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Action Backup software test drive (installation, configuration, performance tests).


1.Action Backup launch and configuration

2.Performance tests


Installation.

To install the Action Backup software to your computer, download its distribution file, run it, select the installation location in the standard dialog box and install it (fig. 1, 2, 3):


 Fig. 1 - Action Backup software installation. Start.


Selecting the installation directory

Fig. 2 - Action Backup software installation. Selecting the installation folder.


Action Backup software installation

Fig. 3 - Action Backup software installation.

 

Launching and installing the Action Backup software.

To launch the Action Backup software, select "Start -> Programs -> Action Backup" or use the shortcut that will be created during the program installation if you want to. After you start the program, you will see the main window of Action Backup (fig. 4):


Action Backup main window

Fig. 4 - Action Backup main window.

The main window of the program is divided into two parts. The first one contains the menu, the toolbar, the large list of backup tasks (it is empty so far in fig. 4), while the second part contains the log with everything the user does in the program (operations with tasks) logged in it (including date and time stamps) as well as with actions performed by Action Backup automatically during the backup procedure. The log may come in handy if you need to get the account of chronology for some events within a particular time period.

Now let us see how to quickly and easily configure the correct backup procedure with the help of the Action Backup software in order to minimize the loss in case you suddenly lose some information important to you. If you are a system administrator, an office worker or just a home user who typically works with important data on the computer you certainly need the Action Backup software that will ensure the automatic reliable and quick backup procedure for any data stored on your local or remote computer.

Suppose you need to configure the automatic data backup procedure for some large folder with a lot of subfolders and files. No matter whether this directory is located locally or remotely on another computer, Action Backup is perfect for creating backup copies of any data.

Anyway, you need to create and configure two backup tasks for the selected folder in Action Backup. Create the first backup task using the "File->Add a new task..." menu item or the corresponding button on the toolbar. Use the Add a new task dialog box (fig. 5 – 1_TASK) to create and configure the backup task. 1_TASK will be completed weekly (for instance, on Friday) and will back up the entire folder completely with all its files no matter if there were any changes in them or not (it will be a full backup). The second task (fig. 6 – 2_TASK) will be completed daily creating a backup copy of the same directory but only with the new or modified data (it will be an incremental backup) thus considerably reducing the time it takes to create a backup copy as compared to a full backup. When you configure your backup tasks, you should keep in mind that you should save your backup on all kinds of physically remote resources, FTP servers, network drives, USB HDD and Flash removable media, burn it to CDs/DVDs (see the use cases) in order to be 100% sure you will keep your data backup copies. The above options for saving backup copies on additional media are completely implemented in the Action Backup scheduled backup software (see the program features). (fig. 7):


Fig. 5 - Creating and configuring a full backup task (1_TASK).

 

Configuring an incremental backup task

Fig. 6 - Creating and configuring an incremental backup task (2_TASK).


Configuring the option of saving the backup to additional media

Fig. 7 - Configuring saving the generated backup copy to additional media in the backup task.

Therefore, we have the following schedule for backing up the folder you selected. 1_TASK is launched every week (every Friday) according to the schedule you specified and creates the full backup copy of the specified folder. As a result, you get the full backup of your folder with up-to-date data once a week. 2_TASK is launched every day and creates a backup copy of the same folder containing only new or modified data (an incremental backup). As a result, we get a chain of created backup copies – a full backup copy once a week and incremental backup copies of the same folder containing only updated data every day. This sequence ensures the most effective way for making backup copies: "full->incremental-> incremental->incremental->…full". In case the data is completely lost, the process of its complete restoration comes down to restoring the latest full data backup and all incremental backup copies that have been made after this latest full backup copy.

It should be also mentioned that there is another option for configuring the backup procedure correctly – it is possible to use a differential backup instead of an incremental one in 2_TASK (fig. 8). The main difference comes down to the fact that the differential backup type is something like a cumulative one. It means that any file modified just once will be added to all differential data backup copies made later until another full backup copy of the folder you select is made. As a result, we get the following sequence: "full->differential->differential->differential->…full". In case the data is completely lost, the process of its complete restoration comes down to restoring the latest full data backup and the latest differential data backup. So we have covered the key points of configuring the correct backup procedures and have made sure that the Action Backup software offers you quite flexible features for configuring automatic backups. You can create and configure any number of backup tasks in Action Backup and combine their schedules, modes and saving backup copies to additional media to be 100% sure that the crucial information remains intact.


Configuring a differential backup task

Fig. 8 - Selecting the differential backup mode for the backup task (2_TASK).

Now let us see how the Action Backup software can be started. To completely automate the backup procedure, you should not only configure backup tasks but also specify how Action Backup should be started. By default, Action Backup is started manually with the help of the corresponding shortcut. However, this mode is not always comfortable because our aim is to completely automate the backup process so that it does not involve any actions from the user. Action Backup offers two other startup modes. The first option is to add the Action Backup software to the Startup list. To do it, select the "Settings->Program settings..." menu item or press the F11 key. Select the Add to Windows startup item in the program settings window (fig. 9). In this case, after the user successfully logs into the system, the Action Backup software will be automatically started during the logon session, which is very convenient for the automatic backup procedure. This method is really handy, but it requires a user to be logged into the system. That is why we move on to the most convenient and universal second method of running the Action Backup software – as the Action Backup service. Use the program settings window to select the Install the Action Backup service… item (fig. 10), click the Apply button and the Action Backup software installs itself as a service (fig. 11). After that exit the program, open the list of Microsoft Windows services and start the _ACTION_BACKUP service (fig. 12). That is all. Now you have a full-featured backup service that can run round the clock even without any users logged on and automatically back up both local files and files stored on remote computers.

Adding Action Backup to Windows startup

Fig. 9 - Adding Action Backup to WINDOWS startup.


Preparing to install the Action Backup service

Fig. 10 - Preparing to install the Action Backup service.


Installing the Action Backup service

Fig. 11 - Installing the Action Backup service.


Starting the _ACTION_BACKUP service

Fig. 12 - Starting the _ACTION_BACKUP service.

To finish this little insight into the features of the Action Backup software, let us dwell on another couple of its convenient features. One of them is generating and sending a detailed report with the description of everything done during the backup procedure to any number of e-mail addresses you specify (fig. 13). Wherever you are, you can instantly get detailed completion status of any backup task configured in Action Backup thanks to the report feature. The generated report contains information of what has been done, and is sent to the e-mail address you specify. Another useful feature is turning off the computer on timer. Why wait until Action Backup finishes its work in order to turn the computer off? Just configure the time when the computer should be turned off in the program settings window (fig. 14) and simply do what you want to do (go home, to an appointment, etc.). Action Backup will complete the scheduled backup task right on time and turn off the computer at the specified time. It should be also mentioned that if Action Backup is in the middle of completing a backup task when the time you specified for turning off the computer is due, the program waits until it is over and only after that it turns off the computer therefore making sure that the backup procedure is completed.

Configuring notifications in Action Backup

Fig. 13 - Configuring notifications in Action Backup.


Specifying the computer shutdown time in Action Backup

Fig. 14 - Specifying the computer shutdown time in Action Backup.


Performance tests.

In this section, we will use the Action Backup software to create a full backup and an incremental backup for some large folder with all kinds of data (well compressed and barely compressed) and assess the overall performance of the program. It should be noted that the performance tests were made under real conditions and with the help of actual data in offices and organizations where Action Backup software is installed and working.

Computer specifications:

Operating system: Windows 8.1;

CPU: AMD A4 - 5000 APU;

RAM: 4 GB.


Test 1:

Source data:

1. The "Work Documents" folder (text files, documents, accounting reports, documentation, presentations, images);

2. Size: 2.1 GB;

3. Files to be backed up: 26008;

4. Folders to be backed up: 1363;

5. Backup type: full backup.

Results:

1. Time spent on creating a full backup copy: 11 minutes 56 seconds;

2. Final backup file size: 1.3 GB. (Compression - about 40%).


Test 2:

Source data:

1. The "Work Documents" folder (text files, documents, accounting reports, documentation, presentations, images);

2. Modified data size: 272 MB;

3. New and modified files: 3176;

4. Backup type: incremental backup.

Results:

1. Time spent on creating an incremental backup copy: 2 minutes 09 seconds;

2. Final backup file size: 160 MB.


Test 3:

Source data:

1. The "Our presentations and reports" folder (image files, photos, video and audio files);

2. Size: 6,67GB;

3. Files to be backed up: 1702;

4. Folders to be backed up: 45;

5. Backup type: full backup.

Results:

1. Time spent on creating a full backup copy: 17 minutes 46 seconds;

2. Final backup file size: 6.23 GB. (Compression - about 8%).


Test 4:

Source data:

1. The "Our presentations and reports" folder (image files, photos, video and audio files);

2. Modified data size: 869 MB;

3. New and modified files: 66;

4. Backup type: incremental backup.

Results:

1. Time spent on creating an incremental backup copy: 4 minutes 35 seconds;

2. Final backup file size: 851 MB.


Conclusion: During the test procedure, the Action Backup software displayed good performance (taking into account the specifications of the computers it was tested on) while creating full and incremental data backup copies. Thanks to its simple configuration, its high performance during the backup procedure and a wide range of its features, Action Backup software quickly and easily creates universal backup copies on office and home computers.

 


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