Dear FileSlinger™ clients, colleagues, and friends:
It’s Friday again and time to back up your data.
I’ve made more backups than usual this week because of reinstalling my computer to put Windows XP Service Pack 2 on. I’ve saved copies of my drive at various states of installation, in case something goes wrong, so I don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning and start over. These interim backups can save hours. If you have someone reinstall your operating system, or you do it yourself, make sure you, or the consultant, makes some of these on the way. That will mean less consultant time you have to pay for, or less of your own valuable time that you have to lose, the next time something goes wrong with your drive.
It’s true, having even a very new computer is much like having a very old car—things just keep going wrong. This is in part because many software manufacturers (Micro$oft is not the only guilty party) charge us good money for products that aren’t really finished and which interact with each other in unpredictable ways. This is very frustrating, but short of the entire planet refusing to use computers until they are more reliable, there is probably not much to be done about it.
Today I wanted to talk a bit about one of those unfinished programs. Symantec/Norton (makers of an antivirus program which can be worse for your computer than most viruses) has just released Norton Ghost 9.
I use Norton Ghost 8 for making my full-system backups, and I love it. Its only drawback is that it really isn’t designed for computers without floppy drives, and the workarounds for that are a trifle clumsy.
Last year Symantec bought PowerQuest, makers of DriveImage, a highly-rated competitor of Ghost’s and one which uses a CD rather than a floppy disk for recovery.
This year it appears Symantec has combined the worst of both programs to produce Ghost 9. The Ur-Guru tested it out and found huge problems. For one thing, it won’t work on anything with less than 256 MB of RAM. For another, it’s in such an unfinished state that Norton is shipping Ghost 8 along with it.
So if you use Ghost 8 and get an upgrade offer—DON’T.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a backup system in place and do have a floppy drive, now would be a good time to buy Ghost 8, while you still can. It’s likely to be moved to the discount remainder bin soon, so you’ll get a good deal on a much better product.
Once again, if you’re a Mac user, this information won’t have been very useful to you. I need your help to provide Mac-friendly reviews, until I can get a Mac of my own and be a two-platform family again.
But whatever kind of computer you have and whatever kind of backup system you have—make frequent backups of your data. Replacing hard drives and software only takes time and money. Replacing your data can be impossible.
And remember—if you’ve got your backups automated or for some other reason don’t want to receive these reminders, just e-mail me and let me know, and I’ll take you off the list.
If someone you care about needs a backup system—don’t wait. Send them to me right away.
More backup news next week,