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Monday, January 19, 2009

Back2zip: Zip it!

Back2Zip is a very simplistic backup program. As the name implies, it is mainly targeted to backing up files to a ZIP archive. A few things about it:

-Very small: the program itself is only 500kb. HOWEVER, this program is not portable, because when running it for the first time, it will install itself, without warning. Mind you, the installation is just the normal stuff, a desktop icon, a start menu group, but just know it cannot be run from a USB drive because it will not run until it is installed. It stores its information in the registry, and if it does not detect previous settings, it will install itself.

-Only back up folders: Unlike some other backup programs, Back2zip can only select folders, not individual files. Not the worse thing in the world, but can be annoying.

-Forced Schedule: On the positive side, Back2zip has a schedule, varying between 20 minutes and 6 hours. However, on the negative side, you have to use the schedule. There's no "Never" option, so if you leave Back2zip running, it will have to backup eventually. However, there is also a "Backup only after ___ AM/PM", so you could possible set it to 2:00AM, then if you shut down your computer every night (which you should), it would never backup, but that's just speculation.

-Different level of compression: Back2zip only has one file format (ZIP), but it does have for different compression rates: maximum compression, medium compression, zip with no compression (why you'd do that, I dunno....) and no compression. So that is kinda nice, if you want to just copy folders periodically throughout the day, you don't have to backup to a zip file, you can just copy them over.

-Previous backups: It can store anywhere from 0 to 14 backups.

-Launch on startup, and minimize to tray: Both are readily available in the program. Actually, it always minimizes to tray, but there is a checkbox option for startup.

-Log: The log is only available in the program (as in it doesn't export to a LOG file), but it is nice to see when you started backups, and errors, if they appear.

-Lite: it is fairly light on resources. When running in the tray, it uses around 500kb of RAM, and when backing up, around 2-3mb.

-Folder structure: Important to me when it comes to backup freeware is the folder structure inside of the archive. With Back2zip, it's a little odd, and not configurable. If you are backing up a folder called "FreewareWire," it would create a folder named "FreewareWire," and then backup to a zip inside that folder, with the name being the date, such as "2009-01-19.zip". This is handy if you keep backups for days, as it will store all of the backups for "FreewareWire" in the FreewareWire folder, each with a different name. But if you just like to have one file, it would be nice to just have the ZIP named what the folder is named.

-Incremental: A very nice feature, it keeps tabs on previous backups, so if the folder has not been changed at all, it will save time and resources by not backing it up. It will also incrementally add files, meaning that if one file has been added, it will just simply copy that one file, rather than the entire folder. Keep in mind that Back2zip will not delete files in the backup if they've been deleted in the source. That's just not how it works.


So that's about it. To be honest, it doesn't suite my backup needs, but that's because I do massive amounts of data every few months, not small amounts several times a day. But if you more prefer the latter, then Back2zip is for you.

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