Information Technology Reference
It probably goes without saying that I prefer applications with a
Restore command—they make the restoration quicker and easier.
Of course, the presence of a Restore feature does not, by itself, mean
the process will be easy (for example, some products have a Restore
command that operates only at the level of individual files), but it's
a hopeful sign.
Restoring a Full Versioned Backup as a
If you are performing a full (rather than selective) versioned backup,
bear in mind that not all backup software can restore your backup
from an arbitrary point to a blank disk in such a way that the resulting
volume will be bootable. For a restored full versioned backup to be
bootable, several things must be true:
All files needed for your computer to start up—including many
hidden files—must be included in the backup and restored later.
The backup software must preserve Unix ownership, permissions,
and symbolic links during the backup and restoration processes;
doing so requires that you enter an administrator's password.
When restoring the files, the destination disk must not contain any
extraneous files that could interfere with booting; normally, this
implies erasing the disk before restoring the backup.
Time Machine, Retrospect, and most other backup software with both
duplication and versioned backup features also enable you to restore
a full versioned backup as a bootable volume, assuming that you set it
Ease of Use
In addition to ease of restoration, an application's overall ease of use
is important. The interface should be self-explanatory—ideally, clear
enough that you can figure out how to perform a basic backup and
restoration without looking at a manual. (Time Machine stands out
in this regard as being exceptionally easy to use, because it builds on