Thursday, May 15, 2003
Sprite Software Pocket Backup Plus 2.0
Posted by Jason Dunn in "SOFTWARE" @ 10:30 AM
At one point or another, I've owned nearly every Pocket PC that has been on the market, starting with the HP 545 way back in April 2000. Since that time, many Pocket PCs have come with integrated backup software, and I've yet to be satisfied with any of them. Every OEM should throw out what they have now and bundle Pocket Backup Plus 2.0 - it's that solid.
Good backup software needs to have two components to make it successful in my eyes: scheduled backups (humans are unreliable creatures at best), and painless restores. Pocket Backup Plus 2.0 from Sprite Software delivers on both of these promises in full. It works exactly the way you'd expect it to: you set up a schedule (once, daily, or weekly), it backs up at that time, then soft resets the Pocket PC when it's done. I have mine set to back up at 4:30 PM every day, and it's reassuring to hear the "bing" of a soft reset, precisely on schedule, every single day without fail. Pocket Backup Plus 2.0 is very stable, even when I have doubts about how stable my Pocket PC is. You can specify the backup location (backing up to a memory card or Flash ROM for instance), and one of the new features is backing up across the network (I haven't tried this yet myself). Backups can be compressed, encrypted with a password, and are self-extracting. This last point is extremely important: if you lose everything in RAM, you don't want to end up with a backup file you can't open.
The real test of a backup application is using it, then purposefully trashing your Pocket PC to test the restore scenario. I did exactly that, and it worked out almost perfectly: the only glitch was that after the restore, I docked my Pocket PC, and ActiveSync gave me the dreaded combine/replace prompt. Oh how I loathe that prompt! I chose to replace everything on the Pocket PC, and after that process was done my Pocket PC was back to perfection. I talked to Sprite Software about this, and they said it was a limitation of ActiveSync. What a surprise! :roll: The only other thing I don't like about this software is that when you set it to create a new archive every day, there's no functionality to automatically delete old entries, or something like "keep last three backups". The end result is that my storage card gets full after a few weeks and I have to go in and delete the old backups. Not a show-stopper, but a small hassle I hope they fix later.
If you haven't tried it yet, download the trial version and take it for a spin. The price for the full version is $29.95 (affiliate), which is on the high-end for most Pocket PC applications, but the security I feel from data loss is worth at least that much. I give this software my highest recommendation - it's something I install immediately on any Pocket PC I use, and I'd encourage you to check it out for yourself.
UPDATE: Sprite Software just gave me a coupon code for Pocket PC Thoughts readers to save 20% off the price at Handango. Awesome! This makes the software even better. :mrgreen: Use 6AXBXDF2 as the coupon code.