NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Second Copy 97 - A Useful Backup Utility
Doug MacDonald, Co-President, March 98
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As is so often the case, I came across this useful utility the week following our club's discussion of backup systems, philosophies, and methods! Better late than never, I guess, particularly when the result is an excellent, inexpensive backup utility that expedites and simplifies the backup process for any user whose backup requirements are modest.

"Second Copy 97" is a shareware utility from Centered Systems. You can obtain it directly from the World Wide Web at the company's web site: http://www.centered.com. Since it is shareware, I have also provided a copy to the sysop of our club Bulletin Board. The price is $29.95 for a single user license.

"Second Copy 97" is designed for Windows95 and Windows NT systems. It provides the capability to construct 32-bit backup files with long file names to a variety of backup media, although it is probably most useful to those with Zip or Jazz drives. What makes this utility particularly useful is that you can set up individual backup "profiles" which you can set to run at various intervals or at specific times during the day, or once every so many days. At startup, at shutdown, or at the appointed time, the software searches the drives and directories you have selected for backup, discovers files that have changed since the last time it ran, and adds those new or changed files to your backup. It maintains a complete log covering all of its operations. You may create a "straight" backup or a compressed backup file to save space on your disk. Of particular note is that the compressed backup is made with the zip2.04g compatible algorithm. It is therefore readable with PKZIP or WINZIP, as well as a variety of other file compression/ decompression programs that can read the standard "zip" format. You can even "secure" each backup file with a password, if you wish. Modern backup systems often make use of proprietary compression algorithms that can only be read by that one scheme.

If you keep most of your data files in a single directory, such as the Windows 95 "My Documents" default for Microsoft Office programs, this software is ideal. You can easily back up that single directory (and all of its sub- directories) quickly and easily several times per day, as necessary. The entire process is designed to take place in the background using a small program that does not require much memory. The program, when it is running, does not detract from the operation of other programs on Windows 95 systems with a reasonable amount of memory. [I suspect this might not be true for those running Windows95 in the minimum recommended configuration, however.]

In short, if you have decided that you do not want to run a full backup of all your files regularly, you can still protect your essential data files automatically using a system that requires little operator intervention. As long as the quantity of files to be backed up is reasonable, a single Zip drive is the ideal medium. Since the program only backs up the files that change, the size of the backup does not increase rapidly unless you add many new files in a short period. If you wish, you can also have the backup system keep several versions of each file, but that will increase the size of the backup file substantially.

If you want a backup, but don't want to do a lot of work to get it, try "Second Copy 97." As with most shareware, there is a thirty-day trial period during which you can use a completely functional copy of the software and check it out completely. After that time you must register the product if you want to continue to use it. I think you'll like it.

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