New software for backing up your files and folders crossed my desk recently and I decided to give it a try. This software, LifeAgent from Memeo (http://www.memeo.com/) attracted me by the way it could be set up to backup a file or files automatically any time that I plugged in to an external drive. Since I use a laptop normally (MacBook Pro, 2.33. C2D) it would mean that simply plugging in to my external drives would backup selected files without my needing to specify anything. Already ready for Leopard, but running perfectly well on Tiger (I haven’t yet upgraded as I write this), it installs into the menu bar where it is readily accessible.
What will it do for you?
You can back up to multiple destinations such as internal and external hard drives, networked computers and NAS, USB flash drives and more.
You can also share your Photos with Shutterfly with minimal effort.
A neat, instant feature that kept me out of trouble in the beginning was a meter that showed me whether the selected files exceeded the space available on the back-up disk. It can be encrypted and pass-worded for security.
It can restore to the same directory path or to a new location, and after the initial backup only new files are backed up. Chris at Memeo.com alerted me to one factor when I attempted to check every back up choice and realized how long that was taking. He informed me " If All Music" or "All Photos & Pictures" SmartPicks was selected, the backup process will take a lot longer. The reason is LifeAgent has to scan and monitor all folders on your Mac.
Since I had 141,327 folders (95 GB) on my Mac, I could easily see how this could produce a long wait if I did not keep all my pictures or music in folders, which I designated specifically, rather than requiring LifeAgent to work its way through each folder.
Here’s LifeAgent’s icon in my menu bar.
From the menu bar we can open LifeAgent to set it up for the first time. Once set, there is no need to return to the menu bar when you plug in your back up hard drive unless you intend to make changes to the initial backup.
This window appears, hit the "+" sign to add a back up plan.
As you hit the "+" sign you are given two choices to allow you to either (1) create a backup plan, or (2) share photos on line.
Pick your backup destination, identify what you want to back up and provide a name for the specific back up plan. You can have more than one back up plan. Hit CONTINUE.
Here I intend to back up to a removal drive. Hit CONTINUE.
Choosing the external drive allows you to create a folder if you desire; then SELECT.
That brings you to the folders you may select under the SMARTPICKS heading; note there is also a FOLDER heading which we’ll get to in a moment.
There are 30 SMARTPICKS headings available in the overall list.
- All Files from Desktop Folder
- All Files from Documents Folder
- All Files from Home Folder
- All Files from Movies Folder
- All Files from Music Folder
- All Files from Pictures Folder
- All My Music
- All My Photos and Pictures
- Address Book
- AppleWorks Documents
- Application Preferences
- FileMaker Documents
- GarageBand Projects
- iDVD Projects
- iMovie Projects
- Internet Explorer Settings
- iPhoto Library
- iTunes Library
- iTunes Playlists
- iTunes purchased music
- iWeb Sites
- Keynote Documents
- Mail Messages and Settings
- Microsoft Excel Documents
- Microsoft PowerPoint Documents
- Microsoft Word Documents
- Pages Documents
Safari Settings Stickies From the FOLDERS category of material to back up you can select your DESKTOP or other specific folders.
As I tend to keep ongoing projects in a folder labeled CURRENT DESKTOP, backing up current material only requires checking one folder.
Or I can pick other folders.
Give my plan a name…
…and I’m through.
Want to restore a file? Remember that window where you chose to make a new backup plan? Just hit RESTORE and you will be given the chance to choose where you want the folder restored. That’s all there is to it.
So, let me quickly reiterate some of the strengths of LifeAgent. There is continuous automatic backup in progress as long as you are connected to an external drive, and (in the case of a laptop) automatic backup will occur immediately when reconnecting to an external drive. It is possible to have multiple backup destinations to insure that you can have redundant back-ups to cover unforeseen eventualities. LifeAgent can be installed on existing external storage. It is an easy to install set-up-and-forget system that will provide a continuous, zero maintenance experience. Now if your piece of mind is worth $29.95 and about five minutes of installation (the initial backup time will vary depending on how large your original backup will take, and that can be awhile if you’ve got really large folders), then go for it. A free 30-day download is available from http:///www.memeo.com