable USB stick and it is stupid easy to use – turn off your computer, plug in the USB stick, turn on your computer, and select your menu options. Keep in mind, your computer boots from the USB stick, and not from the hard drive. That’s a pretty cool feature, especially if your hard drive is unbootable, or lets say password protected and you “forgot the password”, or don’t want to alter any registries… (Wink wink)
The TotalRecovery USB menu is broken into simple and obvious options – if you want to go the easy route – just select from the Main Console menu and chose "Back Up Computer". If you already backed up your computer and doing a restore "“ select "Restore Your Computer". Simple, right? Once you select the Back Up Computer(s), you will be given the option to back up the entire drive or specific partitions – again, that’s nifty. Then you select the destination for your backup, which can include another internal drive, or an externally attached drive like USB/FW/SATA, or even a network attached drive. Then the system proceeds with backing up your data into a file (which can be browsed). The speed of your backup depends on the amount of data you are backing up and the beefiness of your computer. BTW, also in the Main Console, there is an option to select Data Shredding (Eradication) US DOD Standard Complied that will thoroughly remove your impressive collection of porn and bootleg MP3’s from any storage device or prepare a suitable “tabula rasa” for your backup.
OK so that was the simple stuff, Barney style, easy no brainer backup. Oh, this can also be used to do painless migration to bigger drives. In addition to that, the TotalRecovery USB comes with a robust list of other menu options including a dedicated Data Shredding option (described above), an Analyze tab that lets you Check Backup Image, Check Disks for Errors, and Open Command Shell Window. Each option has a line explaining its functionality in simple English which is a rarity in tech products today. Next there is a Network tab that allows you to do Network Adapter Configuration, Map Network Drives, Launch Web Browser, and even comes with a iSCSI Initiator (yeah that’s a somewhat retro but still useful option).
Last, but not least, on the Recovery Manager screen you have a Tools tab that lets you Preview Backup image, Unmount Preview Drive, Add Drive, and Open Explorer Window to browse files and folders on your computer. All of these tools are wicked useful while troubleshooting your system, backing up your system, or even doing some nefarious data pilfering (insert standard disclaimer here). So if you are a person who has woefully neglected his or her backup duties, or just a guy who is “that computer guy” whose friends hassle him to do menial computer repairs or tweaks – this is THE TOOL FOR YOU!
So in summary, Back Up your crap people – you are out of excuses! Unless of course your Uncle owns a hard disk crash data recovery business. I mean right-freaking-now, not next week, not next month, right now! Got that? Good!