Review: Spb Backup 2.0 for Windows Mobile

Spb Backup 2.0 by Spb Software House, available at the WMExperts store for $24.95 here, is a backup program for your Windows Mobile Smartphone or Pocket PC that's designed to be powerful yet simple to use. I have had the opportunity to use Spb Backup 2.0 on my Tilt (WM Professional) and my review follows!

Like me, many of you may remember the frustration of watching helplessly as the "screen of death" appeared on your PDA and you could almost hear an audible "flush" of a toilet as all your data was lost. The early days of my Palm fetish - when removable storage was still a twinkle in Palm's eye - required taking the bad with the good. Yes, you had an amazing device to manage your personal information (PIM), install 3rd party applications, and "tweak" the Preferences to customize your device to meet your unique needs.

All of this technological bliss did not come without a price. I know I could expect the inevitable and much-feared hard reset, requiring sometimes hours of reinstallation of 3rd party apps and setting up my personal preferences all over again since only the PIM data could be restored via HotSync.

Backup programs changed the way we backup and restore our data, and I'm happy to report that Spb Backup 2.0 is highly-evolved and offers an interface and functionality that is easy to use without sacrificing backup power.

Form and Function

Spb Software House does a good job at making nice-looking apps, and Spb Backup 2.0 is no exception. The main screen interface is simple and intuitive - from here you can run a Full Backup, a Custom Backup (selecting the items you wish to backup), Scheduled Backup (if you wish to automate the backup process and choose the time of day this occurs), and Restore Backup (in the event you need to restore your data to your device).

A Full Backup is self-explanatory. Obviously, the more data you have on your device to backup, the longer it will take. Regarding speed of performing a full backup, version 2.0 is aptly named - it boasts a backup speed that is twice as fast as 1.0.

Performing a Custom Backup allows you to select the items you want to backup. Simply check the box next to the items you want to backup and the specific information you selected will be placed in a reserve copy on your device and desktop. Some items allow additional customization for the backup process by selecting the Options button.

A dialog box will then appear, allowing you to specify a file name and location for your backup file to be stored. Selecting the Custom location will permit you to specify where the backup file is stored on your device.

With just a screen tap or press of the button, Spb Backup 2.0 can backup your contacts, messages, files, and preferences. Using the Spb Backup Sync Tool, you can backup and manage your data from your desktop computer. The Sync Tool will automatically copy your backup files to your desktop or laptop computer. You can also restore a backup from your desktop or launch the Unpack tool (more on this in a bit).

The Compression and Encryption dialog provides options for encrypting the data in your backup as well as implement ZIP archiving to reduce the backup memory footprint and save precious storage space on your device.

Scheduling your backups is easy and painless. You can specify the days of the week and times for backup. You have the option for an automatic reset of your device after the backup has been performed, and even an option to power off your device after backup. This may be particularly handy if you schedule your backup during sleep time - once the backup is done, your device will power off.

Spb Backup also has a Today plugin which works well on it's own or is completely compatible with Spb's Pocket Plus and all the other Spb products in general. The plugin gives you easy access to running your backup right from the Today screen.

It's Got Your Back(up)

The Spb Backup Unpack Tool is a nifty feature. It is a desktop program for extracting the files from your backup, extracts registry information as a .reg text file, and exports text messages, contacts as vCard files, and appointments as iCalendar files. You can view your call log, speed dial entries, and viewing and exporting of text messages as .eml files.

My favorite aspect of Spb Backup 2.0 concerns the backup file itself. Your backup file is saved as an executable file (.exe). This makes restoring your data a no-brainer. Just tap on the executable file and your data is restored automatically.

As a final, true test of this software, I backed up the data on my Tilt using Spb Backup 2.0, then performed a hard reset. After the reset, I browsed my Tilt's storage card and found the executable backup file exactly where I instructed Spb Backup to put it. Just a tap on the executable file and my data was entirely restored as if nothing had happened. It's refreshing that hard reset data loss is now only a distant memory.

Spb Backup 2.0, available now for $24.95 at the WMExperts store, is a powerful backup tool that is easy to use. Backing up your data with Spb Backup 2.0 is a painlessly simple process and restoration of all your data (or the data you customize) is virtually flawless. I'm happy to say that I can recommend this program for your data backup needs.

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Ratings (out of 5)Ease of Use: 5/5Interface: 5/5Features: 5/5Value: 5/5Overall: ProsEasy to useBackup on device and desktopBackup is executable fileConsDevice must soft reset after backup
WC Staff