Genie Timeline 3 – New robes, better speed, same great power
Time waits for no man, or Genie, and Genie9, the company behind Genie Backup, have recently released another update to their popular Genie Timeline backup program. How does this new update fair when compared to it’s long time rival, Oops!Backup? Read on to find out.
Genie9 very kindly provided us with a review copy of Timeline 2012. However things didn’t go so smoothly during installation this time. While installing the program, we were presented with an error due to a missing DLL. Following instructions from Genie9, we were able to finish the installation, but still weren’t able to run the program. After another reinstallation however, we were up and running. It’s a shame about this and hopefully Genie9 will continue to improve the installation process. We doubt that every user will encounter such problems and it’s nice to know that Genie9 respond quickly to technical support queries too.
Once you have the program running, the most startling difference in this version of the software is the change to a new GUI. Genie9 have obviously been inspired by Windows 8 and the new Genie Timeline’s interface mimics the Metro style in Windows 8. We’re not sure why Genie9 chose to do this, since this is clearly a desktop application and so looks a little out of place next to the Aero applications that run on Windows 7 and in desktop mode in Windows 8. However, the application itself looks very nice with it’s pseudo Metro aesthetics and we can certainly imagine Genie9 releasing a version for Windows 8 tablets with minimal alterations.
Genie Timeline 2012 has adopted a new Metro style look throughout. While in most instances this looks good, some of the icons are perhaps a little too minimalist. Is the icon on the left an iPod, a bomb or a surprised donut?
Genie Timeline starts with a simple wizard that takes the user through selecting a backup location, choosing what to backup and then running their first backup. Just like previous versions, the software contains plugins that can detect and automatically configure backups for the user. For instance, you can select “iPod files” to back up your iTunes synced files and “Office Files” to make sure your Microsoft Office documents are backed up. Expert users can choose files and folders manually too, though only if they purchase the professional version of the software. Once the backup has been configured, you can choose a drive to save your backups to. Both local drives and network drives are supported and both compression and encryption can be enabled on your backups if desired.
For my first wish…Genie Timeline includes a wide range of plugins to make backup easier
Once the backup is configured, Genie Timeline can be left to run in the background and silently back up any files you change. Settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the programs notification area icon. This pops up the programs Metro-style interface, with big bold buttons for changing settings or pausing the backup. Bizarrely there’s no button for “backup now” on the programs main interface, and to force the program to take a backup immediately it is necessary to right click on the notification area icon, not very “Metro” but definitely a very minor gripe.
For this review, Genie Timeline will be compared with its life long rival, Oops!Backup. Oops!Backup has received only minor changes since we reviewed it in our file backup software review. The program is still a great little backup package and more than worthy of going head to head against Genie Timeline. For the first test, we measured how quickly both packages could backup a modest 1 gigabyte of data. The results were as follows:-
|Genie Timeline 2012||1:15|
A clear win for the speedy Oops!Backup, though in practise it doesn’t matter that much since both packages are running in the background. Genie Timeline lets the user choose between two different speeds, meaning that any disk activity that might affect computer performance can be kept to a minimum.
Backup programs are of no use if they cannot efficiently and accurately recover data from a backup set. For our next test, we took a file hash (fingerprint) of each file in the test backup folder before deleting them all. We then restored them using our backup packages. The table below shows how long this operation took:-
|Genie Timeline 2012||0:22|
Each program restored the files correctly, passing our file verification check. There was very little difference between the speeds of the two programs this time. However when it comes to actually selecting the files to recover, Genie Timeline completely outshines its competition. There are two methods for selecting files to restore. The standard restore mode uses a Windows Explorer interface, allowing files to be dragged from the Timeline to any folder on the hard drive. By using the programs “Advanced Restore” you can pin-point exactly which files and folders to restore. You can then copy them to a new location or restore them over the current copies. This is much better than Oops!Backup, which only supports selecting individual files or the entire file set, meaning if you want fifty files from a set of five hundred, you have to select each one individually, very tedious indeed!
For our next test, we upped the amount of data backed up and restored to a more realistic 13.3gb.
|Genie Timeline 2012||7:07|
Very litte difference in speed between the two packages here, Gene9 claim to have doubled the speed of Genie Timeline over the previous version and the times we recorded are now certainly much closer to Oops!Backup. As before, after backing up, we tested the speed and accuracy of restoring files from the backup. The time taken to restore the files is shown below:-
|Genie Timeline 2012||11:53|
Again Genie Timeline lagged a little behind Oops!Backup in this test, but as stated before the GUI on Genie Timeline makes recovering specific file-sets much easier. Both packages recovered all the files correctly.
When disaster strikes
Programs like Genie Timeline and Oops!Backup are normally focused on protecting users data, rather than the operating system. Genie Timeline included a disaster recovery module in version 2 and this module is still present in version 3. This module protects the entire operating system, including the master boot record. To use this part of the program, disaster recovery mode must be enabled. Doing this adds to the size of the backup considerably, as the contents of the Windows system directory and the program files folders are added to the backup. With this option enabled, it is possible to create a bootable USB device or CD-ROM (third party CD recording software may be needed) and then boot from this CD and restore operating system files from within the Timeline backup.
We tested this mode on our Windows 7 machine and unfortunately we were not able to get it to work. When the disaster recovery module is started, Timeline will prompt you to download the disaster recovery media creator. This extra program will help you create the disaster recovery CD or USB media. We recommend that you test this disaster recovery disc immediately as it simply would not start on our PC. Genie9 are looking into the matter based on the data we provided them, so we will update this article when they get back to us.
Features at a glance
Genie Timeline still trumps Oops!Backup for features too, for quick reference, here is a table showing the major features of each package at a glance:-
|Block level backup||Yes||Yes|
|Encryption||Yes (AES – Pro version only)||No|
We have a clear winner! Despite Genie Timeline taking longer to perform some backup tasks, its feature set and its ease of use put it firmly ahead of Oops!Backup, particularly where restoring files is concerned. Nevertheless Oops!Backup is still a strong contender and also offers some features at a lower price point than Genie Timeline. Genie9 offer three versions of Timeline. At the bottom tier, the free version lacks many of the advanced features and only takes a backup once every 8 hours. The home version lacks encryption and, more crucially, the ability to manually select files and folders to back up. The Pro version, as reviewed here, includes all the features we discussed and more besides. Genie Timeline Home is priced at £29.95 while the pro version is priced at £44.95. Oops!Backup comes in just one variety and is priced at £29. This includes the ability to select files and folders manually, anywhere on your PC, which is a feature we really feel should not have been left out of any version of Genie Timeline. If you just want the very best Time Machine/Timeline style backup package though, then Genie Timeline Professional is the undisputed champion.
To find out more about the different versions of Genie Timeline, to see pricing for your region or to purchase a copy, support Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and use this link.
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