Upon starting WinBackup, the end user is greeted with a backup wizard that offers to walk the user through the process of setting up a backup job. If the user decides to close the wizard box, the Create Job
button at the bottom of the windows gives the user an obvious place to start.
After creating, naming, and selecting the backup job, four options become available at the bottom of the window, Save Backup To:, Run Backup, Schedule Backup, and Backup Settings.
Backup settings available include the ability to choose between a preformatted CD/DVD (DirectCD, InCD, etc.) vs an unformatted CD/DVD to use as backup media, the ability to protect the job with a password, as well as various file filters to use for recurring scheduled jobs.
Moving on to the Add/Remove tab is where I believe WinBackup truly gets it right. First off, Winbackup keeps a running tab as to the total backup size as you select new files and folders. It even estimates the job size after compression for you. This is obviously useful in determining how long before you're going to need additional media. The backup tests tended to split the difference between the total backup size vs. the estimated backup size, so I would recommend you still use the total as the guideline.
Another highlight of the Add/Remove tab is the ability to select user specific material to backup, including the user's "Favorites", "Desktop", and "My Documents" folder. No more searching needless searching through the directory tree of your hard drive to find the folders you need. There is a slight catch to this, however, in that it's an all or nothing proposition selecting any of the user settings. If you wish to not backup a subdirectory in one such as a folder under "My Documents", you need to go through the directory tree to deselect. WinBackup does help you find the directory more quickly however in that whenever one of the user specific settings is checked, the corresponding section of the file tree is checked.
WinBackup also includes an alternative way to backup the files you need via the Search tab. You can search for specific files or folders via a keyword search and select them for the backup job. For the gamers out there who don't feel like spending the time figuring out where each of their saved games are stored, this feature is very useful.
I was not entirely crazy about the way scheduled backup jobs are handled. The scheduler was loaded as a TSR (terminate, stay resident) program via an addition to the registry. Yes, it does indeed work, but I would prefer that programs make use of one of the different schedulers built into the operating system.
Backup of files ran exactly as it was supposed to on the Windows 98 SE system. Testing consisted of doing a backup directly to an unformatted CD, backup directly to a DirectCD formatted CD, and a backup to the hard drive which was then copied to CD. WinBackup creates an archive file with a .wbb extension in which all backed up files are stored.
There was an issue with backing up directly to an unformatted CD in the Windows 2000 system with the external USB drive. Johan at LIUtilities mentioned that there was an issue with approximately 5% of the CD burners available in terms of writing to an unformatted CD in WinBackup. They are hopeful that the next update will resolve this problem. I did not consider it a show stopper as I was able to backup to a DirectCD formatted CD with the same setup as well as backup to a hard drive based archive and then copy it to the CD.