I got a headache. A serious headache, but this has nothing to do with my health – it’s only about data loss, because each time I remember all the good stuff I lost in the last decade because of various hardware failures, my head suddenly starts to feel really heavy and I feel like kicking something/someone. Sure, best choice would be to kick those who built the devices that died on me, but why not kick myself for thinking that only a portable stick would be enough to backup my vital stuff?
Well, today we’re going to talk about another Web-based backup solution and the software coming with the service, namely CoolBackup (or Cool Backup, if you want – I’ll never understand why giving such names to programs as long as your Space key is still working…). Call it as you wish, I’ll call it as they do, CoolBackup.
As I write this, the last version of FilesAnywhere’s CoolBackup software is 5.20, build 135 and, as you probably imagined, downloading and using it is free. Obviously, if you want to use more than 1 GB of space and get some extra features, you’ll have to pay. More details about the available plans for home users can be found on this page.
According to the official site, CoolBackup 5.20 works with all popular Windows versions, including Vista/7 and XP, but also Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. More than this program, you can also get a similar Mac application or an Outlook add-in. Sweet!
CoolBackup’s setup package has about 11.3 MB in size and, as far as I’m concerned, the setup process is a dream coming true – finally, just a link for those really interested in reading the License Agreement instead of all that nonsense that nobody reads, no spyware, no toolbars, no settings to mess with. Excellent, so if you have those ~46 MB of free space needed to install the whole package, I think we should move on and check the looks and works as usual, don’t you agree?
When talking about the interface, you should also think about the Web interface of the file backup service provided by FilesAnywhere. Speaking for myself, I find both CoolBackup and the Web interface (accessible right from FilesAnywhere’s homepage) to be good looking, well documented, but not that easy to use – at least at first sight. All in all, I think that CoolBackup has a really good interface, especially since it also has a Wizard Mode that can make things really simple. These being said, I think the time has come to see why should you use this program, Wizard Mode or not: let those features roll!!!
Before moving to the program itself, here’s what you get with your free data plan (the program works even without it, but why use such a program for local backup only?) – only 1 GB of free storage and severely limited features (no FTP, unfortunately, but you can connect and upload/download/share files using the Web interface). Happy with that or not, it doesn’t matter – CoolBackup can really make up for the missing features, as you’re going to see right away…
After starting the program, you end up facing the default interface style you have previously chosen. Obviously, first run will put you face to face with the Wizard Mode. Here, the options available should be pretty straightforward: you can create a new profile/perform a synchronization or backup task, edit/run one profile already saved, run several profiles at once and, finally, start the Scheduler service.
Next, we’ll only talk about two things, then we’ll move to the final part of the review. Why so quick? Well, you don’t know about the two things I mentioned yet, so hold your horses! First, we’ll go through creating a new profile, then we’ll get to take a closer look at the incredible amount of settings you can mess with for such a profile. Sounds like a good plan to me, so let’s get to it!
When creating a profile with the help of the Wizard Mode, there are only four steps to go through. First, you have to specify the folders to sync. Obviously, best choice would be to use the FilesAnywhere cloud storage as destination, but it also works with two local folders for a quick try. During the second stage, you have to choose the synchronization mode for your profile – two-way sync, upload or download data. Next, there’s the Set the Schedule page – its name says it all, right? At last, you are allowed to save and run your profile or, if you don’t feel like running, only save.
At last, let me say just one word regarding the settings available: impressive! Just hear these: versioning, ZIP/encryption, Synthetic Backups (a combination between packing, versioning and partial file updating), advanced copy limits/filters, excellent safety features, as well as attended/unattended modes… and this is only the beginning, but I’ll leave the screenshots speak the rest of it.
Am I overwhelmed by CoolBackup? That’s true, I must admit it, and if you think I’m joking, take this program for a ride – you won’t be disappointed, although you may fall on your back… so let’s try a few tips before concluding today’s review!
Tips & Tricks
1. Even if you get a data plan that allows you to use FTP transfers from this program, you have to try the Web interface – there are plenty of features there you won’t see in CoolBackup (see the last five screenshots at the end of the review to get an idea).
2. No matter how cool may be this program and the backup service offered by FilesAnywhere, sometimes it’s better to use an external drive or a local NAS device to backup your stuff (and cheaper, too). Think seriously about this and consider the amount of data you need to backup and your Internet bandwidth available, then decide.
3. If you’re really paranoid and want 1024-bit encryption, feel free to use one automated tool to encrypt your data on a regular basis, then sync this process with the scheduled backup tasks performed by CoolBackup.
CoolBackup 5.2 looks good and should also feel great for both beginners and experts. Compatibility with popular (and less popular as well) Windows operating systems is very good, while pricing of the data plans available to home users is decent – considering that most competitors ask similar prices.
The documentation of this program seems like some really boring academic writing – no images, just text – without too many paragraphs, either. While this may not be considered that much of a problem by many, being unable to upload backups from the program while using the free data plan is quite an issue, if you ask me…
I know that some people may claim there are others like CoolBackup and I won’t deny that. On the other hand, while I think there’s still some work to be done to make this program one that’s almost perfect, it gets our badge today for what already is, but also for what it could – and must – become. That’s all, folks!