I'm pretty good about backing up my source code, digital photographs, and data. I even occasionally copy everything to DVDs and put them in a safe deposit box.
While my file backups will prevent data loss, they won't help with reinstalling and reconfiguring operating systems and applications in the event of a total catastrophe. Consequently I've been looking for a backup program that would restore the complete system, rather than just a set of folders. I recently found Norton Save & Restore and ordered it, since Buy.com was offering the program for $45.00, with a $35.00 rebate.
Save & Restore 2.0's installation worked smoothly and was not annoying. The program automatically updated itself over the Internet.
Thus far Save & Restore 2.0 appears to be working well. It created recoverable backups of my XP and Windows Server 2003 R2 partitions in about 30 minutes (to an external USB hard drive), which was pretty quick. Subsequent backups were made in about the same amount of time.
While I haven't tested the restore functionality, I was able to boot from the program's emergency repair CD. For a while I though the emergency repair program had locked up, until I realized that it didn't psychically sense that I was using my mouse with my left hand, with the buttons reversed. DOH!
One important caveat: I was very surprised to learn that this program doesn't back up network drives. Since I have important files on a NAS drive, that was disappointing. I will have to continue to use a different backup program to back up that drive. While the program can store a backup on a networked drive, it cannot backup the files on a network drive. When I contacted Symantec customer support, the technician explained to me that Save & Restore 2.0 lacks the ability to backup a network drive because it is a consumer level product. Symantec do have enterprise level products that can backup network drives.
Given the fact that many consumers have NAS drives, or share ordinary hard drives over a network, this seems absurd. Since when does owning a NAS drive promote a "consumer" to an "enterprise" user? If I had paid full price for this product, I'd be very disappointed. But since the product cost me about US $10.00 (provided I get the rebate), I guess I can live with this curious limitation.
I was pleased with Symantec's customer support. I opted to communicate with a support technician with their website's IM-style chat program. I got connected with a tech quickly. The only negative is, like many browser-based chat systems, it didn't support FireFox, so I had to switch to Internet Explorer.
Save & Restore 2.0 runs on XP and Vista. It does not support Windows Server 2003.
I recommend this program if you can accept the limitations (slow subsequent backups, limited OS support, and no ability to backup networked drives).
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