XP-asperation!

shattered_disk_largeOkay – even the headline is awkward but I’m grumbling about Microsoft Windows, specifically XP, so pardon me for having little patience right now.

Over the weekend I caught up with a friend in West Hollywood. His executive coaching business is soft right now (what part of the economy isn’t, right?) so it was especially irksome that his PC disk drive crashed – and cost him $700 to recover the data. He did get all the files back apparently, but on a new external harddrive – one that won’t boot the PC. So on top of the data recovery expense he has to either replace the PC, or the bad drive with a reinstallation of Windows and all the applications.

He did have backups – but not since January. And apparently not in a condition to be able to boot the PC.

All this made me glad I’ve been using the Macbook with Time Machine. It works, without having to think about it. And I’ve had occasion to go back and get things restored – and it is simple to find what you’re looking for. I also use the utility SuperDuper to create a bootable backup on the same external disk. I hadn’t ever tried it out though – so last night I looked up how to make the Macbook try to boot from the USB drive, and voila! It worked and I was staring at my desktop from about three months ago when I last ran SuperDuper. Nothing to grumble about so far. TimeMachine keeps all the file updates since my last SuperDuper.

But the grumble part is, we still have several WIndows PCs and one has a lot of vital applications and data. I back them up with Windows Backup tool. I’ve used other tools which always failed me when I needed them most. And I went to test my backups this morning – figuring I better make sure they’re working. And, sure enough, although the backups are there on my external drive, when I go to do a test restore I can browse and browse through the cumbersome “catalogues” (I wish google desktop indexed the backups!) that Microsoft generates, finding the folders that *should* have the files I’m looking for. But they’re not there!

Bah! It’s Windows – who knows what the problem could be. Maybe the only answer is to finally find replacements for Quicken and a few other things I can’t do without and pay for another Mac.

Instead I’m trying a new product called Rebit (like the sound a frog makes). The product sounded too good to be true. A new time-machine-like backup software for Windows. I spoke with them (called their support line to see if anyone would answer!) and talked right away with someone knowledgeable. The user interface isn’t as sophisticated as Time Machine, but it does automated incremental backups and have a (for Windows) easy-to-use way to browse and restore files and versions.

We shall see. I’m gonna hope!

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