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Old 08-25-2010, 09:23 PM
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[Review] Four backup & restore apps for your TP2

Saw a post asking which backup program was best. Been thinking about doing my first hard reset and rom flash so though this was a good excuse to test the popular programs. All of these do a full backup of the phone... not just contacts, email, etc. but all programs, the registry, windows files, etc. It's not an exact image/ghost of the phone, but it's close.

The short version:
SPB Backup: A
Sprite Backup: B-
SKTools Backup: C+
Resco Backup: C+


Disclaimer: What works great for one phone might be ass for another. One rom might back up perfectly and a different one goes straight to hell. Based on other reviews and my experience, I think SPB is the best. But if you value your setup, you can back up with all of them then see which restore turns out best.

General observations -
All of them have good free trials, but sprite required a license to restore. Others backed up and restored fully, just for a limited number of days.

Pretty much all of them worked the same way. You backup the main storage by default, and must go into the options page to also back up the storage card. I tested by backing up the card too, but it really isn't necessary. Hard reset does NOT wipe your storage card. You can backup the storage card by just copy/pasting the contents onto your PC. And backing up gigs of files on the card (vs. the few hundred megs in main storage) makes the process very slow.

Most offered options to back up only selected stuff (registry, contacts, etc). Some also offered the option to restore selected stuff. Or to restore to a different device or rom (though I hear this can be a can of worms).

All of them offered compression, some allow lots of control on compression level, others don't. SPB offers no compression, which is fastest. In general, my total used space was about 3 GB (most of it in storage card) and almost all programs compressed to about 1.4 GB with default settings.

Weirdly, all of the "self-restore" executable files would not self restore. I had to install the software to restore.

SPB:
Allows partial restore. It creates two executables plus an error log. The big exe didn't self-restore but the 2nd one lets you load the first and restore. It incorrectly ID'd my restore file as belonging to an HTC Leo. This causes it to default to "upgrade" restore rather than the desired "normal" (full) restore.

Once you figure that out, the restore worked perfectly. Quicklinks, wallpaper, messages, everything was just as I'd left it. Very nice.

Sprite:
Nicest UI for sure, questions kept to minimum. Shows lots of details during the process. After the first reboot, it failed to go back to the sprite UI (shows your lock screen wallpaper and taskbar) but Sprite was still running in background. You can switch back to it from the taskbar.

Sprite offers 3 restore levels but they're unclear. The explanation didn't help much. Level 1 restore = restore everything. Level 2 = just settings/contacts (and also registry?). Level 3 = just registry.
You must register to restore. This is probably spelled out somewhere but I'd be annoyed if I wanted to restore a dead phone and found out I had to get out my wallet after thinking I could do it for free.

When choosing what to restore, there's a weird issue. You have lots of tiny checkboxes for various items to restore. They're mostly red but the PIM restore is grayed out, making you wonder if it's only partially restoring it or not restoring it. I guess because it has a PIM file at the bottom of the list, it's saying the other personal info options are unnecessary... you're gonna get all of them back if you get the single pim file.

If you tap on the checkbox it is very slow to respond, then when you try to re-check the box it doesn't want to keep the checkmark. Took several tries to get it back to checked.

Restore was mostly smooth. It didn't see my storage card for at least a minute after getting back to the home screen. So programs relying on the card would give errors if I tried to run them. Wallpaper was also missing (probably due to the storage card not being seen). Once the card was seen and I reset sense, everything was fine... but the internet. I needed to go to my sprint connection and put in name/pass, then do update profile to fix it. Everything else was good. Overall this was fine but I can see noobies freaking out because their storage card seems to be gone and they can't get online. More experienced users will get through these minor issues in 20 minutes and be fully restored.

sktools:
The backup process is a little awkward because when you get to the screen where you choose where to save the backup file... it's not clear what you're supposed to be doing. Folders have empty checkboxes by them. Why? It looks like a screen to choose what you're backing up, not where. And if you click on a file on this screen, your backup gets named to match this file. So click on swype.cab and your file will be called swype.cab.asb.exe. Very clunky and makes you worry about what you're doing.

Error log showed some errors, mostly twitter-related. I've seen other complaints about the twitter tab causing problems for people.

When I restored, it seemed to go smoothly, but after the 2nd reboot I got stuck at "launching htc sense". I can see this sending people into a panic and leading to a hard reset. Through sheer dumb noob intuition I reinstalled cookie's home tab from the start menu, and that got sense running. But having sense hang can be caused by multiple things and there are several possible fixes (different in each case).

Some customizations were missing. The wallpaper was gone. All my quicklinks except the first row were missing. My customized clock, quicklinks placeholder, calendar, etc were all fine. Internet worked. This restore was pretty good but I can't rate it any higher due to the sense issue. The missing quicklinks is a pain in the ass, I had like 30 of them. But cookie home tab allows you to make a backup of your links and restore that way. In the future I'll do that to be safe.

Resco:
Creates a folder containing the exe, and a subfolder with a million zip files. The exe brings up the backup program, and you may jump into the backup section by accident before you realize you need to back out and get to restore. Not a huge deal. Like SPB, it incorrectly ID'd my file as a Leo backup.

Restore at first looked like a disaster. It hung trying to restore a routine PDF file on my storage card. I rebooted to find only a little bit of the restore was complete, clock was glitched and showed the time as 00:00. Retried and got the same problem. On top of that, there's a vague checkbox for "exact restore" which isn't very clear, but basically if it finds files that weren't part of the backup, it deletes them. I got worried that I somehow had caused parts of the storage card to be deleted by having this box checked. On my next attempt, I did a selective restore and chose not to restore the storage card. This worked well, my wallpaper and tabs and customizations were all there. Everything was on my card. Basically everything was fine except missing smses. And that was only my SMS inbox. Outbox, hotmail, etc. were all fine. So this turned out surprisingly well after the initial problems.

My recommendation: Pay for SPB because the guy who made it knows what he's doing and is the best at it. It's only 5 more bucks than the cheapest option.

You also could do worse than to buy a full version of sktools since you get so much more than the backup, and it's less expensive than everything else.

Sprite is a little more expensive but seems very slick and polished. It offers some other nice features like automatic scheduled backups and a PC interface that can backup to hard drive or an FTP location. Sprite clone would be even better as it ghosts the entire phone, but that's $300 vs $30.

Resco did ok, and it's cheap, and if it hadn't hung during restore I might recommend it. But I'd personally spend the extra $5 on SPB.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:30 PM
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Re: [Review] Four backup & restore apps for your TP2

thank you for taking the time to do that write up!! i prefer spb as well with a little my phone on this side for good measure. well done!
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:35 PM
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Re: [Review] Four backup & restore apps for your TP2

Nice write up, good info. have never used any of these though, have always stuck with PIM backup.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:24 PM
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Re: [Review] Four backup & restore apps for your TP2

i think the first thing i did when i got my tp2 was paid for SPB - never regretted it. has been invaluable!

nice write up!
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:32 AM
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Re: [Review] Four backup & restore apps for your TP2

Thanks y'all, I hope this is useful for someone. I'm on trial SPB but now that I've finally flashed a custom rom and I'm ricing it up, it's time to get out my wallet.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:06 PM
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Re: [Review] Four backup & restore apps for your TP2

Yep, SPB Backup for me too. Never regretted buying it. 100% full restore which is priceless.

Pretty good review.....
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