If you use your Mac to make a living, you know how important it is to back up important files regularly. However, until release 10.1.2, Mac OS X didn’t provide full support for backing up and restoring everything on a Mac OS X disk. FWB’s $50 Backup Toolkit 3.0.5 is the first commercially available backup utility that can handle this job. It works well in both OS 8.6 and 9, but using it successfully in OS X requires a few extra steps.
Simple but Quirky
FWB Backup Toolkit can only back up to online storage–that is, anything you can see in the Finder, such as hard disks, Jaz and Zip drives, file-server volumes, and iDisks. It does not work with offline storage, such as CD-RW burners or tape drives. This limitation is apparent the first time you use Backup Toolkit’s drag-and-drop interface.
We tested FWB Backup Toolkit’s principal claim–that it can successfully back up and restore an OS X disk–and found that it does work, but only if you perform all backups and the restore operation in OS X while you are logged on as the root user. However, for security reasons OS X does not let you log on as root by default, so you’ll have to enable the root account manually.
Still, there’s a lot to like in Backup Toolkit. The Copy feature lets Mac managers use one master hard disk for setting up new Mac systems. The Synchronize tool is great for maintaining the same versions of files in multiple locations. And the Incremental and Evolutive backup modes take different approaches to backing up multiple revisions of files, allowing you to restore an earlier version than the one you backed up most recently.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
FWB’s Backup Toolkit works well enough for Mac OS 9 and OS X users who need to save a few critical files to a file server or an iDisk, and for users who have an extra hard disk they can use as a backup drive. In spite of its quirks, Backup Toolkit is a good value and it gets the job done.