Washington Apple Pi

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Prosoft Engineering's Data Safety Suite

Reviewed by Mike Mellor

Washington Apple Pi Journal, reprint information

Prosoft Engineering's Data Safety Suite (DSS) is a package of three separate tools that complement each other to provide data security and prevent data loss. Data RecyclerX is an application that augments the functionality of the trash bin on the dock. Data Backup allows a user to back up user data, or back up an entire disk. The final part of the package, Data Rescue, is an industrial strength package that restores damaged hard drives. I don't have the means (nor, fortunately, the need) to test this application, so the remainder of this article will address the first two applications.

Data RecyclerX is a tool that acts as the Trashcan's trashcan. After running the installer you set the preferences, including whether to monitor the entire disk, or just users' folders; and you also determine the security level for shredding files. Once this is completed, Data RecyclerX runs automatically in the background. Whenever you empty the trashcan in the dock, Data RecyclerX moves the files to a hidden location on your hard drive. Then, when you need to interact with the files, you run the Data RecyclerX application.

Data Recycler GUI

Figure 1. Data RecyclerX has a straightforward GUI.

Once the application launches, you can either shred files, or restore some or all of the files. Shredding files in Data RecyclerX deletes the files and destroys their underlying data. This is more secure than when you empty the trash. The normal method of emptying the trash consists of removing deleted file names from the file catalog that the hard drive maintains. The data exist until they are overwritten by another file's data. The Data RecyclerX's method ensures that the data cannot be restored. This is a good thing if you are getting ready to sell you Mac or if you have a laptop with sensitive data.

Data Recycler shredder

Figure 2. Data RecyclerX in action, shredding files.

Overall, Data RecyclerX works as advertised. Initially, I was unable to get it to work, but Prosoft's support staff kept in touch, and eventually released an updated version of the software, version 1.5, which I used for this review. The only issue that I have with Data RecyclerX is that is uses a lot of space on the hard drive. Instead of linking to the original data of the deleted file, it creates a copy of the file. This resulted in a shortage of hard drive space on my iBook – if I deleted a 1 Gigabyte file, I lost 1 Gig of hard drive space. Whether or not you'd find Data RecyclerX useful depends on your needs; if you need to prevent others from recovering your data, or if the risk of accidentally deleting a file is something you'd rather avoid, then Data RecyclerX is for you. It is a “belt and suspenders” approach to data management. Normal users with limited space may be satisfied with simply reviewing their trash before deleting it.

Data Backup is a tool that allows users to backup either their entire drives, or a selection of their drives, and restore their data at a later time. The following two screen shots show Data Backup, as configured to back up an entire volume and a custom save:

Data backup

Figure 3. Data Backup makes backing up an entire volume simple!

Configuring data backup

Figure 4. Data Backup can be configure to back up selected folders.

Using Data Backup to back up a volume is as simple as selecting the volume to back up and the target volume. There are several backup methods available, including scheduled backups and incremental backups. One of the coolest features is a synchronized backup. This allows a user to add and delete files from a folder while retaining the ability to restore deleted files by accessing an older saved version of the file.

Overall, the Data Safety Suite is a solid application suite primarily for users who need redundant data loss prevention methods. Data RecyclerX adds a layer of deletion prevention to the trashcan. Data Backup is a great tool for backing up a volume or folder. And Data Rescue, while I did not personally use it, has a good reputation as a tool for data recovery on a damaged disk. The suite may be overkill for a casual user, but I think it would be a tremendous asset in a professional Mac shop.

Prosoft Engineering
Data Safety Suite, $199