any of us have had the misfortune of finding out the hard way why regular backups are so important. Once upon a time you could backup your hard drive to floppy disks, sure it wasn't the easiest thing but a tape backup unit cost a fortune. But times have changed -- you simply can't backup today's large hard drives to those 1.4 meg floppy diskettes anymore. So today we are left with two basic choices; a zip disk (or something of that flavor), or a full fledged tape backup unit. If you only want to backup then I recommend simply getting a tape backup unit.
If you choose a tape backup unit you will definitely need special software, and if you choose a ZIP drive you will probably want something that handles the Extended Attributes that OS/2 keeps for each file. One of these many software options is Seagate Backup Exec for OS/2, which handles both jobs.
The tape backup unit that I own is a Iomega Ditto 3200 with a parallel interface. In the past I have gone through two other tape backup software packages; Arcada Backup for OS/2 (Which has since been bought out by Seagate), and BackMaster 2.0. I was very happy with Arcada Backup until Warp 4 came along and Arcada backup wouldn't help in an emergency restore situation. I went and purchased BackMaster 2.0 and I only had problems with it. I didn't like the software itself, and when I had to do an emergency restore I ran into too many problems. Technical support wasn't very helpful either.
After much consideration I choose to get Seagate Backup Exec for OS/2. I chose this package first and foremost because I knew it would work (Arcada Backup worked!). Secondly I really like its interface (GIF, 6.9k).
Seagate Backup Exec looks just like any OS/2 folder and is all just a case of dragging and dropping the backup definition onto the backup device. Okay, the first time you Seagate Backup it can be little more difficult then that; you have to choose what files to backup and make a few other small decisions regarding the type of backup you want. However after you have made a definition you're happy with, drag and drop is all that's left to making your daily backups. You can create as many backup definitions as you like, but I suspect most of you would simply want and need one backup definition.
The next thing I really like is the way file selection (GIF, 26.1k) works. You have the option of choosing what to backup by drive, directory, or individual file. This is pretty standard and simple so there is no real point on elaborating on it. However, the feature I most like is when you select the whole drive and then deselect a few individual directories of files (like Netscape's cache), later when you create new directories or files they are still automatically backed up. If you don't select a whole drive but select individual directories or files, then no new items are backed up. Of course you can also select what files to back up by filer (e.g. *.exe). I have also found the time estimates it gives to be remarkably accurate, but when they were off they were usually slightly high rather than low.
One more crucial feature that, due to circumstances, I can say works well, is the emergency restore utility. It includes many of the regular features, plus the ability to format a drive if needed and FDisk partitions as well. Yet a couple of days after I installed Seagate Backup Exec, my OS/2 system went on the blitz. I thought I could relax; I had a two day old backup and no crucial data which I couldn't get back. However I was in for a surprise: my Emergency restore diskettes were, in effect, no good. It turned out that I was using a beta driver from IBM, which evidently contained a couple of bugs. I had to install a fresh copy of OS/2, create new emergency restore diskettes (without using the beta driver), and only then was I able to do a emergency restore and wipe out my fresh install. The moral of this story is, of course, to check and make sure YOUR emergency restore diskettes actually work.
Seagate Backup Exec for OS/2 supports both incremental (files changed since last backup) and differential (files changed since last FULL backup) backups. It also includes security on Backup sets, and of course verification of the backup. Seagate Backup Exec for OS/2 can support SCSI, IDE, and many external Tape Drives, but for a full listing of all supported devices see Seagate Software's web page.
Seagate Backup Exec 3.0
Noah Sumner is a member of TeamOS/2 and the Toronto OS/2 Users Group.
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