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Backup tool considerations for Windows Vista

A reader provides five factors systems administrators should consider when evaluating third-party backup tools for Windows Vista.

I have a few pointers that systems administrators may find helpful when evaluating Windows Vista third-party backup tools.

First, make sure the third-party tool allows you to access existing backups with Windows Vista. You'll need to use a version of your existing backup software that works with Windows Vista.

Second, try to pick a tool that can restore individual files/folders from an easy-to-use GUI. Some products, like Acronis's True Image and Symantec's Norton Ghost, have this feature. Those kinds of tools help eliminate the scripting pains that systems admins may encounter while restoring files or folders. (You can only use the backup tool available with Vista through the command line.)

Since the current backup tool that comes with Vista doesn't include support for tape backups and tape libraries, my third suggestion is to look for a third-party tool that not only supports tape -- as well as external drives and network shares -- but CD or DVD backups as well.

The current Vista backup tool doesn't provide support for advanced backup options, such as compression, splitting a backup into smaller files and password protection. So tip number four is to try to find a third-party backup tool that can.

And don't forget number five: When you upgrade to Vista, you'll need to upgrade existing backup programs to versions made especially for Windows Vista as it makes extensive changes to the structure of user file storage and how the operating system works.

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