If you want a seamless backup system that requires little effort, check out online backup solutions such as Replica Network Data Manager from Stac Software (www.stac.com) or Connected Network Backup. Connected Network Backup, for example, provides online backup and storage for as little as $20 per month. The beauty of an online solution is, there are no disks to deal with and no programs to initiate, and the backups don’t require your participation. Once subscribed, you have access to unlimited disk space and your data recovery can be done from anywhere, at any time.
DO IT YOURSELF
But no matter how well prepared you are, sticky situations can still arise: a virus could eat your hard drive or a disgruntled employee could delete financial files. In these types of cases, you’ll need a data-recovery software program, such as PowerQuest’s Lost & Found or Ontrack’s EasyRecovery (www. ontrack.com). At less than $100 each, both do-it-yourself data-recovery programs are affordable options (compared to the thousands of dollars you might pay an expert for data recovery).
Lost & Found is an off-the-shelf software utility that PowerQuest claims can recover almost any lost or damaged file, as long as your hard drive still works. The program runs off bootable diskettes and can search local hard drives as well as external drives. Lost & Found uses its own interface and color-codes files based on recoverability – green for recoverable files, yellow for probable recoverable files and red for unrecoverable files.
Ontrack’s EasyRecovery, on the other hand, is primarily an Internet-based solution for data recovery, although a disk version is available. The software can be downloaded from Ontrack’s Web site and must then be copied to a DOS boot disk. Again, the files are coded according to recoverability and can then be stored elsewhere until your hard drive has been repaired. The obvious beauty of this is that you don’t have to go out and purchase a product, and you can do your data recovery from the Net. The drawback is that if your machine won’t boot up, you won’t be able to access EasyRecovery.
Neither of these products needs to be installed prior to the recovery process, and neither will attempt to repair your damaged drive, a process that often decreases your chances for successful data recovery. Knowledge of DOS, a rarity in this Windows-oriented world, is the biggest requirement for utilizing these programs.
You may be one of those entrepreneurs who diligently performs hard-drive backups every week, but what about the data you generate between backups? One option is GoBack ($69.95 street) from WildFile. Not a backup or restore program, Go Back essentially lets you go back in time to a point when your hard drive worked. Capable of going back as far as a week to retrieve or restore files to the way they were before an error occurred, Go Back can be a miracle worker if, say, your hard drive crashes or you accidentally overwrite a document. If that’s the case, you simply tell your computer to go back in time.
Once GoBack is installed, you’ll only need to access it when a problem arises. One caveat: GoBack can’t be used on a system with a compressed disk The program requires 16MB RAM and uses about 10 percent of your hard-drive space – the larger your hard drive, the more data there is to recover and the more space the program needs.
Be your own art director:. Making sure your company looks good is important, so choosing the right desktop publishing solution is key. Adobe’s new PageMaker 6.5 Plus for Windows or the Power Macintosh ($499 street or $99 to upgrade for both versions) may be just the ticket for creating great-looking documents, such as advertisements, brochures, business cards, mailers and more. To help simplify the design process, Adobe (www.adobe.com) includes hundreds of templates for commonly used business documents; thousands of professionally designed, high-resolution illustrations and photos; and tutorials and tips from design experts. In addition, the package includes Photoshop 5.0 LE. Because Adobe has long been involved in desktop publishing, its files are recognized by all professional printers, making high-quality printing seamless for the user. If you’re ready to upgrade from Microsoft Publisher, PageMaker makes it easy to do – the program will read your old Publisher files, and the competitive upgrade price is just $299 (street). Running PageMaker under Windows requires 16MB RAM and 140MB hard-drive space. For the Power Macintosh, you’ll need at least 9MB RAM and 26MB hard-drive space. A PostScript language printer is also recommended.
By the numbers: Software Sage is taking its DacEasy Accounting product to the next level with the addition of optional modules DacEasy Payroll ($250 street), Point of Sale and Job Manager (both $400 street). All modules should be welcomed by DacEasy Windows users, but Payroll and Point of Sale can also be run as stand-alone products. DacEasy Payroll includes a complete payroll- and personnel-management system, including employee-tracking functions, tax calculation, deductions, check- printing and more. The DacEasy Point of Sale module processes product, price and layaway information; cash drawers, bar-code scanners and receipt printers are supported. For job costing and estimating, turn to the DacEasy Job Manager, which can guide you through all phases of a job in progress, from initial estimate through job completion. All modules require Windows 95 or higher, 16MB RAM and 20MB hard-drive space.