I hate great programs, I really do! No, no – I am not (that) crazy to love horrible software, it’s only the fact that choosing a program for a certain task is extremely hard when you have at least 4-5 awesome ones knocking at your door. Today, it’s once again about backing up your stuff and the program that everyone claims it can be awesomeness incarnated itself is Ocster Backup Pro… so let’s get this show rollin’, shall we?
Ocster Backup Pro 6.09 was released about a day ago and it’s priced at $39.90. Obviously, what I have here is a 30-days trial version that only has a nag screen appearing each time you start the program, but no functional limitations. Anyway, there’s no need for that, if you ask me – this piece of code is pretty limited by its design, anyway, so…
… let’s add that the setup package has almost 21 MB in size, installing this program should be easy enough for everyone (you can choose one of the three languages available to make the setup more familiar), without any piece of spyware or one of those silly toolbars to give you headaches. The system requirements are almost decent – about 125 MB of disk space, 512 MB of RAM and one of the following operating systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008, including their 64-bit versions. Great, now we can move to the even more interesting parts – the looks and works, as usual!
Oh, just one more thing before moving on – Ocster Backup Pro 6 installs itself so that it starts every time you load Windows. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid that, other than manually editing your startup items list or, even better, simply avoiding to install the program or uninstalling it as soon as possible once you got a better view of the whole picture.
No matter how much I may dislike some parts of this program, I must confess that the interface looks great. Unfortunately, it has its share of problems – the File menu has a single option, that being “Exit” so, if you ask me, it’s completely useless; the multilanguage support is limited to English, German and Spanish; the documentation coming with the program could have been better; there’s no “Expert” mode, just a wizard-style layout – but this could also be considered a positive fact, after all, so when we draw the line, we could say that Ocster Backup Pro’s interface is good, maybe even “very good,” depending on how you look at it and what do you like to get/see from a program’s GUI…
In case you’re wondering what’s so “pro” about this program, I’ll start by saying it out loud: not much. The idea is that you get some interesting things, such as fully automatic backups, but for me it’s still far from making this piece of code worth 40 bucks. Now, let’s just go through a regular backup session, shall we? After all, the idea is to set your automated backup task in place and then forget about the program…
… and it all starts with a screen that gives you a clear idea about what can happen: create a new backup plan, restore files, manage existing backup plans and, finally, view backup reports. Obviously, we will go with the first choice, especially since the program has just been installed and there’s nothing to restore, no existing plans and, of course, no backup reports!
Next, you have to choose your destination – hard disk/USB stick/network drive or, in case you really want to throw away a lot of money on a few GB of online storage, Ocster Secure Storage. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the idea of backing up stuff on a remote server, but paying 5 bucks for only 10 GB of storage seems ridiculous. After all, you could just buy a shared hosting account with a lot of storage space (even unlimited) for that price and backup your files via FTP… only that Ocster Backup Pro 6 doesn’t support FTP, whoops!
Only in the next step you get to choose the backup location and the name of your plan or just import the backup plan from an existing backup, then you get to a screen that allows you to go with the standard format or the simple 1:1 file copy mode. No need for more mumbo-jumbo, just look at the screenshot at the end of the article that contains this screen and you’ll get the idea, no doubt about it!
Once you decide where to backup, the next step is to pick the things to backup – you can just select some standard folders like My Documents, files by type, manually pick files/folders or just backup various settings like IE Favorites, Outlook emails and calendar, or Firefox/Thunderbird settings and so on. Nothing really out of this world, but a bunch of settings nice to have, especially for beginners.
The next steps allow you to encrypt the backup (or not), select the compression method (none/ZLib/LZMA), choose when to perform automatic backups, if such a thing is desired. After this step, there’s nothing that really matters – reports-related settings, choosing to keep older file versions or not, the summary, the end. Ta-taa!
“Automatic pausing” is a feature that you’ll notice at work when performing your first backup. Theoretically, this will pause the process if your computer becomes too slow to allow you handle your usual tasks. I say “theoretically” because I didn’t keep an eye on this program’s behavior while using it – seeing that it uses over 60 MB of memory was more than enough for me…
… and I think this part about its features is more than enough for you, too, so let’s move to the last parts of this review now, I feel r
Tips & Tricks
Only one tip here, you’ll be grateful for it: no matter how interesting may seem this program at first sight, it’s not – there are plenty of better commercial alternatives, not to mention the few freebies that offer much more than this one, asking for nothing in return!
Ocster Backup Pro 6.0 looks pretty good, using it should be really easy even for the average Joe/Jane, offers support for more than just English and works with quite a few Microsoft operating systems, including their 64-bit versions. In case you ever find yourself lost, the documentation coming with the program should be more than enough to enlighten you.
While it’s great to have a trial version without functional limitations, this program is simply too expensive for its features, support for three languages is nice, still far from enough and, worst of all, if the program’s price is to be considered high, the price of the online storage space is simply ridiculous. Oh, yeah – the interface and documentation could (and SHOULD) be improved here and there, not to mention that “I-want-to-install-myself-where-I-want-and-start-with-your-Windows-and-you-can’t-do-anything-about-it” part!
Well, I guess it happens again – I discover that a program everyone claims to be a new five-star wonder is less than I expected. Well, that’s advertising, you know… but, as long as you still can choose freely and have enough alternatives at your disposal, everything should be fine. Conclusion? Take Ocster Backup Pro for a spin, enjoy it, maybe even use its trial version for an entire month, but always remember that this is no software jewel, but only another decent program in a market niche with a lot of awesome choices waiting…