CMS ABSplus Makes Backups Easy For Everyone

Within 4 minutes of breaking the shrinkwrap on the box, we were backing up our files. Itis THAT simple.

CMS has a real winner of an idea on their hands with the ABSplus, a self-contained backup drive that automatically starts backing up when you plug it in. We tested their FireWire unit (thereis also a USB-based model), which is bus-powered, making this a "one cable does all" experience. The drive comes with software that installs quickly (and, thankfully, without the need for a reboot in Mac OS X). Once installed, it monitors your computer for that magic moment when you plug in the drive, and it starts backing up. You can customize it, of course, but by default it backs up your entire drive, sans some temporary folders that it deems unnecessary (you can override if you like).

The ABS Backup software gives you simple, easy-to-read status reports.

The drive itself is simply a bus-powered external 2.5-inch "laptop style" FireWire hard drive, in a sleek little case with a nice blue light. It also comes with a 3-foot cable, which we felt was appropriate considering the fact that many folks will likely travel with this drive in their laptop cases. The unit we tested had a 20.0GB hard drive in it, though the portable version is available in models ranging from 10GB to 60GB. CMS also makes a "Desktop" version of the drive which features full-height 3.5" drives featuring sizes starting at 40GB and going all the way up to 120GB.

The software comes on a CD, but itis also available as a disk image right on the drive itself, so you can easily install it without inserting the CD. Installation was simple, and the backup software ran swiftly on an 800MHz PowerBook G4 running Mac OS X 10.2.2. One problem we ran into -- on one of our test machines, we use an external VST FireWire Hard Drive, as well, and after the software was installed, the backup agent booted up every time we plugged that (or any other) FireWire drive in. This could be disabled by turning off the auto-launch option, but thatis a handy thing for many folks to have. That said, you could use it to your advantage, and set it to back up some things to the CMS drive, and some things to another hard drive and maintain different backups on different drives. As simple as it appears, the ABSplus software is quite customisable in terms of what you want to back up and where you want to put it.

As anyone will tell you, everyone should be backing up, and this drive is a perfect solution for anyone who wants a completely portable solution and/or doesnit want to deal with the complexities of Retrospect.

Product: ABSplus

Company: CMS Products

List Price: N/A

Vendor Price: US$279 to $599

Firewire or USB (2.0) Mac OS 8.6 or later, Mac OS X 10.1 or later

Pros: - Backups are fully-automated, just plug in the drive and then sit back and watch. - The drive is bus powered, which makes for a truly portable solution that travels well. - It\'s got a really cool blue light on it, which we liked a lot.
Cons: - Backup app launched every time we plugged in any FireWire hard drive.