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Print 26 comment(s) - last by TakinYourPoint.. on Jul 13 at 4:01 AM

Users will be able to precisely control what is backed up and how often

Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) OS X has long offered dedicated backup.  Introduced in 2007 with OS X 10.5 ("Leopard") Time Machine allowed users to restore older copies of files, preventing headaches and lost work.  Then last year Apple introduced "Versions", software that allowed certain applications (such as office document editors) to dig even deeper into backup, offering finer grained restores.

I. Powerful Offline Backup Comes Built Into Windows 8

Now Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which long relied on only the bare-bones System Restore, Windows Backup, and a handful of other tools, is serving up a more dedicated backup solution.  Similar to Time Machine/Versions, the new tool is dubbed "File History".

In Windows 8, File History will initially only be rolled out to protect files in Libraries, Desktop, Favorites, and Contacts.  Of course any folder can be linked to the Libraries folder, allowing any folder of choice to be backed up.  

These folders will be scanned by default on an hourly basis (the user can change the timed frequency of the scan).  Any changes observed by the OS will be backed up, allowing users to roll back through their history of edits.

By default the backups are turned off, because Microsoft assumes its users want to delegate a proper storage location.  To turn on the feature and set the storage location, you simply go to Control Panel > System and Security > File History.  

File History
File History is off by default. [Image Source: Microsoft]

Alternatively, when you plug in an external hard drive, you can click on the notification and then click on the "Configure this drive for backup" menu icon/option. (The icon is a clock with a backwards arrow.)

II. Emphasis Placed on Performance, Flexibility

Microsoft discusses in a blog post on the feature how it vigorously optimized the feature, which can be both CPU intensive and I/O intensive.  It says it is very pleased with the resulting performance gains.  Microsoft was also conscious of battery life concerns on mobile computers.  It only backs up files when the laptop lid is open, and ceases running once you close your laptop lid.

As previously discussed, Windows Explorer is now endowed with a Ribbon menu, similar to the menu in Office 2010.  To access the History in backed up folders, simply click the "History" button in the Ribbon.  

Windows Explorer File History
[Image Source: Microsoft]

The resulting interface has familiar forward/backward/refresh buttons for navigation, similar to those found in Microsoft's image preview software.  Entire folders can be viewed, or alternatively individual pictures can be transitioned through a version history.

Windows Explorer File History
[Image Source: Microsoft]

Microsoft views File History as the perfect offline complement to its cloud-based SkyDrive backups.  One thing that will please power users is that Microsoft is offering very fine grain control of File History, with the option to exclude certain folders, control cache, set an expiration date for saved content, and more.

It was recently (officially) announced that Windows 8 will be completed in August and will launch in the U.S. in October.  It follows on the heels of the best-selling operating system in history, Windows 7, which launched in Oct. 2009.

Source: Microsoft



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Like "versions" is a new concept
By theoldwizard1 on 7/11/2012 5:35:29 PM , Rating: 5
I could just SCREAM !

Apple and now Microsoft are bragging about a concept that is probably 40+ years old !

Almost all Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) OS's had file "versioning". TOPS 10 and 20, RSX, RSTS and VMS all had versioned files built into to their file systems as far back as the late 70s. Of course back then disk space was doled out by the cup full (and memory by the teaspoon full), so few people kept multiple copies of the same file, especially if you mad more that 10 or 20 in a day (editors did NOT overwrite existing file, they made a new version).

VMS even had a mechanism for "rolling off" old file to "secondary storage" (typically tape back then)as well as bringing them back.

What is old is new again !




RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By augiem on 7/11/2012 8:10:11 PM , Rating: 3
Good post. And yet again, Apple gets the credit for it. Must be wonderful to be them.


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By ritualm on 7/11/2012 8:37:11 PM , Rating: 4
Apple's disk backup implementation is very restrictive. You can only turn it on or off, choose where to store backups on, and select which drive volumes to ignore. You cannot select the frequency of these backups, which happen literally once an hour as opposed to a timeframe of your own choosing.

I'll take Redmond's approach any day.


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By Mitch101 on 7/11/2012 8:53:27 PM , Rating: 2
Im surprised no one is talking about Windows 8 Storage Spaces which is Drive Extender reincarnated.


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By Samus on 7/12/2012 12:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with backup systems on consumer PC's is that until Time Machine, no program was easy enough for a noob to backup and restore their data properly.

However, Windows Vista/7 have excellent backup/restore features due to their WinPE environment for bare-metal reinstallations from a backup image. But restoring individual files easily, Time Machine still takes the cake for that.

No arguement Apple didn't invent file versioning, though. They didn't even have such a technology until OSX, and Windows NT (NTFS) had shadow copies long before that.


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By kfonda on 7/12/2012 7:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Im surprised no one is talking about Windows 8 Storage Spaces which is Drive Extender reincarnated.


Thanks for pointing that out, I did not realize this feature was coming. Is there any thing like the backup service from the WHS connector? I love the fact that it only uses the space for a file once no matter how many computers that file is on.

I currently have 8 computers backing up to a WHS1 server and it is by far the best backup solution I have used for my home network. I never even have to think about it until I need to recover a file or complete system and so far it has been flawless.


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By bupkus on 7/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By ritualm on 7/12/2012 1:05:11 AM , Rating: 4
Apple assumes you want your systems backed up at all times, hence every hour it does a backup. But you cannot actually dictate on your own terms how often they get backed up. It's either hourly backups or no backup at all.

Many usage cases do not require hourly backups, once a day or even once a week will be sufficient. Apple doesn't care, it will run backups every hour even if doing so slows the system to a crawl.

Oh, if you have a folder or file on the Macintosh HD that you DO NOT want backed up by Time Machine? Nope, Apple doesn't care, it ignores your needs and backs them up anyway. Putting those folders/files outside the default backed-up volume aren't necessarily a good idea.

In contrast, Microsoft's approach at least allows for granular control over what gets backed up and how often those backups happen.

Apple can kiss a pit of quicksand.


By Tegeril on 7/12/2012 1:33:26 AM , Rating: 2
I'm confused. I've never seen a system slow to a crawl during a Time Machine backup. Additionally, it should actually be -less- likely to cause any kind of slowdown because on an hourly basis, the majority of users are not generating enough significant changes to result in large incremental backups. So on that note, I'd suspect issues with your hard drive.

I'm further confused as the 'do not want backed up' statement. You can absolutely exclude locations on the drive and they will not be backed up by Time Machine.

I can't say I've ever seen someone complain about more backups before, considering they're deltas and aren't using any additional tangible space than a less frequent backup (of deltas) would. Seriously, "Apple assumes you want your systems backed up at all times" - you don't want everything you work on backed up on a consistent, frequent timetable?

o.O


By Amon2106 on 7/12/2012 8:52:27 AM , Rating: 3
You could've easily mounted the vhd image giving you access to all the contents of the entire image backup within windows explorer and cherry picked the files you needed following the upgrade Instead of installing windows 7 from scratch....

http://www.fanhow.com/knowhow:Mount_VHD_Files_in_W...

1) Open Start Menu , right-click on Computer and click Manage

2) Click on Disk Manage

3) Click Action -> Attach VHD and specify the virtual hard disk location on your computer.

4) You can also mount a VHD file using diskpart . Open Start Menu and search for "cmd" and run it .Type in "diskpart" and press Enter.In the diskpart window , type in the content:
SELECT VDISK FILE=”file path and name of the vhd file”
ATTACH VDISK


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By TakinYourPoints on 7/12/2012 3:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
It's all about execution. Part of Time Machine's appeal is its UI and visual paradigm, the way you can slice through time via the Finder or through specific applications (ie - the way you can move through instances through Microsoft Word, etc).

Obviously this form of backup has existed in the past, but the execution and ease of use (sound familiar?) is why Apple gets so much credit for its use.


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By augiem on 7/13/2012 3:31:19 AM , Rating: 3
Apple gets the credit because everything they do is publicized out the wazoo. Joe Q. Public and clueless tech reporters at CNN, WSJ, etc. first hear about Apple's implementation of insert-here and its cemented in their minds forever as the original. If Apple is to be given credit for anything it's having THE BEST marketing and publicity system in the world.


By TakinYourPoints on 7/13/2012 4:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone who's used both knows the difference. The difference in versioning and the way it is handled in Time Machine and through other methods is so massive and obvious that it advertises itself.

Originality doesn't matter, execution does.


RE: Like "versions" is a new concept
By really on 7/12/2012 12:14:45 PM , Rating: 2
Windows has versioning it's called save as and many people us it to save different versions of the same document.


Previous Versions
By jeepga on 7/11/2012 4:50:59 PM , Rating: 5
This just seems like an active version of Previous Versions. Previous Versions depend on System Restore and Windows Backup, so it was passive.




RE: Previous Versions
By jonmcc33 on 7/11/2012 5:17:54 PM , Rating: 3
I agree. It's nothing new nor is it like Time Machine. It has been a feature for a long time.


RE: Previous Versions
By B3an on 7/12/2012 10:31:32 AM , Rating: 2
'Previous Versions' is removed in Win 8. Technically File History works quite differently but does the same sort of thing with a better easier interface. But yeah it's nothing like Time Machine. And windows has had stuff like this since Windows 2000, and 'Previous Versions' was introduced in Vista, but as usual all the press have to mention f***ing Apple! Sick on it.


RE: Previous Versions
By Trisped on 7/12/2012 2:02:17 PM , Rating: 3
The interface is new (can use it from in explorer) and it is easier to use.

You are right though, not at all like Time Machine. VSS is more like Time Machine, but it is mainly for servers (though it came out well before Time Machine for those thinking MS copied Apple).


By ChronoReverse on 7/11/2012 5:08:49 PM , Rating: 3
I really don't understand why Previous Versions will be gone. It doesn't fill the same roles but was rather nice for a really quick revert when a mistake is made.




By Stevethewalrus on 7/11/2012 5:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
Is it actually going to be gone though? I don't see where it said that if it did.


RE: Isn't Worth Losing Persistant Volume Shadow Copies
By Rand on 7/11/2012 6:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
They said a few months ago that it would be removed because not enough people used it, and this was deemed a complete replacement for it.

I'm dubious they'll find this used any more though as this requires the user to actively know to enable it, and is much more limited in file types/disk locations supported.


By lucyfek on 7/11/2012 10:26:45 PM , Rating: 2
They used the same argument for removal of menu start and media center.
I don't understand MS - if they can't convince/educate their users to small things why would they be pushing revolution (8) onto the same people?


By Arsynic on 7/12/2012 9:51:26 AM , Rating: 3
This is nothing but Volume Shadow Copy with tweaks and a sexier moniker and the tech "press" gives Apple credit. Just like they say that Apple invented the tablet.




WHS?
By Jammrock on 7/11/2012 5:44:23 PM , Rating: 2
Technically Windows Home Server Connector would be the "Time Machine" like application for Windows, as Time Machine is/was based on an external device (either direct attached drive or Time Capsule device). Not as seamless as Time Machine, but more technically accurate.

Previous Files was introduced with Windows Vista in 2006. This is just an updated version designed to be more sleek, user friendly and prominently displayed in the OS.




By zinc0099 on 7/12/2012 6:17:30 PM , Rating: 2
I have a server 2008R2 machine as my company NAS and it already does this with shadow copy. You set how often it versions and it will keep it as long as there is room in the defined space you give it or let it handle the space.

There is even a dropdown in Windows 7 explorer to restore a previous version!

They just added this to the normal windows with a fancy button.




Why the Apple Hate?
By KPOM1 on 7/12/12, Rating: 0
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller














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