Product Spotlight: Altaro Oops!Backup

Derek Schauland looks at the features of Altaro's Oops!Backup product that seeks to take the oops out of performing proper backups for SOHO users.

Many of us -- even IT Pros -- don't perform backups as often as we need to. Sure, we'll make sure to back up mission critical servers, but more minor things or our own home systems sometimes fall by the wayside. Whether it's just laziness or a tendency to procrastinate, we ignore backups because we're too busy to schedule the task or it just seems like such a pain.

A product that seems to offer some solace to those of us who mean well but don't get around to backups as often as we should is Altaro's Oops!Backup, which may have a funny name (and unspellable, as far as MS Word is concerned), but it offers ease of use and the ability to schedule backups.

My organization uses enterprise-class backup software, but for home users and small offices, Altaro offers a good solution. Oops!Backup is great for this scenario, including recovering the content of this post for editorial review!


Supported operating systems:
  • Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista (32 and 64-bit)
  • Windows XP (32-bit)
Hardware requirements:

As of this writing, there are no officially documented hardware specifications. However the application does perform very well on a rather ordinary Windows XP machine with a 500Mhz Pentium 4 processer, 1GB RAM, and 320 GB hard disk space.

Who's it for?

Oops!Backup could be for any user of a computer who needs to ensure that backup is easy and gets done on a regular basis. It won't take the place of enterprise-class backups, but I would recommend it to home users and perhaps administrators of small offices.

What problem does it solve?

Allowing Oops!Backup to fire a backup of your files when on a schedule or whenever you plug in the removable drive used by the application is a pretty great feature. This ensures that my files will get backed up, for example, every Monday at 3 a.m., but also every time I plug in the drive needed for backup. This way, if the schedule is missed because I am travelling or turn the PC off, the files will be backed up when I plug in the removable storage, and I won't have to wait until the next scheduled backup.

Using Oops!Backup as an alternative to cloud-based backup services, such as Mozy or Carbonite, will appeal to people who want an easy solution but who do not trust the "cloud" to keep their data safe and private. These online services work very well and are quite affordable, but there are those who choose not to place their personal and private information in the hands of an online service. For small businesses, Oops!Backup and external media can be a considerable cost savings compared to its online counterparts.

Standout features

Oops!Backup works on a schedule to back up files and folders or when media is plugged in or available as discussed above, but it also works with Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy technologies (VSS) to allow files that are being used during the backup process to be backed up also, making sure that something is not skipped just because a file happens to be in use.

Figure A

Backing up is a three-step process.

Figure B

Select all available or custom folders to back up.

Figure C

Select a destination drive/device for the backup.

Figure D

Review your selections and begin initial backup.
Another standout feature of Oops!Backup is the pricing of the product; at US$37 for the application, the tool is very affordable. Note: This cost is for the application only. External hard disks for use with Oops!Backup must be purchased separately.

What's wrong?

When the drive is disconnected or the PC is asleep, the backup is not run, as is the case with any backup solution. If I forget to plug in the drive, the failsafe for scheduled backup doesn't seem to work either. The features it employs to simplify backup still require human interaction, although in the case of a desktop computer with an external hard disk permanently attached, this problem goes away and will not likely be an issue.

Competitive products

  • Mozy
  • Carbonite
  • Acronis TrueImage Home 2010
  • Windows Backup (Windows 7 version)

Bottom line for business

The initial experience I have had has been great, especially since backup happens when the external drive is connected. Because this application also works with NAS and allows backups over the network, it is possible to remove the human "oops" from the process. This could be a great step forward in the arena of helping get computer users to back up their data as often as possible. Oops!Backup seems to be a good bet for small office/ home office businesses because of its affordable pricing and ease of use.