Time Machine for OSX has got the Apple platform's fuss-less data backup covered quite nicely. But where can a technical nincompoop turn for brainless Windows backup? There's still room for third party companies to jump into the backup droolbucket here. And that's where Rebit backup shows up. Rebit is certainly not the cheapest …
"This is also the only time Rebit will back up any other partitions on the disk."
So because I, quite sensibly, keep my OS and my data on different partitions this bit of kit is pretty much usless then?
Jungle Disk + Amazon S3
As I mentioned in The Reg's recent story about Mozy's internet backup:
I use Jungle Disk, which can backup Mac, Windows, and Linux computers to Amazon's S3 data centers. Jungle Disk is a one-time $20 cost and then you only pay Amazon for the bytes you actually use.
Plus you can mount your Jungle Disk backups from another PC. It's like an infinitely-large USB drive.
You missed the point...
Alex: it's for people who think that a partition is something you put across a room and that OS stands for Ordinance Survey.
Oh shut up
As I read the review, I thought to myself "I bet the first comment will be from someone complaining about that partition thing". And look, there you are.
As the first half the review said, this is aimed at newbies. People who don't know what they're doing with their PC, but want their files backed up. How many of these people have multiple partitions? None. The target market for this thing will have left their PC set up as the manufacturer created it- with one big partition.
I'll admit, it's an odd thing to be left out of the software, but I assume they have reasons, even they are daft. Get off your high geek-horse.
You know what a partition is. Thus you are not the target market.
This is for people who really need a backup but can't administer it. You must know users like that... Point them at one of these and you could save them a lot of grief, without you having to take (unpaid in many situations) day to day detailed responsibility.
I agree that it is expensive and limited, but it beats the usual arrangement of scrabbling round for old drafts of accidentally damaged documents with a deadline approaching.
If you're capable of partitioning a drive, installing the OS on one part and keeping data on t'other, then you're really not the target market for this gadget.
I know a lot of people who could use this!
You may split your drive, keeping data on one or more secondary partitions, but then if you can do that you probably are bright enough to back up occasionally.
The majority of domestic PC's are bought from a shop such as PCworld, and are ready set up with one partition on one hard disk.
This is how they stay.
And a quick survey of non-tech contats shows that at least 80% are never backed up, and never will be, even by people who have lost major data in the past.
This is just the sort of thing that just might, possibly, persuade a few of these people to secure their data.
Even Paris could use it!
Could be better
All the above comments make sense. However Rebit could easily sell a lot more units by adding a switch marked: "One Partition" and "Multiple Partitions".
To prevent confusing the 80% who only have one partition, put a piece of tape labelled "Do not remove" over the switch. :-)
Yes, you're quite right: I'm not in the target market as I have a FreeNAS server in the cupboard for onsite backup and some drives in caddies for offsite backups.
However, could you give me a good reason why Rebit only backup secondary partitions on the initial install? I racked my brains and couldn't come up with one.
And, more importantly who exactly is in the target market? People who can't be bothered to backup their data?!?!? That'll be a big market then.
Prettty useful for newbies running XP.
Though I'll be telling newbies on Vista to click start and type back rather than buying this. (Yes, Vista already does this)
OEMs don't always just use one partition
I've just reinstalled a Sony Vaio desktop machine for a friend and the thing was automatically set up with two partitions. In any case it's a pathetic limitation for a backup tool to have.
So much for the geek memory
The first backup will do multiple partitions because all those PC World etc MS Windows PC's come with a restore partition that will kindly destroy everything on the boot partition given half a chance.
Since the target is newbies backing up a second partition only the once is probably a good choice.
At least the newbies know they know bugger all.
Errr, just one possible hitch...
Agreed, most newbies to computers have no idea about partitions, but don't some pre-packed computers/laptops (ie Dell, HP, Compaq, etc) come with separate system and data partitions and named so, or am I dreaming that up?
Point being that if this is aimed at newbies, and newbies buy a computer with a single drive that's already partitioned when they buy it, this product will fail them.
Its still useless.
Its on site and always plugged in.
What's likely require a backup? The user being a tit and deleting everything, Theft, massive power surges and maybe the hard drive expiring naturally.
Out of those, if the user is a tit the backup will conveniently delete all the backups within a day or so when it does the next backup because Rebit advise getting a drive with equal or greater capacity to your drive. That translates to "get the smallest one possible" for the average user which leaves no space for additional backups on the device and it cheerfully overwrites the old backups.
A theif will nick the backup as well assuming its an external hard drive he can sell for a fiver at the local pub. Power surges powerful enough to blow the PSU and try the drives would be likely to kill an attached drive as well. That leaves the sole point being natural failure of the drive.
If thats the entire point then you might as well just buy a new drive and replace the old one. Completely useless. Clueless users would be better off burning their MyDocs folder to a DVD once a week.
what a wonderful invention!
Now the wife doesn't need me to drive 170 miles back home to back up and restore her viruses, trojans, spyware and George Clooney *screensavers* and all the other rubbish that she downloads during the week. I can just shell out some more hard earned cash and let her wreck the Rebit as well..
(she actually thought it was a pun on "Rabbit" - no kidding.)
Paris because she looks like a bit like Mrs Taw and probably has about the same level of technical competence)
I wonder if...
... there's any creative/practical way this software can be factory installed on a trial basis like e.g. a lot of Symantec protection-racket/blackmailware stuff is (pay up after 90 days or lose your security service, hmm, if that ain't a protection racket...). There's hardware in the picture which complicates matters, but if there is, that would be grand both for Rebit, for PC manufacturers and for punters, because Rebit sounds like a good product for 80%+ of PC users, but the very same 80% will probably never hear about it.
Wrt Amazon S3: I'm not sure any broadband-based backup service makes sense in the UK at least; usage caps, PAYG, etc are increasingly common on consumer tariffs. Rebit doesn't have that problem.
There's at least one OEM that at least sometimes supplies their disk partitioned. Got an Acer laptop, with C: called ACER, and D: called ACERDATA.
One wonders where a newbie would save stuff, given them labels...
Many prebuilt computers come with multiple partitions, I don't think Alex's comment was unwarranted myself.
Do Not Remove
And no self-respecting geek out there is going to stand for a sticker telling them what s/he cannot do. Viola!
Paris, because no self-respecting geek... wait...
Call me Mr Stupid, but..
Call me Mr Stupid but to me they have it exactly the wrong way around for multiple-partiton systems.
For multiple-partition systems they should back up the C-drive once, and the d-drive (likely to be the data drive) contilually as changes are made.
The c-drive would be a 'known good state' backup, and could be restored to that state in the case of drive failure, virus damage etc etc
The d-drive would contain changes made to data and files could be dragged and dropped back onto the d-drive as required in case a restore was wanted.
What is the point of continully backing up the OS drive? I for one would not like to guess what system files to drag and drop back to repair, say, a virus attack.
The is exactly the way we do it now. We use (say) Acronis True Image to take a known good image of the c-drive and (say) external usb drives to drag and drop out data for backup.
"What is the point of continully backing up the OS drive?"
Windows has something called the "Registry" which changes every time one installs or uninstalls software on the machine, and sometimes also when changing settings in applications (MS Office is a great Registry-trasher). So... install a bit of software, be smart and have the installer use one of the data drives instead of C:\programs... and after a backup, your software won't work. And if you install on C:, you have to re-install everything you installed after the initial backup, which can be quite a lot. Plus, all your Office settings will be at the earlier setting... security fixes not installed... the lot.
Try buying a Packard Bell.
If you repartition it, then you void the warranty.
It apparently has a non-visible partition (FAT12, if I'm not mistaken) on which software (called "The Tattoo") resides which validates yer Microsoft Winders.
I would guess that this machine would be less use than a chocolate teapot for a Packard Bell owner.
But where can I buy one?