Road Warriors Backup Tool

Compact, light and portable, the new FireWire version of CMS Peripherals' ABSplus device is aimed at mobile laptop users.

Compact, light and portable, the new FireWire version of CMS Peripherals ABSplus device is aimed at mobile laptop users—a group that often thinks about backup only after a laptop is stolen or a system fails.

Using ABSplus, I performed an Express backup, which speedily backed up the entire C drive and all partitions on the hard drive of my laptop running Windows 2000. The Express process is simple: I connected the 40GB ABSplus device to the laptop, using the supplied FireWire cable and a 5-volt keyboard adapter cable that connects the laptop keyboard port connector to the ABS drive.

The only issue with this procedure is that, when backing up the operating system, performance temporarily slows when open files are found. Still, backing up a specific directory generated a reasonably quick backup rate of 228MB per minute in my tests.

Once the appliance has been set up, ABSplus maintenance is simple. The device uses an incremental process, backing up only files that have been modified since the last backup. Because it updates only modified files (and wont copy files that havent changed), subsequent backups are faster and thus less disruptive to a users routine.

The automatic Launcher initiates a backup of the entire drive in native file format, making the stored data accessible from any Windows-based system. The ABSplus can simply be plugged into another system, and it recognizes the unit as another hard drive.

If you happen to run over your laptop with your car, the way my former boss did, ABSplus disaster recovery feature allows the failed notebook hard drive to be replaced with the ABSplus bootable hard drive. Users will find all applications, configurations and data intact from the last backup.

ABSplus runs on Windows 98 and later versions. ABSplus for notebooks is available with an interface choice of PCMCIA, FireWire or USB 2.0, from 20GB to 60GB capacity. Higher-capacity desktop solutions in FireWire or USB 2.0 range from 40GB to 160GB. Prices for both notebook and desktop solutions begin at $299.

More information is available at