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Reviews

Sprite Software Sprite Backup 5.0

By Legacy March 6, 2006, 12:00 am

INTRODUCTION

    I have been using
Sprite
Software’s backup technology since the days when it
was initially bundled with the Compaq iPaq 3650 and
was sold under the "Pocket Backup" name. On pre-Windows Mobile 5.0, Pocket PCs Pocket Backup
was
a life saver when the Pocket PC memory was wiped
cleaned by a battery drain. Sprite Backup, its
current name, has evolved into a complete backup
solution which can be used to restore a
Windows Mobile environment even after a hard reset. Windows Mobile 5.0’s persistent
storage has solved the power loss issue of previous
Windows Mobile devices, but there are still threats
to mobile devices such as theft, loss and
hardware failures. With the new Microsoft Security
Feature Pack (MSFP), administrators have the
ability to wipe a device clean. With these issues
and our growing dependency on these devices, backups
are critical.
Sprite Software has just released a Windows Mobile 5.0
version of their backup software, Sprite Backup 5.0.
Let’s see if it can perform well in its ability to protect our data. Read on!


WHAT’S HOT

    The new and improved
features in Sprite Backup 5.0 are:

  • Desktop setup wizard
  • Full backup
    and restore of Microsoft Exchange mail and
    messages
  • Performance
    improvements
  • Encryption of
    backup files
  • Automatic
    installation of Sprite Backup during a restore
    from a flash memory card
  • Automatic
    ActiveSync partnership handling during a restore
  • Backup to PC
    or Network
  • Auto backup on
    first dock of the day
  • Scheduled
    backup operation

SETUP

    Sprite Backup 5.0
provides a standard Windows XP installation
application.

The
installation of the software uses a standard Windows
installer application and ActiveSync.

The installation
process includes a six step setup wizard to
customize the backup process.

A registration
code is required to complete the installation
process.

The scheduling of
backups can be customized.

The backup files
can be encrypted with a user defined password.

    

The advanced
options provide the ability to compress the backup
files and allow Sprite Backup to automatically
manage the restoration of the entries in the start
menu.

Sprite Backup
creates a "My Mobile Device Backups" directory under
the user’s "My Documents" folder to store backup
data.

The setup wizard
can be reinitiated from the Sprite PC backup agent
menu.

PROGRAM FEATURES

    Sprite Backup provides a wide range of
options to create backups of the Windows Mobile
environment and data.

    
    

Sprite Backup has
two modes of operations, basic on the left and
advanced on the right.

The basic mode uses
Sprite Backup’s default settings to backup and restore
data.

    

The advanced mode
provides the ability to select files and customize
backup and restore options. The backup options
menu items provide access to general backup options, backup
file management, and file exclusion rules.

    

    General backup options allow for
the compression, encryption, naming, and the ability
to maintain an installation copy of Sprite Backup on
a storage card. This feature allows for restoration from a hard reset without first having to
install Sprite Backup. The file maintenance options
allows for the selection of a storage quota of
backup files by space used and number of backups.

Sprite Backup
allows for the exclusion of existing backup files,
program files, and storage cards which include any
pre-Windows Mobile 5.0 persistent storage area like
the iPaq file store. A list of individual files,
file types or folders using wildcards can be added
to the exclusion list.

    

The scheduling of
backups can be selected by single occurrence, day,
and week. The destination of the backup can also be
selected.

The configuration of a backup across a network is
performed using the networking menu. ActiveSync via
USB and network via TCP/IP options are available.

    

The TCP/IP option requires a hostname and a port.
The test button verifies that the Sprite Backup PC
agent on the target host is available.

The Sprite Backup PC agent runs as an XP service and
displays an icon in the system tray. A right click
on this icon displays a menu to view options,
remotely execute backups and restores, start the
setup wizard, and view the user manual.

    

The backup file option provides for the
customization of the backup file name, backup
location, and description.

    

    When executing a backup with the encryption option selected, a password is required.
If no password
is entered, the password entered in the setup wizard
will be used. Every backup requires a soft reset of
the device before and after the process is run. When
backing up[ through a network, the reset may cause some devices to
turn off networking hardware. In this case, the user
will need to manually initiate the device’s
networking utilities within a timeout period for the backup
to successfully complete.

    

A history report of the last 30 backups can be
viewed.

    

The basic mode restore now function restores the
environment and data in its entirety from the last
backup found on a storage card. If encryption was
enabled the backup file password is required.
Sprite Backup 5.0 will perform a soft reset before
and after restoration process.

    

The advanced mode restore allows for the selection
of backup files. If networking is enabled a drop
down menu allows the Pocket PC or PC directory to be
viewed.

Once a backup file is opened, the ability to select
individual files, folders, email, personal
databases, and system data is available. A soft
reset will be performed before and after the restore
process is run.

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HELP SUPPORT

    Sprite Backup 5.0 includes
a very comprehensive PDF manual. Support is handled
via the Sprite Software web site

here
. A well attended forum can be found

here.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

   
Sprite
Backup 5.0 only works on Windows Mobile 5.0 devices. Sprite Backup 3.1.4
is the latest release for Windows Mobile 2002/2003 devices. Sprite
Backup 5.0 require 3083.3KB of storage memory.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
The backup and restore processes are very
straightforward with a full featured set of options.
Backup timings for about 92MB were 329KB/sec to the
SD card, 283KB/sec using ActiveSync over USB, and
216KB/sec over a WiFi connection. There are issues
with the networking backup option using wireless
connectivity. With the networking option set to
ActiveSync, Sprite Backup 5.0 cannot initiate an
ActiveSync via Bluetooth connection. A USB
connection must be used. If the network (TCP/IP)
option is set, the wireless hardware must be active
after the soft reset is performed. In version 3.1.4
the ability to restore after a ROM upgrade was
available, Sprite Backup 5.0 does not currently have
this capability. My wish list for Sprite Software is
to addresses these issues by:


  • Providing a step to initiate wireless
    connectivity on a backup before timing out.

  • Providing a restore after ROM upgrade
    capability.

PURCHASING

   
Sprite Backup 5.0 can be purchased for $29.95

here. It is unfortunate that a trial version is
not available, but the software comes with a 30 day
money back guarantee. Users of Sprite Backup 3.1.4
Premium are eligible for a $15.00 upgrade, details
can be found

here. There is a Smartphone version available, but it’s not compatible with WM 5.0.


PROS

  • Easy to
    use
  • Backup on first ActiveSync
    of the day
  • Extensive
    set of backup options
  • PC-based
    setup wizard

CONS

  • No trial
    version
  • No restore after ROM upgrade
    capability
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean?

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OVERALL IMPRESSION

    Sprite Software is the backup technology
leader for the Pocket PC platform and they have
again delivered a solid product with Sprite Backup
5.0. I am happy to see that they fixed the inability
to successfully restore mail settings that plagued
Sprite Backup 3.1.4, but I wish they would have
included the ROM upgrade feature. At $29.95, the
price is reasonable given the peace of mind you have
knowing that your environment and data have been
backed up. Even with the Windows Mobile persistent
storage, devices can be stolen, damaged or fail;
backing up one’s device is critical. Sprite Backup
5.0 helps automate this task to make this process as
effortless as possible.

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