At a Glance
Keep your data backed up in with this nicely done CDP utility.
Genie Timeline (about $35, list) is a continuous data protection (CDP) program for your PC that employs a time-based metaphor (à la Apple's Time Machine) for restoring files. It's a bit of a tweener operationally; it hooks into the operating system and notes which files have changed in real time, but backs them up only on the half hour. When you want to restore something, you scroll through your backed-up files by date with a slider control much like that in Apple's Time Machine.
Timeline is simple to use. Install the program, select the files that you want to back up, select the destination for the data (an entire drive or partition is required), and then just allow the program to do its stuff. With Timeline, Genie-soft leverages one of the strengths of all its non-CDP backup products: It offers software selection templates for e-mail, financial data, and so on, which makes selecting only the data you need backed up a simple matter. You may also back up entire folders or partitions. But remember, Timeline is not disaster recovery software--its specialty is data. Outside of encryption, it has few settings you can tweak. Not that you need any.
Where Timeline really shines is in browsing backups for the data you want to restore. You may, of course, search by file name, but if you're not sure which version you want or even whether that version exists, you may drag a slider back through time to check for files as granularly as half an hour. Most people can remember at least vaguely the last time they had a good copy of a file, so being able to scroll back through time can be exceedingly helpful.
Genie Timeline worked perfectly for me and had negligible impact on the system performance on any of the PCs I tried it on. My only gripes are minor. It's difficult to tell if the On/Off button is on or off, and the "View Timeline" and "Restore data" windows are somewhat redundant. One is an Explorer-style window that allows drag-and-drop restore, while the other is step-by-step. Add drag-and-drop to the latter, better-looking window, and Genie-soft would have the best of both worlds. Regardless, a good case can be made for rating Timeline the best CDP software on the PC market. For easy restore, it certainly is.
--Jon L. Jacobi