Device backup software is very much like vehicle insurance: you know you have to have it so you shop around for the best you can find, but in truth you really hope you'll never actually need it. That's when the paranoia sets in. If I back up to my memory card, what if I lose it? If I back up to my PC what if the hard drive gets bad sectors? Do I need to backup my backup? Sprite Backup from Sprite Software aims to make your backups as hassle free and worry free as possible on your Windows Mobile device. So is it the perfect solution to give you peace of mind? Read on to find out!
Here are the unique features of Sprite Backup:
Supports ALL WM5 & WM6 Devices
Backup to FTP Server
Backup to PC
Sprite PC Manager
Upgrade Mode Recovery
Support for WM 6 Storage Card encryption
Full & Custom Backup and Restore operations
Self-Extracting Backup Files
Automatic Scheduled Backup
Automatic Backup File Management
Either the full or the lite versions can be installed.
On the PC, Sprite Backup Manager allows for configuration of your backup settings. These are then synchronised with your device.Here the user can specify the preferred backup location on the PC and the type of and directory for the log files.
Backup settings allow for file handling options, specification of the file size and allow the user to create rules to exclude certain file types from the backup.
In the restore options, you can also choose to restore from an older ROM to a newer one or even between different hardware devices. There is also a safe mode should you encounter problems.
Scheduling allows backups to take place on a single, daily or weekly basis.
The networking backup settings offer two options: to backup your device to a pc on a network or to an ftp server location.
Security settings can be applied so that the backup file is encrypted. The SIM lock can also be enabled from this screen.
As part of the Sprite Backup full version, Sprite Explorer is also installed. This allows you to browse inside your backup archives and extract files from them without having to restore the full image. The Sprite backup that is installed on your mobile device performs the same functions as the PC installation using a graphical menu.
After the splash screen, the main menu screen is displayed. This allows access to the Backup, Restore, Schedule and Options sub-menus.
In the Backup menu you can select the files that you want to be included in your backup archive and add a name and description to the backup.
After an automatic reset, Sprite Backup builds the self installing archive.
When the backup is complete, a report is produced summarising the results of the process.
The restore menu allows you to choose the backup archive you wish to use.
As part of the restore process you can selectively specify the files you wish to restore from that backup.
The schedule menu allows you to set a once, daily or weekly backup schedule.
Again you can specify a file storage location and add a name and description.
The options menu allows you to choose the configuration settings for Sprite Backup. Sub-menus for each of the options screens allow you to navigate through the application to
File sizes and purge options can be set here as well as allowing you to create an autorun backup on your memory card.
You can also set rules to exclude certain files, even adding your own custom rules.
The restore options allow you to specify how you want the restore to be performed.
The upgrade mode options are supported by comprehensive help menus.
Sprite offers network backup options to either a LAN PC or an FTP server.
The FTP backup option has full support for standard FTP connection options.
Connection to your selected network can be made via activesync or any of the active connections in your Windows Mobile device. Sprite Backup will also test these connections prior to you attempting to make a backup.
Sprite backup can be configured to encrypt and password protect the backup for added security.
The Help menu gives access to a full list of help files as well as allowing you to enter your purchase authorisation code, register with Sprite Software for email updates, set the error logging level, reset all settings to default and view your version information.
Sprite mobile comes with a well designed and extensive list of help files built in. Their web site also carries an interactive demonstration and they offer email support. I tested the online support and received a polite and comprehensive answer to my questions within 24 hours.
The PC application requires an installation of Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP running SP2, or Vista. The mobile device should be WM 5.0 or WM 6. Backup archive file sizes may vary depending on the amount of data being included. Backups take on average 2 to 3 minutes for 100Mb of data when backing up to a card or wired connection.
BUGS AND WISHES
When I backup my device I tend to do it in different ways. Every couple of days I backup things that change on a day-to-day basis, such as contacts, tasks and calendar entries. Then every couple of weeks I backup things like photos, MP3s and larger files. Sadly Sprite backup only allows you to set a single schedule, It would be a nice addition if I could set seperate schedules for different configurations of backup.
You can purchase Sprite Backup for $29.95 from the pocketnow software store. A trial is also available from the store. There is a version for both Pocket PC and Smartphone.
- Good selection of backup options
- Self sufficient once installed and configured
- The ability to cherry-pick files out of old backup
- Great for deploying images to multiple devices for a business
- Can only set a single schedule for backups
- Self install backup to Storage Card function has been removed
- Money-back guarantee doesn't really help if it all goes wrong!
Anything that can take away the need to perform mundane but necessary tasks gets my vote. However, a brief visit to the support area of Sprite Software shows that there are a number of people having various problems and not all the same kind; many appear to be device specific. A lot of change has been introduced in the latest upgrade and I have to wonder if perhaps a few more weeks on the test bench might have been appropriate.
When I looked on their web site to see what other reviewers thought, I discovered that the quotes they are using to sell version 6 were actually made about version 5 — very naughty!
Despite the fact this software is limited in what it can do on a scheduled basis, I still like it. You can tell some thought has been put into what the user will want it to do. The emphasis has been placed on creating backups with as little user intervention as possible. Its a shame that Sprite Backup 6 went to press before it was really ready. I am sure that when the issues are finally fixed that it will be an excellent and useful addition to any suite of tools; I would just recommend a good read of the Sprite Mobile Support forum first to see if youy are like to have any compatibility issues.