A few days ago I received a review copy of the new Rebit backup device. Rebit (not to be confused with reByte, which I wrote about back in 2004)claims to be “ridiculously simple backup” for Windows computers. (The XP version is available now, with Vista coming soon.) It comes in a cute green box with a frog logo and the tagline “Retrieve. Restore. Relax.” In the box are the device (basically a 2.5″ hard drive), a cable, a carrying case, a recovery CD, and a very thin booklet with instructions and information.
The Rebit website describes backup with Rebit as “Easy as 1,” which echoes the recent claim about Time Machine not needing a Step 3. In this case, it’s a slight exaggeration, because you do have to do more than plug it in–though not much.
I decided that the best way to discover whether Rebit was in fact “ridiculously simple” was to have my less-technically-ept housemate test it on her computer. She’s more than capable of plugging in a USB cable, so that part went fine. But her PC guy must have disabled autorun for USB devices, because she didn’t get the expected dialog box inviting her to start protecting her computer with Rebit.
We found the drive easily enough in Windows Explorer and clicked on “setup.exe.” At that point, we got the license agreement. (“It’s all right, click yes,” I said.) Then we got a warning message from Windows that drive F was no longer available, which was a bit confusing, even alarming. But the little frog icon appeared in the system tray with a notification bubble explaining that Rebit was preparing to back up the drive.
“Okay,” I said. “You can ignore it now.”
“Can I still use my computer?”
This was at roughly noon on Thursday. By the time I went to bed, Rebit had only reached “1% completed.” By the time I got up this morning, the initial backup was 6% complete.
Now, admittedly, my housemate’s computer only has USB 1.1, so making a drive image (which is essentially what Rebit is doing) takes a good while. But her 80 GB drive only has 25 GB filled, and making a Ghost image of that drive definitely does not require 14 hours. Indeed, it’s now just about 24 hours since we connected the Rebit, and it’s only at 9%. That’s not just slow, it’s ridiculously slow.
I’ve got a call in to Rebit to find out what might be causing this problem. I’m quite sure this isn’t the way the system is meant to work, that the process has been faster than this in their internal tests. They, and we, need to know about anything that might interfere with the effectiveness of the Rebit, in order to find ways to work around the problems and keep things simple for the user.
So I’ll keep you posted. With any luck, by this time next week, not only will the backup be complete, but we’ll be able to test out the file restoring function, as well.