Pearl Street Software has just announced a new program that will interest anyone using Family Tree Maker. When I say they "just announced" it, I mean it was announced just a few minutes ago! If you worry about losing the valuable data from your Family Tree Maker files due to a hard drive crash or corrupted file or other disaster, or if you grow tired of back up your information to a floppy disk or CD, Family File Saver may give you the peace of mind you crave.
Family File Saver is an entirely new product that backs up your Family Tree Maker files over Internet. The program is designed to protect Family Tree Maker users from disasters. The program allows you to make backups easily, almost invisibly. If a problem later occurs with your Family Tree Maker database, Family File Saver can restore the entire database with a few mouseclicks. The program protects Family Tree Maker users from hardware problems, software problems, human error, power surges, viruses, and other unexpected problems.
The new program works with Family Tree Maker versions from 4.0 through 12.0 (the so-called Family Tree Maker 2005). Not only can you restore the database from backup, but you can even restore to any previous version of your file! With just a few clicks, you could even restore your file to a point several years ago if you use the program that long.
Quoting from the Family File Saver web site:
- This innovative utility backs up your Family Tree Maker® files over the Internet, all secured by 128-bit encryption and stored on a server that only you have access to. Here is a list of features and benefits of this new and innovative utility:
- Just Set It and Forget It - Family File Saver couldn't be easier to use. It runs in the background, watching for changes made to your Family Tree Maker® files. When it detects a change, it automatically backs up your data to the Pearl Street Software secure servers, all protected by the strongest 128-bit encryption.
- Unparalleled Protection - Only Family File Saver can protect your data from hard drive crashes, viruses, file corruption, destroyed backups, fire, flood, theft, and more. This says nothing for the time you'll save and the peace of mind you'll have, knowing that your data is truly safe.
- Rewind Your File - Not only will Family File Saver keep a current copy of your file, it will keep as many restore points as you desire. You can go back to an old version at any time! If you order the Standard Edition, you can restore to any point in the last 30 days. This extends to 3 months for Deluxe Edition users and forever for Premium Edition users.
- Easy-to-Use and Fast - Family File Saver couldn't be easier to use. You simply tell it which files to backup and you're off and running! Restoring your file is just a click away! Family File Saver does all the work for you, so your time is not spent worrying about backups.
- Backed by the Pros - Pearl Street Software has been offering Internet backup solutions in Family Tree Legends (a competitive product to Family Tree Maker) for over 2 years. Our users swear by how well our backup technology works (thousands have already been saved from disaster)! We couldn't be more excited to put this technology to work for Family Tree Maker® users!
The program is simple to install and configure. You set up Family File Saver to backup your Family Tree Maker file (or set of files). The program will immediately send a full copy of the file to Pearl Street Software's secure servers. As you use Family Tree Maker, Family File Saver will keep track of the changes you are making. Every time you are finished with a set of changes and close Family Tree Maker, Family File Saver kicks into gear. The latest changes will be sent to the secure server, creating what's called a restore point (a snapshot of your file that you can later restore to). Family File Saver does all of this by running in the system tray, using very minimal resources and the least amount of bandwidth necessary. The program is very small, uses a tiny amount of resources, and strives to just plain work without adding any load to your computer or to the time you spend working on genealogy.
At any time, you can request one of your files to be restored. After picking which file to restore, you will pick which date and time to roll your file back to. Once you make this selection, Family File Saver will start restoring your file to exactly what you had before. Remember that you can roll back two, three, or even more versions of the database. You can even use the feature to repair a bad merge or any other scary thing that may happen to your file. Genealogy data disasters can now be a thing of the past!
Pearl Street Software is the same company that wrote Family Tree Legends and has what is probably the best online backup system available today for any genealogy program. In a review of that program in the October 5, 2004, newsletter (still available at http://eogn.typepad.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2004/10/family_tree_leg.html), I wrote about the great backup capability of Family Tree Legends:
Almost all genealogy programs these days will record data, retrieve it, and produce reports. FTL is no exception. However, Family Tree Legends has numerous features that are not found in most other genealogy programs. For one thing, FTL has a tightly integrated online capability that constantly makes backups. To be sure, other programs will make backups, either manually or automatically. A couple of genealogy programs will even make backups online. However, I have never seen another genealogy program that creates backups as painlessly as Family Tree Legends. The program has the capability to produce and constantly update a backup copy of its database that is stored on Pearl Street Software's servers automatically. If connected to the Internet via an always-on broadband connection, the automated backups are made constantly as you add new data. If connecting via dial-up, the updated data is "batched;" that is, data is written to a file on the local hard drive and stored there until an Internet connection is made at a later time. Once connected, the data is then sent to Pearl Street Software's servers, all without user intervention. (You can disable the automatic backups, if you wish.)
If you ever lose all or part of your database due to hardware problems or human error, you can easily retrieve a full backup copy at any time. This same process will also work if you purchase a new computer; install the latest version of Family Tree Legends, and then begin an Internet connection. Your entire genealogy database will be retrieved from Pearl Street Software's servers and made available to you on the new computer within minutes. You do not need to copy data from your old computer to the new one. Pearl Street Software will handle that for you. All of this is done at no extra cost to the user; automated backups and rental of the required file space is included in Family Tree Legends' basic price.
All backup copies are encrypted with a 128-bit encryption key before being sent across the Internet and saved on Pearl Street Software's servers. Backups are visible to you alone unless you specify otherwise.
The newly-announced Family File Saver now offers the same advantages to Family Tree Maker users, an excellent idea in my mind. It looks like you can simply substitute the words "Family Tree Maker" in place of "Family Tree Legends" in the above paragraphs.
At another point, Pearl Street Software writes:
Our technology has many safeguards to ensure both the integrity of our backups and the safety of users' data. For every restore point created, the server does a comparison to make sure the backup got synced perfectly. All data is transferred using 128-bit encryption and can only be viewed by its owner. We have a number of servers that make sure that OUR backups stay secure and unharmed. We employ several layers of firewalls and store all data on 2 separate machines with RAID-1 mirroring. The point being: The user's hard drive is going to fail them long before we will (or a virus will fail them, or a Family Tree Maker corruption, etc.).
Family File Saver requires:
- Family Tree Maker version 4.0 through 11.0 and 2005 (in other words, all versions made in the past 7 1/2 years).
- Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, ME, 2000, or XP operating system
- 166 MHz processor or above
- 15 megabytes of disk space
- 32 megabytes of RAM memory
These are modest requirements; most computers sold in the past 5 years will work well with Family File Saver.
Family File Saver will retail for $29.95 when it starts shipping in mid-December. However, anyone who pre-orders now can obtain the program for $19.95. That price includes the ability to store three backup files on Pearl Street Software's servers. When you store the fourth file, the first one is deleted. The program also has a Deluxe Edition and a Premium Edition that offer ten and unlimited backup versions, respectively. The program also has a 30-day money back guarantee.
For more information, or to order the program via a safe and secure shopping cart system, go to http://www.familyfilesaver.com. You might especially be interested in the detailed information and screenshots available at http://www.familyfilesaver.com/software.
In short, this sounds like very economical protection for Family Tree Maker users. I suspect that many Family Tree Maker users will purchase this utility.
How much is your genealogy information worth?