Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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April 2002, Week 5 -- Remote Backup




   We talked about backup software and hardware recently in this column, but what if the whole building burns down? In other words it's great to have a backup of your hard drive on another hard drive, or a tape or CD stored on a shelf in case your computer breaks down. But what if the whole office goes?

   The solution for that is remote backup. We recently looked at Connected, one of dozens of companies offering remote backup. They have three levels of service: The lower two levels can be looked over at, where the charge is $6.95 a month to store 100 megabytes of data; or $14.95 a month to store up to four gigabytes. These two services are designed for small businesses and they don't recognize networked drives. In other words, each computer in a network would have to be backed up individually.


   At the corporate level you would connect to  where you can store files from 5-200 computers starting at $90 a month. If you have more than 41 computers the charge is $14 per seat, as they call it, and covers up to 10 gigabytes of storage for each machine. Temporary files, streaming media and Internet cache are excluded from the storage and any charges because it's rather pointless to save them.


   As we said earlier, there are dozens of remote backup services available and an Internet search will get anyone a ton of names to start reviewing exactly what you might want. We looked at Connected because it is large and the services and charges are typical. These services include backup and restoration access 24 hours a day, every day. Transmissions are encrypted. Backups are mirrored, meaning that if they, the backup service, should happen to have a drive failure, your data is stored on a second set of drives as well. And of course, there's technical support.


System Commander in charge

  System Commander 7

   System Commander 7, from Vcom, lets you run multiple operating systems on a PC. You might think, why would you want to do that? But in fact quite a few people want to and I often get questions on the matter.

   The main reason for running more than one operating system is to use programs that are system specific. Most PC users, myself included, have some programs that won't run on later versions of Windows, for example. Some very nice programs, in fact. And then there are incompatibilities: you upgraded to Windows XP or Windows NT and lo and behold, that old program you liked so much no longer runs.


   System Commander partitions the hard drive, and it can do this on the fly -- meaning as the computer is operating. Each partition can have its own operating system, and Commander supports every operating system that can run on a PC. That includes all the versions of Windows, Linux, Unix, and, most deliciously of all for me: DOS.


   Being able to run DOS is particularly important because the latest versions of Windows are no longer based on DOS. Does that matter? Well it matters to some of us, because I and others can still do almost anything we need to with files much faster in DOS than in Windows. There are also treasured DOS programs, like the classic word processor XyWrite, beloved of journalists and academics.


   System Commander 7 lists for $70. The program can be installed into any PC operating system. Phone info: 800-648-8266 or 408-965-4000; web:


Charting the corporate maze



   A new release of OrgPlus Professional should be a welcome addition to large corporations updating their organization charts.

   This relative expensive package -- $495 from Human Concepts LLC, is strictly for heavy hitters. You can make fine organization charts with a much cheaper program like Visio, but OrgPlus adds the niceties like photos of people in each of the company's positions, automatic links to their email, any special web pages, availability, etc. The program can also handle numerical data, like budgets or salary scales.

   A standard version of this program can be had for $190. Web:


Did something pop-up?

 ad subtract




   Pop-up ads on the Internet are driving people crazy. Is there anything that can be done about it? Not much.

   The best defensive program is "AdSubtract Pro," $30 for Windows, from It blocks almost every ad we used to encounter. Unfortunately it also blocks some web sites I go to every day.

   Ad blockers often block business and stock market programs, apparently recognizing the incoming ticker information as a pop-up ad. You can get around this problem by compiling a list of exceptions in the program, which will then skip those sites.

    I have gotten so used to deleting pop-up ads that I check the delete box before the ad is even displayed. I use the same procedure for junk e-mail, which is 99 percent of my mail. The subject line alone is enough to prompt a delete click, often before the page is displayed. You can manually delete 100 pieces of junk mail in less than a minute with this approach, whereas blocking programs take a lot longer to keep up to date. Blockers are also kind of hit or miss. The built-in blocker that comes with Windows Outlook and Outlook Express has limited value since junk mailers regularly change their point of origin address to get around the block. Is there an ultimate cure for pop-up and pop-under ads? I don't think so. Learn to live with it.


   NOTE: Readers can search nearly four years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at or