Review: Coolmax Xtreme Files F1-B Drive

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Pressing the OS Backup button brings up the following menu screen.

OS Backup first dialogue screen.

First, ensure that the available free space exceeds the OS disk drive used space. Obviously, the system from which the screenshot above is taken requires only a tiny portion of the available free space. Click on OK, and this screen comes up:

Hit OK here and the PC reboots to perform the OS Backup.

Before you go ahead and click OK to reboot for the OS Backup to occur, consider the following comments from the OS backup section of the instruction manual:

OS Backup Button

Remark 1: This system supports the backup of multi-boot menu. When your computer's installation is based on multi-boot menu, the XTreme Files backup system will back up your multi- boot menu and restore the multi-boot menu system after the restore function.

Remark 2: Since Windows can't backup itself under its own system, we will transfer to DOS first to back up (same as Symantec GHOST, but XTreme Files does not need the boot disk. This is the virtual boot technology, which is more convenient than Ghost).

Remark 3:

  • When you first press the OS backup button, the system will back up the entire disk data to the Original Backup.
  • When you press the OS backup button again for the second time, the system will back up the data of the boot disk to the Latest Backup.
  • The third operation will replace the data of the second backup.
  • The XTreme Files Drive will keep 2 backups: Original Backup & Latest Backup forever.

Remark 4:

  • BIOS of some motherboards will automatically mount an external USB drive. The speed will be only USB 1.1 even though the motherboards support USB 2.0.
  • To achieve the speed of USB 2.0, please disable the "USB Device Legacy Support" in the Integrated Peripherals item of BIOS or unplug the USB cable before booting the PC (plug in the USB cable after the PC boots and asks to plug in the USB cable).

>> Bold italics are my emphasis. <<

The highlighted item in Remark 3 is good to know and useful when you need to run a Restore operation. The information in Remark 4 is critical if you don't want to be waiting forever for the backup to take place. USB 1.1 speed is many times slower than USB 2.0; the difference is huge.

If you wish to automate the USB 2.0 speed backup, then follow the second point under Remark 4 above. If you are like most people, you probably have a mix of USB 1.1 and 2.0 devices, so if you don't want to mess with unplugging the other USB devices and resetting the motherboard BIOS, here's the simpler manual process:

To ensure that the OS Backup occurs at USB 2.0 speed,

  1. Unplug or power down all other USB devices.
  2. After clicking on OK to have the system rebooted into DOS, as soon as the PC powers down from Windows and begins booting, turn the power switch of the XTreme Files Drive OFF.
  3. Wait until the DOS screen asks for you to plug in the USB boot disk.

  4. Turn the power switch of the Xtreme Files Drive ON. The Xtreme Files Drive becomes recognized, and the screen soon begins to show a store / copy progress indicator.
  5. When the OS backup is complete, the system requests permission to reboot.

The above procedure worked reliably most of the time on the various systems. Once in a while, the OS backup procedure in DOS would indicate successful completion without any backup activity having been done. Simply repeating the OS Backup after the system rebooted into Windows would usually work.

Upon reboot after the OS Backup procedure, you will find a few new files in the Backup folder of the Xtreme Files Drive.

The critical ones appear to be OrgOS.002 and OrgOS.pqi, given their large size. These files appear to be compressed image files much like the ones created by Symantec's Ghost utility. (More likely, they are closer to PowerQuest Drive Image files, but as PowerQuest was acquired by Symantec late last year, this may be a moot point. In any case, it's evident that the software technology used here is some licensed variant of PQI's Drive Image process.)

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