Review: Coolmax Xtreme Files F1-B Drive

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There's no point in doing backups without checking to see whether and how the data restore works. The P4 Test System 2 described on page 4 was used for data restoration function testing.

When the Restore button of the Xtreme Files Drive is pressed, the following window pops up. The same command window is used for both OS and Data restore functions.

1) OS Restore

Clicking on the OS Original Restore brought up the following dialogue box.

To give the OS Restore something of a real test, I canceled the above command, then deleted entire program folders, specific files in specific program folders, and a handful of files in the Windows directory. As a result, several programs refused to start, giving error messages, as did a couple of functions within Windows. Now I really had a need for an OS restoration. I then went ahead with OS Original Restore and clicked on OK.

The system rebooted, and I turned the power to the Xtreme Files Drive, just like during the OS Backup procedure. I turned it on when the DOS dialog called for the USB drive to be plugged in. This ensured that the Xtreme Files Drive was working in USB 2.0 mode.

A short "Image Verification" process took place, and after the Image was deemed to be valid, the process deleted all the files (OS and programs files, I presume) and restored them with the data from the OS Backup. A portion of this dialogue window is captured below.

When the process was completed (in well under 10 minutes), the system rebooted. Lo and behold, Windows XP was fully functional again, along with all the programs that I had deliberately sabotaged. That worked very nicely, and none of the data in My Documents was affected.

2) Emergency OS Restore

This is an interesting function that's not well documented in the manual. It may actually be about the most useful and unique part of the Xtreme Files Drive. Here's how the manual explains it, in the Restore operations section; it is quote verbatim, Engrish and all:

D. The repair of the computer due to the damage of the computer hard disk or computer viruses

D.1 When the computer can't boot because of the hard disk damage or computer viruses, or if it is necessary to change the hard drive due to insufficient capacity, please put the rescue CD provided by the XTreme Files Drive into the CD drive and restart the system. The computer will reboot and restore the backup files in the "Original Backup" of the XTreme Files Drive to the computer hard disk.

Remark 1: It is not necessary to format hard disks (Fdisk & Format) for new hard drives. The system will automatically do that.
Remark 2: If you need to restore the latest backup, please press the latest restore button after finishing the original restore function.

In case the meaning is not clear, allow me to paraphrase:

If you have a boot disk failure, major OS data corruption or some other reason that makes the OS disk unbootable, you can use the Xtreme Files installation CD to boot into the OS Restore function. This procedure will restore the first OS Backup to a new HDD or the original HDD (assuming it is not a hardware failure). Once this operation has been done, you can use the OS Backup normally and restore the OS to the most recent backup -- if you have one.

This Emergency OS Restore (as I call it) actually works, under the following conditions:

  • The optical drive must be attached to an IDE channel, not an external device.
  • There must be no other USB devices attached to the system except for the Xtreme Files Drive.

To test this function, I first made the OS / boot drive unbootable by working in DOS and hacking at any number of Windows and root directory files. Anyone who knows Windows know this doesn't take long.

Then the Xtreme Files installation CD was inserted into the optical drive, and the motherboard BIOS set to boot off the CD. It basically moved straight into the "Insert USB drive" message, at which point, I turned the power on the Xtreme Files Drive. The program then did the Image verification described earlier, then overwrote the OS files on the main drive with those from the Backup. Here's the final DOS dialog:

Did it work? Yes, it did! The system worked exactly as it did before I made it unbootable.

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