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Rewind To Take Mac Users To A Place No Mac Has Gone Before -- Back In Time

MACWORLD Product Focus - Rewind To Take Mac Users To A Place No Mac Has Gone Before -- Back In Time

by , 1:30 PM EDT, July 21st, 2000

Power On Software has been running scheduled demonstrations of their innovative new product, Rewind, here at MACWORLD Expo. In a nutshell, Rewind will let you step your system back in time to a point before a crash has happened, before you've deleted a file, or before some other catastrophe has wreaked havoc on your Mac.

Rewind performs these amazing feats by keeping a type of cache on your hard disk (or any other disk you choose). You can determine the size of the cache and, of course, the larger the cache you have, the further back in time you can go. Rewind maximizes the space in this cache by both compressing the data as it stores it, and then in the case of multiple revisions to a file, it just saves the differences between revisions to ensure that disk space is used efficiently.

The software offers two different methods of rewinding. First is that you can rewind individual files, choosing one from a list of multiple revisions, or choosing ALL revisions to be restored. The second is that you can completely rewind the whole disk. The latter is helpful if you've installed problematic software or gotten a virus and need to restore the system to it's "clean" state. Once you have rolled the entire drive back, though, you can still go and retrieve your files from the cache, in case you modified one of them at a time AFTER that to which you've rewound.

Rewind also includes the ability to start the system from a "safe" partition. Once the software is installed, you simply hold down the "R" key at restart and the system will boot from this partition. From there you can run Rewind to repair your main disk easily. You can also adjust the size of this partition, giving you the ability to add OTHER utilities to it as well (like Anti-Virus or Disk Repair software, for example). For the mobile user who doesn't want to have to carry emergency boot CD's with them all the time, this is a fantastic development.

The software works by writing changes to your disk and its cache simultaneously, which means it operates at driver level. According to Greg Dalen, Power On's VP of Product Development, the software is using technology that they've honed over the past 5 years with OnGuard, their hard drive security software. Their track record with OnGuard is outstanding, which is a good sign here. As the software has to write to the disk twice for each write that the system executes (one for the actual file, and one write to the cache), we were concerned about overall system performance. However, even in the Alpha version we saw on the show floor, everything performed without any noticable slow-down.

The software looks solid, despite the fact that its in Alpha state currently. They have a release date planned for Q4 2000, with retail pricing set at US$89.95. Attendees of MACWORLD Expo can pre-order a copy at the show for US$68.00, using Power On's 25% show floor discount coupon.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This product looks great, and if they can make a Mac OS X version, it will no doubt be a hit!

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