Last Updated Oct 15, 2009 11:24 AM EDT
The ideal backup solution is one that works automatically, in the background, and in real-time, archiving your data all day, every day, as you work. Set it up once and shazam, you're done.
Mac users have long enjoyed that kind of protection from Apple's Time Machine. Now Windows users can get the same benefits from Genie Timeline, an automated, real-time backup utility. Here's a video that shows it in action:
As you can see, Timeline really is a set-it-and-forget-it solution, one that not only protects your data, but also allows you to go "back in time" to recover older versions of files. (If you've ever accidentally overwritten a document, you know that that feature alone is worth gold.)
The software supports both external hard drives and network drives. I particularly like the e-mail notification option, which pings you in the event of backup errors, low disk space, and the like.
Genie Timeline costs a very reasonable $34.95, and volume licensing is available if you want to deploy it on multiple PCs. Thankfully, there's a fully functional 30-day trial available, so you can give the program a complete workout before making a purchase.
That's what I'm doing right now -- I'll report back in a future post. But for the moment, Timeline looks to be the single best backup solution since, well, Time Machine.
Of course, there are other solutions: Check out How to Back Up Your Data (Free of Charge) to learn about them.