Review: Coolmax Xtreme Files F1-B Drive

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So far, the backup operation looks amazingly simple. But the sharp-eyed will have noticed the information about 218 Skipped Files. A look at the log provides a list of skipped files. This leads me to take a look at the files in the Program Files \ Xtreme folder. Two files stand out: QBackupExt.ini and QRestoreExt.ini which list 38 file types for the backup process to skip:


It was not clear why all these file types are excluded, so I consulted the manual:

If the total backup is selected (remark 1), the system will automatically back up the data in the hard disk (remark 2) to the external XTreme Files Drive except the Windows folder & Program Files folder.

Remark 1: For the total backup, the system will automatically search all the internal hard disks (floppy disks, CD-R, and other external devices are excluded automatically). Thus, the backup time will be longer. Please wait patiently.

Remark 2: The main function of this product is to back up all the data inside the computer created by the user (for example, Office file, MP3, audio & video files, etc.), but not the system files, so it will not back up the system folder, Windows folder, and Program Files folder. Furthermore, it will automatically exclude the system files (for example, .exe (Remark 3), dll, .ini , .tmp, etc.) from the backup, too.

Remark 3: We set up to exclude the .EXE files to avoid affecting system operation when restoring. If you have decompressed files downloaded from the Internet or execution files created by other software, we suggest to back up to the XTreme Files Drive by hand pulling. Please contact our customer services if you still need to back up.

NOTE: The bold emphasis in italics are mine.

OK, fair enough. But the problem is that almost everyone has saved software programs and folders that contain .exe, .ini and many other of the excluded file types. A data backup that excludes all these would make for a very incomplete backup. The solution for a more sophisticated user is to pare down the QBackupExt.ini and QRestoreExt.ini as necessary.

I removed all of the file types from the exclude .ini files and did another total backup, which gave me this completion screen:

This time, no files were skipped for backup. The one failed item was the Windows swap file pagefile.sys, which is always in use and thus cannot (should not) be copied.

Which files are backed up by the All Files data backup?

The manual states that the Windows folder and the Program Files folder are excluded along with those 38 excluded file types already discussed above. This means that without any file exclusions, everything else in the root directories and any other directories of all the hard drives in your system will be copied to a hidden folder called Backup on the Xtreme Files drive, retaining the same directory structure as the original. The files are not compressed.

Compression can be implemented manually using the Windows compression utility, and the Xtreme Files utility appears to work fine in conjunction with this. Compression can save you storage space, which could be important if you have large amounts of it, and also reduce backup time.

For simplicity and ease of use, I prefer and recommend uncompressed backups. A compressed backup means that you generally need to have at least some parts of your Windows PC working for data restoration to work. Having struggled with various HDD and data storage failures over the years, I've come to value utter simplicity in data backups. The simplest backup is an absolute clone, a 100% duplicate of the original. This means no compression. With hard drive storage prices as low as they are these days, the improved transparency of no compression is well worthwhile for me.

2) The Selective Files option brings up the following screen. It allows you to select the data by directory and file.

The selective data backup screen; a magnified slice below.

As with the All Files option, the Windows folder and the Program Files folder are excluded and cannot be selected in the above menu screen. One nicety is that the program remembers your selections from the last use of this menu. The rest works pretty much like the All Files option. You can freely intermix the two functions, using the All Files and Selective Files backup interchangeably. Both functions apply to the same Backup folder.

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