Digital Home Thoughts: HP SimpleSave Photo: Photo & Video Backup Made Really, Really Easy

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

HP SimpleSave Photo: Photo & Video Backup Made Really, Really Easy

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Found The Glitch!
Tracking down the reason for the crash proved to be somewhat difficult: I spent the next couple of weeks talking with HP as they had me do some testing, and it turns out with the version of the software I was sent had trouble with the the fact that the Windows directory on the hard drive was called /WINDOWS instead of /windows. That's right, the uppercase folder name was the root of this whole problem. HP fixed the software and when the next shipment of the software came from the factory they sent me an updated version. I put it in my HP Slimline computer and it worked perfectly:


Figure 2: Before starting the backup, the software will summarize the number of photos and videos that it found, giving you an estimate of how many DVDs it will require.

Backing Up, Deleting, Then Restoring
The backup process is as fast as your DVD burner, and beyond the initial burn it also does a verification of every file that is burned. This adds to the overall time of the backup, but the verification step ensures that the files backed up are completely identical to the originals. There's nothing worse than having a backup that has missing or corrupt files. Once the process is finished, it displays thumbnail images of all the photos and videos that have been backed up. Interestingly, there are options for printing or emailing the selected photo, or making it the desktop wallpaper. Once you click Close, the backup process is finished and the last DVD is ejected. The insert on the software package is reversible - you can use it to record which folders you backed up if you did a partial backup.

Restoring the images is almost as simple: you put in any disc from the backup, it doesn't matter which one, and select restore. You have the option of restoring all your files, or selected files. I deleted the photos off my hard drive and did a restore: I got all my photos and videos back, but the software doesn't put them back in their original location, which I found peculiar. If the folder structure is identical, why wouldn't it put them back? Instead it puts them on the C: drive under a folder called Restored Files. It then puts the files back in their original directory structure, meaning that the photos I backed up were under Photos > C > Users > Jason Dunn > Pictures > Vacations. Yeah, no kidding.

It puts a shortcut to the root Restored Files folder on the desktop, which helps the user find the main folder, but I can't help thinking that any backup neophyte using this software would probably not know how to put the files back where they came from. These are the same types of users that have the "AOL Free Trial" shortcut on their desktop for three years, not realizing they could (or should) delete it. HP should do a scan and match the restore folders, and if they're present in the same path, restore to the original location. If the original location is missing, put the files on the desktop in a folder that has the folders at the root level - not buried six levels deep.

Beyond the rough edges on restoring, this is a great product that's perfect for that friend or family member who doesn't back up their photos or videos. If you know someone like that (and we all do), urge them to buy this software solution and get their photos and videos backed up before they have to learn the hard way that hard drives don't last forever.

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog.


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