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Author Topic: Review suggestions  (Read 47049 times)
ricnaff
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« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2005, 06:07:27 PM »

OK, I'll suggest something near and dear to my heart, though I realize there's probably only 3 other people in the home-computing world that give a rip...  Backup software. (Ohmigawd, did he just say BACKUP?!!!)

Yeah, I know there's a backup tool built into Windows since version '95. And OK, so if you actually USE the thing (refer to my previous comment about the 3 other people in the world), you CAN recover some files, assuming you know what files to recover.

One VERY bad thing about the Windows backup is, well actually, two are, it cannot backup a file from disc if it is open, and it cannot overlay a file on disc if it is open. So, for example, just TRY to recover your registry file (or files, as is the case now in XP). Go on, try. I'll wait...   drinksmiley

Neither does it let you backup files from another computer on your home network. For example, you can't connect your laptop to the network and run the backup from your desktop, expecting to get a nice tape or DVD copy of your laptop's content. As should be obvious, you can't restore that way, either.

I've been using TapeWare for several years. It came with my HP Insider tape backup unit. It does in fact backup and restore across the network (you'll need a "feed" engine running on the laptop that communicates with the main backup engine on the desktop). And yes, it DOES backup files that are open, and it DOES restore files that are open (but you have to tell it to, and even then, it requires a reboot to recover busy files).

TapeWare is serious networking adminitrators' stuff, though, and the interface isn't all that wonderful for non-admins like myself. I end up backing up the same file several times. For example, it backs up the registry by polling the registry interface and extracting the current values from either memory or disc, as is appropriate for a value at the time. Then it procedes to back up the disc files, which on XP are multiple. So I get 2 copies of my registry. Same thing happens with my shredder - one copy comes from reading the contents of the shredder, another comes from reading the actual file off of disc.

Result: my desktop, with some 14gb of files, creates a tape with about 19gb. I use 24gb tapes, so size is not a problem, but the length of time to backup and verify is.

A strong point, and VERY strong, is this: TapeWare creates, on every tape, the system bootup sector and partition information. That's important, in combination with my HP drive. In the event of "I can't boot" or "Blue screen of death" I can power-off, hold the eject button on my drive, and power back on. The drive makes itself look like a bootable CDROM and starts a DOS recovery session. Data is taken off the tape (make sure you do an incrimental every day) and laid onto the disc. Just enough to get a bare Windows system running and the TapeWare software running on it. Then it reboots from disc and loads windows, where the full TapeWare commences to put back everything up to whatever incrimentl backup date you like. Done. Recovered. Completely.

So what other high performance, auto-error detecting, full backup/restore is available for the home user? I'm afraid to stop using TapeWare, but I sure wish there was something not so cryptic in its GUI that made me feel more comfortable about tweaking what it backs up...

Ric Naff
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mouser
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« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2005, 06:18:37 PM »

i am a very big backup fanatic,
and i have some def. views on best backup software.

i was actually thinking of doing a special kind of review for backup, in the form of a guide.

so i would layout my guide to backing up your computer and files, in terms of a complete guide w/ associated best recommended software.

to me backing up involves having a couple of different systems for dif. purposes, so its not just a matter of recommending one piece of software.

next week i have a real special app that i am really looking forward to awarding..

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mouser
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« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2005, 06:28:05 PM »

ric,

the new wave of drive imaging software is good at making a complete clone of your hd, while windows is still running - it backs up your registry and all open files.

True Image is my current favorite for this - it does a remarkable job and its very fast.
i recommend buying an external usb drive and using such a program, instead of tapes.
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nudone
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« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2005, 01:50:54 AM »

i started off using ghost but now use drive image 2002. i know there is a newer version but i don't like how the new hard drive cloners work - all the new ones i've tried require you to boot from a CD to restore the image (maybe i've missed something) whereas drive image 2002 allows you to start the restore process from a program running inside windows.

having to keep inserting a boot CD and then wait for it to load every time i want to restore an image is something i really don't have the time for. i'd much rather prefer to set it running from windows and then walk out the room and come back when everything is done.

i must say the incremental backup of the new programs is a feature i'm envious of but you can't have everything can you?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2005, 01:55:32 AM by nudone » Logged
Zero3K
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« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2005, 05:23:17 PM »

I have a category that should be reviewed. It is:
  • Best Instant Messenger
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Zero-Point
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« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2005, 05:39:24 PM »

I was going to append backup software to my list (if possible). smiley

I agree there should be two separate categories for backup software: drive/partition cloning and file, incremental etc.

I would be very interested in your guide mouser. I have used Ghost for cloning, but have not really found a "file" backup util that I've been impressed with...or maybe my workflow is just not very good. Right now, I'm using ~50 batch files to backup program settings/profiles and becoming more tedious every day. lol

nudone: does drive image allow you to restore a clone of the system drive/partition (with windows on it)? This is usually why cloners require you to boot from CD to restore.
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nudone
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« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2005, 01:35:05 PM »

 smiley yep, drive images 2002 allows you to restore a system drive/partition with any windows based operating system on it - i'm using xp pro with ntfs (can't say i've tried it with windows 2003).

whether it works with non fat, fat32 or ntfs formats i can't say.

i stopped using ghost a few years ago but when i did use it that was run from within the operating system too - can't remember if i ever used it with xp.

you can also use drive image 2002 off of a boot cd if you make it in the right way.
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nudone
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« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2005, 04:12:28 AM »

as i don't wish to sound like a complete idiot, i just thought i better explain...

drive image 2002 will run from within windows but if the image you are restoring IS the system drive/partition then windows will reboot so that the process can carried out.

a version of DOS automatically loads after the reboot and drive image 2002 takes over from there.

i don't understand why this is such a problem for the current crop of drive cloning programs - having to use a boot CD seems like a backward step to me.
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Ann Elm
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« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2005, 04:22:28 PM »

can't think of a standalone favorites manager off the top of my head but you might find these useful...

am-deadlink http://www.aignes.com/ great for checking deadlinks in your favorites list (also can download the webpage address icons for you if they are broken).

favourites to html http://www.jonessoft.co.uk/ will create an html page for you with all your favorites set out with a nicely formatted folder structure.

ie favorites extractor http://belkasoft.com/?fe similar to the above but outputs to different file formats.

these are all free too.  smiley

quick edit - just looked at Belkasoft - they have a program called 'LinksManager' which looks like it would do what you are after. i've not tried it though.
Thanks Nudone!!
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Zero-Point
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« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2005, 11:52:40 PM »

Thanks nudone for restating that Drive Image reboots to DOS to clone; when I read your first reply, I wasn't sure how it worked properly lol. I haven't done cloning much lately, but when I did, always used the boot CD anyway. If I recall correctly, I thought Ghost would reboot into DOS system if the partition was the Windows drive.

This topic and another sparked my interest in creating my own custom boot CD with a few utilities (incl. Ghost and True Image) along with WinXP & Win98se.

Btw, my favorite ink manager is Linkman (http://outertech.com/inde...a_page=product&id=5); it also exports to HTML, which I forgot about and need to look into again.
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nudone
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« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2005, 01:54:00 AM »

ah, linkman, now that rings a bell.

just had a quick look at their website - i do remember using linkman many moons ago and i would agree it's an excellent links/favorites manager. in fact, i think i will give it another go.

talking of boot CDs, you've probably already come across it but if not you might like BartPE http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
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longrun
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« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2005, 03:15:36 PM »

I've looked at several offline browsers and have yet to get one to do exactly what I want. Of the many I've tried, Offline Explorer is the best. The test for me is to successfully make a scheduled download of all the articles in the NY Times Science and Opinion pages in their entirety, without downloading a bunch of extraneous material.
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mouser
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« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2005, 05:51:02 PM »

offline explorer is very powerful;
the other top program i know about for this is Teleport Pro.
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JeffK
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« Reply #38 on: April 02, 2005, 08:13:08 PM »

Offline Explorer is very powerful.  The application I chose with similar functionality is Cyberarticle.

Jeff
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JeffK
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« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2005, 08:14:55 PM »

I would like to see a comparative review of the under $100 website design tools for those that can't afford Dreamweaver et al.  I'm thinking of Webeasy Pro and Web Studio from Back to the Beach.

Jeff
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zridling
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« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2005, 05:31:23 PM »

I'll add to Jibz' suggestions. He listed:
- Best Programmers Editor
- Best E-mail Client
- Best Process Explorer
- Best Archiver
- Best FTP Client
- Best Image Viewer/Browser

Over time, I'd also like to see Best:
__Outlining/Note-taking tool
__Calculator
__Image Editing tool
__File Renamer
__Photo Resizer
__Screen Recorder
__Duplicate File Finder
__Windows Tweaking tool/s
__Defrag, Disk Management
__Uninstall tool
__Synching tool
__Download Manager
__Privacy tool
__Blogging (blog-posting, not creation) tool
__Online Help/Resource sites
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« Reply #41 on: April 21, 2005, 05:39:56 PM »

syncing tool might be covered by our beyond compare review..

so many good ideas, i think it's safe to say we are going to get around to all of these categories eventually.. just a matter of what order we do them in..

outlining/note-taking tools are near and dear to my heart, so i might do a review of those soon, same with screen recorder.

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« Reply #42 on: April 25, 2005, 07:12:38 AM »

It might also be worth considering reviewing Spyware cleaning apps, especially as more than one is required to give any kind of real protection and these days you are much more likely to be a victim of spyware than of a virus.

Trojan cleaners/protectors may also be worth looking at, as is disk encryption.
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kfitting
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« Reply #43 on: April 25, 2005, 06:24:47 PM »

Defragmentor would be top on my list right now... so many options, but no real way to tell if they give what they claim.

kevin
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« Reply #44 on: April 26, 2005, 02:05:38 AM »

Defragmentor would be top on my list right now... so many options, but no real way to tell if they give what they claim.

kevin

Yes there is a lot of fud in this area and an awful lot of fanboys for each product.  I'm pretty certain this should make any review rather contentious, no doubt leading to a rather interesting discussion. smiley
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Martin
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« Reply #45 on: April 27, 2005, 06:32:44 AM »

This might be very personal, but I'd really like to see reviews of .NET Framework 100% Managed Code components. These are really expensive and I certainly can't afford to buy them only to find I got the wrong one!

I'm especially interested in Networking Components and TLS/SSL components.

Maybe a category for Programming Language Components?

Martin (w-h)
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mouser
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« Reply #46 on: April 27, 2005, 09:03:31 AM »

martin,

i very much like this idea, if we can find a guest reviewer to do it.
i'd like to do an occasionally series on
  best photoshop plugins
  best delphi/c++ builder components
  best vc components

best .net components would be nice too
but we'll need to find someone who really knows the subject to write the review since im not qualified.
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zridling
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« Reply #47 on: April 30, 2005, 12:13:59 AM »

Best outlining/note-taking tool? Just in case, my Top 5 list is as follows:

__(1) Microsoft OneNote-SP1
__(2) TexNotes Pro
__(3) Jot+ Notes
__(4) AM-Notebook Pro
__(5) NoteMap

Unlike text editors, there are many good candidates in this class of software, and even some on the OS side. The three biggest factors for me tend to be interface design, outlining flexibility and ease, and import/export abilities. Coincidently, like text editors, most outlining tools rarely see major upgrades.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2005, 12:26:23 AM by zridling » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2005, 08:29:23 AM »

Outlining/note-taking gets my vote too as there are so many good ones to choose from, so making a choice is rather tough.

The main factors that matter to me include: Focused (uncluttered but powerful) interface, flexibility, resident abilities (minimise to tray on close, small memory footprint, auto-save on minimise etc.), import/export and of course, price.

I'd almost certainly buy AM-Notebook Pro if it were half the price, despite infrequent updates, as it appears to best fit my criteria.  It's just too expensive for what it is though.

Oh yes, we mustn't forget GoldenSection Notes (A cut-down targetted version of WinOrganizer) which is also a rather nice product.

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JeffK
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« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2005, 09:58:24 AM »

I have been doing some research through midmapping software again.

Jeff
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