Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 is a backup program that does everything a laptop user could ask for – it backs up to any store, and does so continuously or in snapshot mode. Yosemite is quick and it doesn’t bother users with tedious dialogs – but it's not free.

Reviewing backup software is usually a chore. There are a legion of products out there, some good, some very comprehensive but just too difficult to use. A few are awful, including some from supposedly big software houses.

The problem with almost all of them is that they demand that the user set up a backup schedule, something that works well enough until the day where one or more variables fails (such as the backup device not being attached or available, or the PC to be backed up is not turned on). Schedules also pick random points in time to carry out their duty, which might still lose important files if they turn out not to be on the last backup run prior to a data loss incident.

Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 is one of a newer breed of products, designed specifically for workstations or laptops, that abandon the scheduling idea for one based on continuous backup.

This concept, more accurately, works through two elements – ‘continuous’ protection and ‘snapshot’ protection. As the names imply, continuous protection makes a compressed backup of files being worked on - word processing or spreadsheet files - every time they are saved by the user, saving only the changes from the last save. Snapshot backup applies to large files that are left ‘open’, such as Outlook email and databases, whereby a copy is made on a set basis, say every hour.

Backup stores can be to one or more directly attached locations, or to a networked store. If one or more of these is not connected, Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 just queues files locally until they are next available, without pestering the user with annoying error messages as would most conventional backup programs.

Once the stores have been chosen, and the files to be monitored for backup have been selected according to one of a number of policies (i.e ‘office documents’, 'pictures', etc, or new policy created from scratch), that’s pretty much it, apart from deciding whether to encrypt data. Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 just gets on with it, saving only file changes for added storage efficiency.

The software comes in two versions, Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 (protection for up to 30 computers) and Yosemite FileKeeper Corporate (for greater than that number). Apart from the number of PCs being protected, the Corporate version is geared towards backup stores on networked drives, and centralises policies and logging.

To that end, Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 is much more informal, saving data to simple devices such as external USB or stick drives, handing control to the end user to define a backup regime.

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Perhaps the only minor gripe about Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 - an excellent product - is that it doesn’t provide quite enough feedback as to what it is (and isn’t) doing.

Where most backup software asks for far too much interaction, Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 asks for none at all.

NEXT PAGE: continuous monitoring, ease of use and our expert verdict > >

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Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 is a backup program that does everything a laptop user could ask for – it backs up to any store, and does so continuously or in snapshot mode. Yosemite is quick and it doesn’t bother users with tedious dialogs – but it's not free.

The continuous monitoring system loads as an icon on the Windows taskbar, but you have to click on it to get more than a basic level of status (whether it is active and ‘on’, or inactive and therefore ‘off’), but as weeks and months pass where it does its work unobtrusively, it would be easy to forget that a particular directory or file type wasn’t being backed up. Come the moment for file restoration that forgetfulness could turn out to be a problem.

In fairness, checking on what is backed up, where to, and when it was most recently copied is extremely simple. But we’d still have liked the option for Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 to create a report every now and again, perhaps with some statistics on its recent usage.

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

As it is, Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8's logs are rather inscrutable. Our test software generated 27 warning messages over a period of a few months and it was difficult to interpret what they might have been caused by, or whether something was amiss. The software, and its backups stores, appeared to be fine.

Restores can be achieved in a number of ways, from allowing the user to browse directories for files in their native format, searching for a specific filename, or in the case of different versions of a file, right-clicking on the file to restore one of up to an infinite number of previous versions, or according to a set time or revision number.

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Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8: Specs

  • Windows-based laptop or desktop PC
  • network file share backup location
  • desktop or server running IIS for Policy Server
  • Windows-based laptop or desktop PC
  • network file share backup location
  • desktop or server running IIS for Policy Server

OUR VERDICT

Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 is a first-class product. It works transparently, getting on with the job of protecting data without fuss, complication or by tying down the PC. You always have a backup of files regardless of whether the backup drive has always been available, and those files will be only minutes old if a primary drive fails. At the same time, it is allows a sophisticated degree of control over backup. Stable for the several months we've tested it, Yosemite FileKeeper Pro 2.8 is the backup program we’d use on a laptop if our data depended on it.

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