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Article #9 (29 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.16-32bit.reviews
From: aa400@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Marc A. Lombardo)
Subject: STash v. 1.4/Hard Drive Back-up/Commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa400 - Marc A. Lombardo)
Reply-To: aa400@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Marc A. Lombardo)
Date: Sun Jul 14 13:17:05 1991

STash v. 1.4
High Speed Hard Drive Back-up Program
AIM Magazine, March 1991
Written by R. Larsen & J. Hepworth (STUN)

     Data on Drive C: May Be Damaged or some other computer 
profanity jumps to the screen.
     
     Yes, it's true, sports fans.  Even the most expensive hard 
drive can suffer from sudden amnesia for many reasons.  Maybe you 
just dragged the wrong files to the trash icon.  Maybe the whole 
drive quits working.  Either way you now have a serious problem.


An Ounce of Prevention

     The main thing to remember before anything happens to the 
files you have stored on a hard disk is back-up your data!  A lot 
of hard work could be saved by making a copy of the information 
onto a set of diskettes.  It's painless, and you can rest at night 
knowing you won't lose your files once you have them stored.

     STash from Silicon Mountain Systems can provide you with a 
reliable disk back-up of those precious files on your hard drive 
in a hurry and with a lot of optional choices.  Sometimes you 
back-up the whole drive; other times you back-up just the files 
that are new or changed since the last time you did a back-up 
(incremental).

     Do you have files on your hard drive larger than can normally 
be stored on one disk? That's no problem with STash.

     The program comes on a single disk, and several helpful 
utilities are also included.  The manual is brief, but covers all 
the features.  A discussion of the differing theories begind back-
up methods leads off the documentation.


How STash works

     STash is unique in its approach to data back-up.  Rather than 
the two main methods used by other back-up software, STash makes 
use of bnoth at the same time.  Some programs just copy files from 
the hard drive to disk as files, while others make a "bit image" 
copy of every sector of a hard drive.

     Both ways harve drawbacks.  File copiers can't handle a file 
that is too long for a floppy disk and are generally slower and 
use up more disks.  Image type copiers seem fast and complete, but 
the back-up can't be restored to a drive if you change the size or 
the total number of the partitions.

     STash copies files from your hard drive and writes them as an 
image on specially formatted disks, putting the most data on the 
fewest number of disks.  Any file that is larger than normally 
fits on a disk just soomthly spreads to the next disk.

     The beauty of using STash is that it runs in all three 
resolutions and even with limited memory and accessories or auto 
programs loaded you won't notice any drop in the performance of 
the back-up.  Often, back-up software requires that nothing reside 
in memory besides itself.

     You have the option of using either a single or double sided 
disk drive.  You can back-up a whole partition or just one folder 
and everything in it.  You can turn disk verify on or off.  
Probably the nicest feature is that STash reports the total number 
of disks it will need before it begines to write to any of them!

     STash won't let you use the wrong disk, either.  If you 
accidentally put a disk in the drive that already has part of the 
current backup stored on it, you are prevented from overwriting 
the data already on the disk.

     A small configuration file stores the information you supply 
about your disk size (single- or double-sided), which type of 
back-up you wish (full or incremental and recursive or non-
recursive), your write verify choice and the selected path.

     Since you may need to make more frequent back-ups of certain 
parts of your drive than others because of the replacement value 
of the files or the constand change of the data, you can save 
several different configuration files and load them to instantly 
set up for each particular back-up.


Using STash

     STash intelligently handles a bug in Atari's TOS 1.0 and 1.2 
that set the archive bit in the directory for each file, giving 
back-up software the wrong information for incremental back-ups.  
Whatever version of TOS you are using, STash works right.


Some Drawbacks

     There are some possible drawbacks to using STash as your hard 
drive back-up program.  You are allowed to use only one floppy 
drive for the back-up even if you have two.  The disks are given a 
special format over which you hve no control.  The format is 80 
tracks with 10 sectors per track.  You may have drives that will 
write to more than 80 tracks, but you can't do it.

     The format is not a TOS file format, so you can't go in and 
select a few of the files and restore them.  In fact, if you 
attempt to look at the directory of these disks, you get grarbage 
like something is wrong with your computer.  This requires you to 
install the complete back-up (however, remember that you can do 
partial back-ups and the back-up may be small enough so this is no 
bother).

     STash apparently has no way to resotre a back-up to the hard 
drive if one of the disks in the back-up is unreadable.  The files 
will be safely restored up to the point where the disk error 
occurs, but no other disks of that set can be restored.

     Missing from STash is a permanent logging procedure.  Files 
are listed to the screen during the back-up, but there is no way 
to scroll back through the list or print it or store it to disk 
with the back-up.  When the back-up disk are complete, there is no 
way to know what files are on them.


Testing STash

     When STash was tested on a Mega 2 with TOS 1.4 to make a 
back-up of a 5 megabyte partition with 4.9 megs full, these were 
the elapsed times:

    1st Back-up verify on: 22 min. 58 sec,disks needed formatting 
    2nd Back-up verify on: 12 min. 28 sec,disks already formatted
    3rd Back-up verify off: 6 min. 00 sec,disks already formatted

     You can see that if you feel secure doing the back-up with 
write verify off on disks that already have the special STash 
format, you can produce a rapid complete back-up of your hard 
drive - nearly a megabyte per minute.  Of course, incremental 
back-ups will go even faster.
     Making your data safe from "hard drive amnesia" is fast with 
STash and restoring the STashed away data is easy, too.

    STash v. 1.4
    Silicon Mountain Systems
    5989 Ohio River Rd.
    Huntington, WV. 25702
    (304) 525-0164




-- 
Marc A. Lombardo           User Address:aa400@cleveland.freenet.edu   ~ ~ ~
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Atari ST, MIDI, Music                                                ~~ ~ ~~
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