Farstone's RestoreIT

In my long search for a backup/restore utility for my Windows machines, I've tried just about everything I could get my hands on. Norton's Ghost was pretty good, but only for a full backup and bare metal restore. The rub is that everything else would leave open files since it was running on top of the host operating system. (YEAH, I know, for Linux I use DD for full volume backups and Amanda or a simple tar 

In my long search for a backup/restore utility for my Windows machines, I've tried just about everything I could get my hands on. Norton's Ghost was pretty good, but only for a full backup and bare metal restore. The rub is that everything else would leave open files since it was running on top of the host operating system. (YEAH, I know, for Linux I use DD for full volume backups and Amanda or a simple tar for file backups...in this case I'm talking about Windows) Ghost worked well because you're booting your machine into a DOS based session where you can get exclusive use of the partition. No more open files since Windows is no longer running so no more open swap files, no more open temp files, no more stuff running in the background. What I had been wanting was a cross between the two, boot into a non-Windows system to do a full backup, but still be able to use that same backup to restore just the file I accidently dumped in a mad disk cleaning frenzy.

*NOTE: I will point out that RestoreIT is available in the Linspire Linux distribution, but not at this time for Mac OSx.

Farstone

Address

6 Morgan

Suite 160

Irvine, CA 92618

Phone

949 458-3666

Fax

949 458-3633

E-mail

information@farstone.com

Restore IT version 7

System Requirements

CPU: Intel Pentium 133 or higher

RAM: 64MB or more

Hard Drive: 150MB free space

Operating System: Windows 2000 and XP 32-bit operating systems (RAID Support)

Single user download cost: $29.99, Upgrades: $14.99 with Multiuser downloads also available.

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Quick start initial menu once you've restarted into the DOS session and Windows is no longer running.

So why am I so excited about something as mundane as a backup/restore utility? The answer is simple, I travel a lot and have had a disk drive die out from under me. I want to be able to let a backup run over night and dump it to either optical or a USB hard disk. I don't want to have to make multiple passes on the restore, I don't want to have to dig around for my Windows License key, I don't want to be forced into a single vendor solution, and most importantly I'd like a restore utility that gives me back a machine ready to go without forcing me into repairing various applications.

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I like this program...I should be able to roll back from incremental backups on my USB external drive, and I should be able to do a full restore. Heck, I should be able to boot from either an optical backup or if your machine supports it, boot from a USB external disk. According to the Far Stone FAQ, they hide an incremental backup partition on your machine if you choose that option.

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So this is a case of having my cake and eating it to. Up until this point I'm flirting with the capabilities that have been available from Ghost forever. The difference is in being able to do file level backups and restores in addition to the entire partition/volume or the entire disk. All with very few hardware demands, so while not blazing fast on an old Celeron 550, it also wasn't painfully slow either.

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So even if you're system can't boot from an external USB disk, you can boot from a restore CD/DVD and then get the rest off the USB disk. Heck, when I did a backup to the Optical Drive in white box clone Celeron machine, I didn't even have to format the CD-RW first. I just used it and went to town.

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This is a sample screen that you get when trying to do a restore...interestingly enough, RestoreIT seems to have recognized just about every optical drive I had in the lab, and any of my USB external disks. Once I can wheedle a full compatible hardware list out of them, I'll post it as a comment.

So here and now, I'm making a strong buy recomendation. I'm really looking forward to the enterprise server version that claims to work nicelly with SQL and Exchange. Download the free demo and see for yourself. Heck, if you really like it they even have multi-user downloads available for purchase and download.