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Author Topic: In search of ideal backup utility  (Read 32190 times)
mouser
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« Reply #50 on: August 24, 2008, 10:35:25 AM »

I just wanted to add a comment here..

I never worry about backing up program settings or registry, etc.

For me I worry about 2 things (as i described in my old backup guide):

First, i make sure my personal documents are backed up, OFTEN.  This includes any real writing i may do or programming, etc.  It's anything that i hold near and dear to my heart that would make me cry if i lost it.  It does not include things like program settings which would suck to have to reconfigure but wouldn't be the end of the world.

Second, i make a full system drive image regularly (but not as often as i backup my documents).  This is in case my entire system crashes, i lose a hard drive to a hardware fault, or in case something else infects my PC.

If something catastrophic happens, my solution would be to reinstall from a stable drive image, reseting the entire hard drive to a known good state.  I do not trust the idea of "partially restoring" the system by running windows built in system restore, or trying to restore a saved registry... it all seems to fragile and error prone to me.

The backup of my documents are meant to provide a good history for me of all my personal work so i can always restore a recent version of these files at any time, including after a drive image restore.  And to let me find an older version if i mess up something.

In short, i recommend not relying on anything fancy -- better to do a full drive image on a regular (monthly?) basis, and be prepared to go back to that state if something goes badly wrong with your pc.  And combine that with a daily/weekly backup of your own personal documents which are most important to you, using whatever program can do that quickly (and keep versioned backups so you can find older versions).
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Darwin
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« Reply #51 on: August 24, 2008, 10:48:37 AM »

Nicely stated, mouser  Thmbsup This is exactly what I do as well (though I probably got the inspiration from your backup guide  Grin).
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cmpm
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« Reply #52 on: August 24, 2008, 10:59:59 AM »

yeah, I keep pictures screenshots documents activation codes and downloads mainly.
That's what I sync. And when syncing to another computer, those files are available for use immediately on the other computer/s.

Well here's a shot of what I keep.



* 1.png (18.78 KB, 832x265 - viewed 323 times.)
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tslim
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« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2008, 11:12:11 AM »

mouser,

I have been using Ghost imaging to backup for years.
But nowadays, newer HDD's capasity is growing much faster than their speed ...
Everything is becoming bigger and bigger and it takes longer and longer to clone a full disk.
I think is time to resort to RAID 1 or RAID 1+0 if hardware budget is not tight.
New mobo bios nowadays is normally RAID ready and HDD is becoming cheaper and cheaper...
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Dormouse
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« Reply #54 on: August 24, 2008, 11:26:13 AM »

One thing I would say from your list of things to backup is that some of them are really for Archiving rather than (or as well as) Backup.
Not "some", but only "one" of them that is the first item.

Sorry, I meant your list of stuff to backup. When I was talking about archiving, I meant the photos etc. By archiving, I meant that it is stuff that you want to keep safe permanently, with limited changes but more frequent additions.

I keep archived stuff in a number of ways (various HDDs, DVD-RAMs in multiple locations, on the net) depending on what it is and how much I would miss it if the house burned down.

I keep backups on HDDs and some stuff on the net; mostly it is for timesaving and convenience and I probably wouldn't be worrying too much about that if the house had burned down. Family photos; created stuff etc.

Not really worried at all about reinstating my system. I redo that from scratch every few years anyway.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #55 on: August 24, 2008, 11:30:31 AM »

But nowadays, newer HDD's capasity is growing much faster than their speed ...

I think is time to resort to RAID 1 or RAID 1+0 if hardware budget is not tight.

Agreed; I've given up cloning. Not so sure about the advantages of RAID. I have it on a network drive, but will it work if there is a crash? I don't know - so I can't really rely on it - too many reports of it not having been in working order when needed.
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tslim
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« Reply #56 on: August 24, 2008, 12:00:23 PM »

By archiving, I meant that it is stuff that you want to keep safe permanently, with limited changes but more frequent additions.
Ok, I see.

Not really worried at all about reinstating my system. I redo that from scratch every few years anyway.
I can't afford to lost utility data for quite a number of programs: like ACDsee database, MacroExpress macros, True LaunchBar's bar sets etc.

For general application settings, I have to admit, they won't be a concern for most people. It is sort of my hobby - I mean I enjoy very much by setting utilities in Windows... kind of playing empire building game... smiley
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tslim
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« Reply #57 on: August 24, 2008, 12:15:02 PM »

Agreed; I've given up cloning. Not so sure about the advantages of RAID. I have it on a network drive, but will it work if there is a crash? I don't know - so I can't really rely on it - too many reports of it not having been in working order when needed.
Lets say you got a mobo with RAID ready.
1) Find 2 160GB SATA HDD raid them 0, I can assure you a great feel of performance boost.
then
2) Try them for Raid 1, get yourself some confidence of how a mirror system can help, just unplug one of them while Windows is running.
finally
Go buy 4 500GB SATA HDD and build your ultimate Raid 1+0 system, you are fast and safe by then.
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Darwin
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« Reply #58 on: August 24, 2008, 12:29:50 PM »

Everything is becoming bigger and bigger and it takes longer and longer to clone a full disk.

I run notebooks, so I just partition the drive and set aside about 30 GB for Windows and programmes and the rest as E: for Documents and everything else. I use Super Flexible File Synchronizer to backup the important stuff on E  and Acronis True Image to make incremental image backups of the Windows/Programmes partition... Both of these are done to a 500GB USB drive. The whole process, if I do it back to back (and I don't, as a rule), takes about 25 minutes for the entire 120GB over USB 2.0 connection. I usually backup documents every couple of days* and only image the harddrive if anything significant is changed (as in, installing software that requires a lot of setup and/or activation).

NB all my important data and settings files, such as Outlook data files, are also kept on the Documents partition (E:) and are automatically backed up along with my documents...

I understand, of course, that if I had a TB drive full of data to backup I might be approaching this differently!

*REALLY important stuff, like e-mail and PhD crap gets backed up to a Thumbdrive daily... just in case!
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Softland
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« Reply #59 on: August 25, 2008, 05:23:13 AM »

in an "ideal" backup
it sounds to me like #2 the way it was described
-
in an "ideal" backup programme It would be great to be able to simply Control+DragDrop to create a copy of a backup.
Indeed #2 is what I meant. In Backup4all you can select a backup job, press Ctrl+L (this will create a duplicate of the existing backup job) and then drag-drop it into a different group (only in version 4 in the Tree view). Thanks tomos for the suggestion of the Ctrl+drag/drop, this will be added in the next beta update since it's easy to implement and seems an useful way of duplicating backup jobs across other groups.

If a job to be shared is complex, repeating the same definition in many groups is a waste of time and future change/remove of such job will become very difficult, because any change will have to be repeated in all the N groups and that is provided one can still remember exactly what are the groups that need to be changed.
I'll suggest this to our developers, but I don't see how useful would it be to have the exact backup job in two different groups and have them both sharing the same centralized settings. If that source is important and want to be sure it gets backed up, you can set up a scheduler for it.

If Backup4All strictly requires one to create plugin first in order to backup selective registry key(s), then that is too bad. I don't even agree with any claim that it supports registry key(s) backup. I can easily quote you an example which also sounds like a trick or workaround than a real support of such feature:
It can back up registry keys only if these are part of a created plugin, we don't claim on the site that Backup4all backs up and restores registry keys. This will be a feature in another version when we'll restructure the way the Sources are used (so that registry keys, ftp sources, email sources, ... could be added) and figure out a way to make this secure for regular users too. The registry backup feature has lower priority compared with other features we want to implement, because other than using it for backing up applications (which can be done with plugins too) it doesn't have much applicability.

Backup4all does not meet your requirements (at least for now). I'm sure we'll get there but it takes some time, mainly because it's a matter of priorities rather than willingness. The focus of this new version has been to improve handling large amounts of data, and it's a thing we've been working for quite a while now (with the final version it should work just fine to back up millions of files without having Backup4all crash, which I cannot say about many of our competitors - at least based on our tests, details to be included in the final version).
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tslim
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« Reply #60 on: August 25, 2008, 09:46:30 AM »

I'll suggest this to our developers, but I don't see how useful would it be to have the exact backup job in two different groups and have them both sharing the same centralized settings. If that source is important and want to be sure it gets backed up, you can set up a scheduler for it.
It is for the sake of easy maintenance and flexibility when setting up manual/timed schedules of backup. I have never thought about using it "just to ensure a source gets backup". Neither have I expected you to think along this direction and I feel disappointed for you can't see the usefulness of sharing job definition...

I hope the below will reach the developer of Backup4All:
Do you find "clone job" a useful function?
I suppose you do, because it is in Backup4All.
By providing the "clone job" function, I know you are expecting users will use it to create exact copies or variant copies of a job.
But what if the "common part" of multiple replica/variant needs a change? Don't you find changing every copy of them a pain?

The registry backup feature has lower priority compared with other features we want to implement, because other than using it for backing up applications (which can be done with plugins too) it doesn't have much applicability.
1) Clone job function is to clone a job (1 purpose)
2) The zip engine is to compress the backup source (1 purpose)
3) The scheduler is to create backup schedule (1 purpose)
etc

I can find a lot of features in Backup4all all serves a specific purpose just like the "Backup registry key" feature. In term of applicability, why do you/ what makes you find the others serve more than "Backup registry key" function? After all, they all serve only a specific function, right?

One can use "Backup registry key" function to backup application settings for:
a) Rebuild Windows from scratch, and therefore reinstall application and use the backup to quickly restore its previous settings.

b) Test an upgrade version of a utility. Regret? Uninstall and reinstall the previous ver. If settings are gone, then take them back from the backup.

c) Transfer application settings from 1 PC to the other PC. Of course this sometime won't work, but most of the time a backup from PC A follow by a Restore on PC B works.

As you can see, though it only does 1 thing, but it might come to help in many different scenarios. I see great applicability in it.

Btw,
Nice to meet you here Softland.
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Armando
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« Reply #61 on: August 25, 2008, 10:07:13 AM »

Interesting thread. We had a few discussions about backup in the past -- of course, not necessarily about tslim's requirements, specifically. Here's one : http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1999.0
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« Reply #62 on: August 25, 2008, 10:17:10 AM »

Quote
) Transfer application settings from 1 PC to the other PC. Of course this sometime won't work, but most of the time a backup from PC A follow by a Restore on PC B works.

This wouldn't work for a lot of software because of the nature of the settings.
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tslim
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« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2008, 01:53:26 PM »

Quote
) Transfer application settings from 1 PC to the other PC. Of course this sometime won't work, but most of the time a backup from PC A follow by a Restore on PC B works.

This wouldn't work for a lot of software because of the nature of the settings.
I would say it depends. The chance of a successful transfer is greatly boosted base on 2 factors:
1) How smart one guess what is the purpose of a setting in the registry, since there won't be documentation for 99% of programs.
2) How you restore settings in target PC. One example is restore all settings and tweak the one or two which give trouble. That is it.

Of course, the fundamental requirement is you know where in the registry the settings are stored. (Use Total Uninstall will be of great help)
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mwang
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« Reply #64 on: August 29, 2008, 07:49:46 AM »

The GBM Pro is the world most extreme software. It has fast zip engine, it is unicode aware
Last time I tried, GBM Pro v.8 did backup and restore files with unicode filenames fine, but its search function couldn't find them in the zipped archives. Zip format doesn't have native unicode support, and GBM has to change the filenames before storing them. When searching, however, it didn't handle this conversion properly.

Not sure if it's still a valid observation, but be sure to check if this is important to you.
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tslim
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« Reply #65 on: August 30, 2008, 12:08:56 PM »

The GBM Pro is the world most extreme software. It has fast zip engine, it is unicode aware
Last time I tried, GBM Pro v.8 did backup and restore files with unicode filenames fine, but its search function couldn't find them in the zipped archives. Zip format doesn't have native unicode support, and GBM has to change the filenames before storing them. When searching, however, it didn't handle this conversion properly.

Not sure if it's still a valid observation, but be sure to check if this is important to you.
There are 2 things I want to clarify here:

1) GBM does not change filenames in foreign language (I mean language which is not the master language of Windows) when it stores them in its gbp file. The proof is simple, I open a gbp file containing Chinese Traditional file name with Total Commander and I can see the filename is stored exactly as it is (on HDD and also) in the gbp. If GBM Pro has a proprietary way to store a foreign language filename, then opening the zip with another utility should not show the filename in its original (foreign) language.
Please see the attachment. My WinXp is English version and I set my non-unicode language as Chinse Simplified -- NOT Chinese Traditional.

2) GBM Pro support unicode search correctly. At least that is the case with ver 8.0.259.429
Again, please see the attachment.


* Snap.jpg (130.6 KB, 1024x768 - viewed 335 times.)

* Snap2.jpg (152.41 KB, 1024x768 - viewed 325 times.)
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« Reply #66 on: August 30, 2008, 12:52:22 PM »

Completely unrelated, but what do you use to get this, tslim?



Thanks!
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Darwin
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« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2008, 12:58:42 PM »

Completely unrelated, but what do you use to get this, tslim?
 (see attachment in previous post)
Thanks!

Looks like Actual Windows Manager... at a guess!
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tslim
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« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2008, 01:02:04 PM »

Completely unrelated, but what do you use to get this, tslim?
 (see attachment in previous post)
Thanks!
Actual Window Manager Ver 5.1 (http://actualtools.com)
A must for whom who likes to open window after window until getting lost in the sea of windows.
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tranglos
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« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2008, 01:43:56 PM »

Actual Window Manager Ver 5.1 (http://actualtools.com)
A must for whom who likes to open window after window until getting lost in the sea of windows.

That would be me. Thanks a lot!
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mwang
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« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2008, 10:11:18 PM »

There are 2 things I want to clarify here:
Thanks for the clarification. I'll give it another shot, then. Have you tried it with files with a unicode name other than Chinese, like Japanese and Korean? IIRC, Korean filenames gave me the most troubles, followed by Japanese?

Took another look at their homepage just now, and I think the one I tried should be GBM Home, not Pro, if that makes a difference in this regard. Sorry for any misinformation.
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mwang
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« Reply #71 on: August 31, 2008, 12:56:03 AM »

1) GBM does not change filenames in foreign language (I mean language which is not the master language of Windows) when it stores them in its gbp file.

OK, downloaded GBM Pro 8.0.340.510 just now and tried it.

My system config: Vista sp1 (English), with Traditional Chinese as my "non-unicode language."

I set up a test folder with 6 files, 1 with English name, 1 Japanese, 1 Korean, 1 Simplified Chinese (same as yours), 2 with Traditional Chinese (one the same as yours, converted Traditional Chinese, the other with characters that often cause troubles).

Screenshot 1: The "Rename unicode files" option in GBM Pro isn't checked.


Screenshot 2: Full backup catalog (everything fine).


Screenshot 3: Traditional Chinese search (no problem). Note wildcards characters ("*") are in the filter view (background), but not in the Advanced Search dialog.


Screenshot 4: Simplifed Chinese search: filter view (background) worked, but Advanced Search found nothing.


Screenshot 5: Same with Japanese (and Korean, screenshot omitted.)



I also load the .gbp file in Total Commander (7.04a, also downloaded just now). I know .gbp files are just .zip filies in another name, but my Directory Opus doesn't recognize it (not even after I set the association), and I don't want to change the ext name to reduce any doubt of tempering.

Screenshot 6: directory structure of test.gbp on the left, and my test folder ("K:\gbmtest") on the right. See the "GRename" and "MF" subfolder?


Screenshot 7: content of the "MF" subfolder: 3 files stored in their original name.



Screenshot 8: content of the "GRename" subfolder: 3 files stored in a converted name.


So it seems my memory didn't really fail me after all.

Side note: why doesn't GPB remember the size and position of the Advanced Search dialog box?
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tslim
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« Reply #72 on: August 31, 2008, 09:18:20 AM »

I set up a test folder with 6 files, 1 with English name, 1 Japanese, 1 Korean, 1 Simplified Chinese (same as yours), 2 with Traditional Chinese (one the same as yours, converted Traditional Chinese, the other with characters that often cause troubles).
What do you mean by "one the same as yours, converted Traditional Chinese"?

Screenshot 1: The "Rename unicode files" option in GBM Pro isn't checked.
Screenshot 6: directory structure of test.gbp on the left, and my test folder ("K:\gbmtest") on the right. See the "GRename" and "MF" subfolder?
I suppose if the "Rename unicode files" option is not ticked then foreign file names should be saved as it is. There shouldn't be a rename during backup nor a "GRename" folder in the gbp file.

After reading your reply, I try again with 3 files named in Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional and Japanese respectively. Backup with GBM Pro and open up the gbp with Total Commander, I see no "GRename" folder inside??? and I can see the 3 files as before, correctly stored in the gbp. Please see the attachment.

Screenshot 4: Simplifed Chinese search: filter view (background) worked, but Advanced Search found nothing.
Screenshot 5: Same with Japanese (and Korean, screenshot omitted.)
Those search failures are expected. Think about it, if the file names are stored in non-native way, how could there be any match. Do you notice all your search failures happen only when you search for those files whose name is stored by the so called GRename Technology (in GRename folder)?

My search in all Japanese, Chinese Traditional and Simplified are successful! Please see attachment. The question is why in your case a GRename folder appear in the gbp file whereas mine does not have that? i.e why in your case GBM Pro insists of using its "GRename Technology" whereas in mine case it respect my preference setting: me too have the "Rename unicode files" option unchecked.

Side note: why doesn't GPB remember the size and position of the Advanced Search dialog box?
Your are fingering my G-Spot, ah! Ah! AH
It has to be that way in order to uphold GBM Pro's world no.1 bad interface design status. tongue

Btw, if you want to set a permenant size ans position of the GBM's Advanced Search dialog box (which happen to be at top-level), you can try Actual Window Manager, see my reply in previous post


* Snap2.jpg (166.45 KB, 952x882 - viewed 402 times.)

* Snap3.jpg (104.84 KB, 524x1450 - viewed 316 times.)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2008, 09:21:49 AM by tslim » Logged
tslim
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« Reply #73 on: August 31, 2008, 10:04:58 AM »

I also load the .gbp file in Total Commander (7.04a, also downloaded just now). I know .gbp files are just .zip filies in another name, but my Directory Opus doesn't recognize it (not even after I set the association), and I don't want to change the ext name to reduce any doubt of tempering.

Glad you try Total Commander, for zip or archive files handling, no other explorer like utility come close to it. Its rename dialog is so far the most intuitive interface design that I have ever come acrosss.
I also own a license for xPlorer2, but I seldom use it. I use it only if I need to work with a flat directory listing. It fully support ADS in its copy and move functions.
As for DOpus, I like its ability to let user set multiple functions per toolbar button, but I really dislike its rename dialog and innocent about rar file.
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« Reply #74 on: August 31, 2008, 05:28:41 PM »

What do you mean by "one the same as yours, converted Traditional Chinese"?

I mean the filename is the same as yours (as the one in Simplified Chinese in your original test), but in Traditional Chinese.

To get to the bottom of this matter, I changed my "language for non-unicode programs" to Simplified Chinese (PRC), and guess what I found? This time all files were saved as is except one--Korean.


As I said, Korean filenames usually gave me the most troubles. Another test was done after changing language to Simplified Chinese (Singapore), same. Then, changed language again into English, and this time all but the English files were saved in the "GRename" subfolder. (Sorted by size this time, for easier comparison with the originals. And the screenshot was taken just now with DOpus after unzipping the .gbp into a folder, with TC gone from my system. )


In all three environments I tried two sets of new full backups, one with the "Rename unicode files" option enabled and the other disabled. And the results were all the same. I even tried another round that didn't use compression (files backed up to a directory), and yet I got identical results regardless of the option. Weird.

While in the "English" environment, I also opened the .gbp created when I was in Simplified Chinese (PRC), and this is what I saw:


So the mystery is solved. GBM Pro renames a file only when it deems necessary under the very system encoding configuration, disregarding the "Rename unicode files" option. And when it stores a file as is, there's no guarantee filenames could be restored properly under a different system configuration. That's not true unicode operation. A true unicode program doesn't produce different results when the system encoding (for non-unicode programs) has been changed.

The very limitation lies with the zip format GBM uses (zip format before 6.3 just isn't unicode compatible). They really should use the newest zip format (or better, use the open source 7z format that has been unicode compatible from the start), but I guess they have compatibility concerns. (Which, in my opinion, shouldn't be too difficult to solve by giving the user an option to use the newer, unicode-friendly, albeit less compatible zip format.)

Those search failures are expected. Think about it, if the file names are stored in non-native way, how could there be any match.

It shouldn't be that hard. If GBM could show all the files properly in backup catalogs and restore those files back to their original name properly, it has to have some sort of internal table that keep records of which is which. The very records should be used to facilitate searching.

Btw, if you want to set a permenant size ans position of the GBM's Advanced Search dialog box (which happen to be at top-level), you can try Actual Window Manager,

Thanks. My Powerpro could do that as well. I didn't expect to keep GBM (it's gone now), so I didn't bother to set it up.

Glad you try Total Commander, for zip or archive files handling, no other explorer like utility come close to it. Its rename dialog is so far the most intuitive interface design that I have ever come acrosss.

Thanks again for the advice. I tried TC a few times in the past, but never liked it. I know it's very powerful, and a lot of people (on DC and elsewhere) swear by it, but it's just not my thing. I never liked Norton Commander, and don't like any fiile manager that use the same interface. XYplorer would be my file manager if it had true unicode support (it does now) when I was hunting for an Explorer replacement. Now as I'm planning to move to Linux, I'm not paying for anything that works only on Windows, unless I absolutely can't live without it. As a result, I'm stuck with DOpus, for now. (Ah, sounds like I don't like DOpus. Actually I do, despite many small complaints.)
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