Everybody knows about critical need of creating regular PC backup scheme in order to prevent loss of information. The main question is that the most widely used system of today, Windows XP, doesn't have a convenient utility to automatically back up valuable data (from ordinary files to entire Windows XP backups). To understand what's missing in Windows XP Backup, it is necessary to learn why people prefer paid backup utilities over it.
With commercial backup software you may forget about everyday backup routine: it lets you only create a task and have your data automatically backed up on a specified schedule. The scheduling module in Windows XP Backup is fine, but there is a problem with selection of data for backup tasks. The Windows XP tool can back up only NTFS files, folders and Windows registry. What does it lack? Let us investigate core functions available in other software:
* Email and instant messenger backup. The majority of paid backup software feature fast backing up of e-mails, address books and calendars used in Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and other popular messaging software
* HDD snapshot and cloning. Many tools let you not only create backups of files and folders, but also perform sector-level copying of hard drive, this way also enabling hard disk cloning
* Server-specific features. In enterprises, the most important function of backup software is support for SQL databases backup, Exchange servers backup and other data that is not available as files but is keep the server's memory
Commercial tools also feature e-mail notifications, data compression, integrated FTP clients, and much more. All in all, it's a surprise that for the last years Microsoft didn't manage to find time to develop at least some of the above functions for Windows XP Backup - it would have been really worth the trouble. Who knows - probably someday they will introduce a brand new, comprehensible and reliable utility for Windows XP backup - but today the built-in tool is almost unusable.
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Alexander Rassokhin is an IT-expert with 7 years expertise in the area of security software for Windows platforms, and a technical writer for Novosoft who develops their own backup software for Windows XP.
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