The ABSplus is both simple to use in Express mode, and provides controls for users who want to create multiple different backup sets or scheduled backups. CMS has taken both individual users and IT administrators into account when designing their backup feature set. For example, PC Card-based drives can be password-protected by users, but if the users forget their passwords, thats a problem. The ABSplus provides two levels of passwords, user and master. An IT person can set a master password and unlock a user password-protected drive.
The main Backup setting screen is shown below, and is displayed during Advanced installation, or can be invoked separately. Here you see the main option tabs and the window below shows a full C:\*.* backup to the ABSplus drive (listed as drive E:\ in our test system). The source and target locations can be modified.
Once data is backed up, it can be accessed from the ABSplus drive using Windows Explorer or other applications, with full drag-and-drop functionality. Advanced options can be configured through the settings menus, and selected directories can be excluded from backup sets.
The following screen shows the main settings menu that includes options to start backup when plugging in the ABSplus drive, and the ability to verify data.
The Advanced Options menu below is accessed from the main Settings screen above.
We wont describe all the features above, but the Scheduler section is a bit tricky. The "Schedule Multiple Backup Item Sets" checkbox is a global setting permitting backup schedules to be assigned to individual backup sets. When enabled, the Backup Items tab in the Main Setting menu changes to "Backup Sets", and scheduling submenus become available under that tab permitting backup sets scheduled on daily or monthly intervals. The FastSync function allows backups of selected data as frequently as every minute. Also, note that the password feature is not supported with the USB drive.
One other interesting feature that isnt part of the main software set is a separate "Rescue CD" that can assist in recovering disk information if the operating system is inaccessible and the drive fails to boot. A user would set their laptop to boot from CD, and then boot into the Rescue CD, which actually runs a version of Linux, and it attempts to copy data from the ABSplus to the hard drive, overwriting all sectors with the backed up data.
The ability to do versioning and rollbacks of particular files or directories is currently missing. CMS says that these features will be provided in an upcoming release, and recent buyers of ABSplus units can receive a free software upgrade.
All together, the ABSplus provides easy-to-configure features and advanced options that should satisfy most user needs.
Co-Founder, ExtremeTech Ex-Director, PC Magazine Labs
Nick is a founder of the ExtremeTech website. He worked with co-founder Bill Machrone designing the site, staffing up, and getting initial content developed for ET's formal launch on June 12, 2001. Nick was Senior Technical Director of ET until mid-2003, while concurrently performing duties in PC Magazine Labs.
Nick was a technical director in PC Labs from late 1991 through mid-2002, and was Lab Director from mid-2002 until March 2005. Prior to PC Magazine, Nick was in the computer industry in various development, systems engineering, and management roles since mid-1980, and he received an MS in Computer Science from SUNY Binghamton.
In March 2005, Nick decided it was time to leave Ziff Davis Media (parent of PC Magazine and ExtremeTech) to pursue other opportunities, but wishes all the best to the ET and PC Magazine staff and reader communities!