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BackupBuddyVFS Professional 3.01
Posted Feb. 2005 by By Tanker Bob

No discussion of BackupBuddy would be complete without a discussion of its sibling for memory cards. The new BackupBuddy 2.0 which we reviewed here comes with BackupBuddyVFS:Lite (now called BackupBuddyVFS Personal), which will only perform a full backup or restore of your RAM. BlueNomad has now released their update to BackupBuddyVFS 2.15, renaming it to BackupBuddyVFS Professional.


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The initial entry screen comes up in Basic mode. Simply tap on the center graphic and you’re off backing up your entire RAM. Tap on the Restore button to restore your entire RAM. BBVFS Pro performs incremental backups, so subsequent backups go very quickly. Tap Preferences…to get the setup screen, which offers all but one of the options discussed below. Bring up the menu, tap Advanced, and a wider world opens.


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The main difference between Basic and Advanced mode lies in the ability to select individual files for backup and restoring, a feature by far not universal amongst on-device Palm OS backup programs. The backup summary in terms of size or number of files occupies the lower right corner. Tap the number to toggle between the two. Simply tap on a file’s line to select or deselect. The menu contains options to select all files or none if you’re in a hurry. As an added new benefit, you can also now delete or beam files using the menu from this display. This fits my “off-label” use for BBVFS Pro perfectly. I regularly use it to see what document or data files are new on my device or leftover from a project since my last backup screening. They stand out as island targets of non-highlighted files in a sea of orange on my T3.

BBVFS Pro (and Personal) does not waste space or time backing up a68k files. If you suffer a hard reset, the OS will recreate these files anyway when you subsequently restore your RAM. For simplicity, it still highlights these in the display though. It also correctly handles the new PalmSource PIM databases on the Tungsten E, T3, and T5.


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The Preferences screen tells part of the story of what’s new in version 3.0. Backups can now be compressed either for speed or size. That’s very cool and something for which I asked earlier this year. The user may also encrypt backups using a newly ARM-optimized encryption routine. As always, unattended backup times and content can be set here as well. While BBVFS has always deleted orphaned files (files in the old card backup set but not in RAM) from the current backup set, now you can tell BBVFS Pro to save those orphans in a special Archive directory in case you deleted something that you may want back later. This makes archiving a sort of undelete function. Of course, BBVFS Pro still maintains a complete log of the most recent backup session.


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The menu reveals other new features. BBVFS Pro now allows users to set Checkpoints, which are essentially multiple backups. So, if I do a major install and it crashes my device while I'm away from my desktop, I can recover a known good configuration from my card and be fully operational again. Just hard reset, and then restore the desired checkpoint.

Another new feature isn't obvious from the menus. BBVFS Pro maintains separate backups for individual user names. You heard right. You can swap a card between multiple devices (as long as the user names are different), run BBVFS Pro, and it will keep and track separate backups for each device on the same card. This can be a real plus for folks with multiple Palm OS PDAs, as you can now have one dedicated backup card to share across your handheld empire.

Best of all, BBVFS Pro backs up and restores as fast as ever. While “Thoroughly” compressing my 52 MB backup set down to about 29 MB, BBVFS Pro backed up about as fast as a normal full backup from scratch. I tried a competing product some months ago that claimed to have the fastest backup compression under Palm OS, but its compression was a negligible 5% and proved incredibly slow. Blue Nomad got it right on both fronts. Subsequent BBVFS Pro backups are incremental and take less than a minute even with compression. All features worked perfectly on my T3.

BlueNomad’s BackupBuddyVFS Professional 3.01 stands as an outstanding upgrade for BBVFS 2.15 users at $9.95. The compression alone was worth that to me. New users pay just $19.95 for the best on-PDA backup solution for Palm OS. If you don’t need to select/deselect individual files for backup or restore, BackupBuddyVFS Personal sells for $9.95 and now features time-saving incremental backups as well. BackupBuddy 2.0 for Windows and BBVFS Professional together provide a fast and comprehensive backup solution that no user should be without. This pair holds a permanent spot in Tanker Bob’s small stable of bacon-saving tools, and we ain’t talkin' 'bout breakfast food.

BackupBuddyVFS Pro


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