This week I was saved by 150895 Spb Clone when my HP iPAQ h4150 Pocket PC crashed – again.
Seriously, on these days of 1GB SD cards, can you imagine how many different software titles can be installed on a single Pocket PC? In my last count I had more than 40 software installed (including a few games, Today plug-in, word processor, spreadsheet, Wi-Fi scanner, etc – I will post another day with a complete list of programs I use).
What about all the configurations? Three e-mail accounts (one ActiveSync with Exchange Server, one with my ISP and one for GMail), Connections, Wi-Fi WEP keys, Bluetooth pairings, etc.
I found that I was spending up to two or three hours rebuilding a Pocket PC if it had a serious crash (like installing some software for testing and finding it doesn’t work ok or simply finding a problem serious enough to command a hard reset). And since I have an iPAQ h415 and a HTC Harrier, a.k.a. Audiovox XV6600 things were getting out of control sometimes.
Like last night: I placed the h4150 on its cradle for charging overnight and I heard the bell sound indicating a new Pocket PC (or a hard reset!). I couldn’t believe that it reset itself by simply being put on its cradle.
Then I realised: during the day I was testing a file transfer over Bluetooth and had changed the Power Settings to never turn the Pocket PC off. Add to this the Wi-Fi always on and this is the explanation: the Pocket PC simply ran out of juice!
Enters 150895 Spb Clone. I know, it is not a software priced for end-users (currently $299 but if you’re quick I have a 20% discount code valid until 1st August 2005 for all Spb Software titles). It is actually targeted at Enterprise users, but I can tell you: after spending two or three hours reinstalling and configuring a Pocket PC and doing this more than once, you put some value on this kind of software.
You should read our review here, but in short Spb Clone creates an image of your Pocket PC and store on a memory card (SD/MMC). If you ever need to restore the Pocket PC to that exactly point where this is the file to have. The files are self-extract .exe so if you have a problem simply tap on the image file, even if Spb Clone is not installed – and your Pocket PC is restored.
I now have a “fresh install” image so I know that if I ever want to restore my Pocket PC to a safe point I have this file. Also I create a new image every week or so, or just before and after installing a new software. This way I can safely restore my Pocket PC if needed.
For Enterprise of course the beauty of this program is for large deployments – no more manual configuration – just create a standard image – even deploy it using Microsoft SMS 2003.
Anyway, last night after charging the h4150 again I simply ran the latest image (only two days old!) and in less than two minutes I had the Pocket PC restored with all the applications installed. No registration codes to enter, no reinstall from ActiveSync, no looking for original downloads.
PS: A friend noted that there are other backup solutions for Windows Mobile targeting consumers, therefore with better price: 65427 Sprite Backup Pocket PC and 117151 Sprite Backup Smartphone.