2BrightSparks Pte Ltd. March 2011
2BrightSparks: Newsletter. March 2011


SyncBackPro

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OnClick Utilities

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Welcome

Welcome to the latest newsletter from 2BrightSparks. In this issue you'll find out about the latest software updates for SyncBackSE, SyncBackPro and OnClick Utilities, and you'll read about a great backup tip that helps you get the best from SyncBackPro.

If you have any suggestions on what you might like to see in future issues of this newsletter, drop us a line with your suggestions.



SyncBackSE/Pro Updates


The latest releases of SyncBackSE & SyncBackPro V5.11.3.0 are now available as a free update for all those who have paid for a SyncBackSE or SyncBackPro license. To update from earlier versions simply download and install over your old version:

Download SyncBackSE

Download SyncBackPro

The latest versions include twelve essential updates and fixes. Note that this is not an upgrade to SyncBackSE and SyncBackPro from SyncBack freeware

The latest update of SyncBackSE and SyncBackPro include a number of essential fixes that will help your backups run smoothly.

Review the full list of changes in both versions

SyncBackSE, SyncBackPro, and SyncBack Freeware

There are three versions of our backup program: "SyncBack" which is freeware, and "SyncBackSE" and "SyncBackPro" which are commercial programs.

Compare the freeware and commercial versions

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OnClick Utilities Updates

Get the latest version of OnClick Utilities, our suite of programs for Windows: perform lightning fast file searches; recover files after deleting; securely delete data; guarantee files are identical; perform military-grade encryption; encrypt/decrypt files & text; and easily update large files.

Licensed users of OnClick Utilities get new and improved features including new FindOnClick and PatchOnClick command line features and Windows 64 bit support.

Download the latest versions here:

www.2brightsparks.com/onclick/download.html

Bundle Discount - save 50%

If you purchase a new license for either SyncBackSE or SyncBackPro and place either product in the cart first, you'll get the opportunity of enjoying a 50% bundle discount on OnClick Utilities - this offer is only available in the cart AFTER SyncBackSE or SyncBackPro has been added to the cart.

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Expert Backup Tip of the Month

Dave Wilkins handles technical support for 2BrightSparks and provides great advice for getting the most out of SyncBackPro.

Ever Wondered how Windows runs Scheduled Tasks?

I thought it would prove useful to provide some background on how Windows runs Scheduled Tasks, and in particular how Vista/2008/7 do.

A Scheduled Task (any version of Windows that 2BrightSparks backup software supports) will always
create a new instance of the program to run the profile, and close it again afterwards. Bear in mind it needs to do this because there might not be any foreground instance open already (you might not even be logged on).

In Windows Vista/7/2008, this new/separate instance is now by default* in 'session-0', which has no desktop and is not visible to the user. This is for 'security reasons'... Here's a link to an article by Microsoft that explains their resons for doing this:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb756986.aspx

* you can make the new/temporary instance of SyncBackSE/Pro visible (in the tray) by setting the Scheduled Task to 'run only when the user is logged in' (that is, the user whose credentials are used in the task). The problem is, if you do that, it will not run if you are not logged in, so may not run when you want it to, for example overnight.
Note: if you do use this option, and you do click that extra tray icon to make that instance visible, it will not self-close thereafter at the end of the run: it assumes your intervention was intentional, and will wait for you to close it manually.

In any version of Windows, the current foreground instance of SyncBackSE/Pro (if there is one) is not aware of any other hidden instance running a profile or group, and will display information accordingly. The exceptions being:

- if you Refresh (via Profiles menu > Refresh, or the F5 shortcut) the main screen display of the foreground instance, running profiles may display as such (and/or, their Last Run (etc) info may update). This is because the foreground instance is picking up changes (made by the background Scheduled instance) stored in the actual profiles when it re-polls the profiles if you Refresh the screen (or, if the program itself does, e.g. when re-displaying it after you close the Modify window). Our software does not constantly re-poll all the profiles, to keep the program footprint light and avoid what would usually be a waste of system resources (constantly polling profiles that do not change state or status). But there are occasions when these are re-polled, and you may see on-screen information change because of it.

- if you try to Schedule it, it will pick up direct from the Windows Scheduler that a Task exists for that profile, and also (for your info) that it is running already (if it is). If it was not (running), it would determine whether a Task existed already or not and respond accordingly ('Do you want to create?' or 'Do you want to edit?'). Note that SyncBackSE/Pro is actually displaying the status (exists?, running?) of a Task named the same as the profile, not of the actual profile itself directly. Note also that this interlock does not work in respect of a single unScheduled profile, if the profile is already running c/o a Scheduled Group - it will simply proceed to allow you to create a Schedule for the profile itself. That may in fact be contra-indicated, as the two Schedules (one per profile, one per group) may 'collide'.

I hope you've found this dive into the world of Windows scheduling valuable - there's a lot more to it than at first meets the eye.

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False Positives


A "false positive", also known as a "false alarm", occurs when anti-virus, spyware protection, anti-keylogging, or anti-hacking software detects a legitimate and trusted program, folder, or file as a problem, when in fact there is no threat.

You know the scenario. In an attempt to keep your computer clean and your data safe you've kept the auto-update feature on your Internet security software set to "always on". That makes sense as most of the time this helps prevent malicious programs hijacking your computer or drives. Now and again however the update to your anti-virus or other security software is in error and suddenly starts reporting a risk where no risk exists.

We tend to believe statements from security software companies outrank that of the program being reported, but when the security software update backfires, it can cause significant risk to your data. The problem isn't confined to programs developed by independent software companies like 2BrightSparks, in the past even Windows has been falsely reported as a malicious program!

Make certain your security software does NOT automatically delete files that are reported as a potential security risk. Instead, set your software to immediately alert you, and then take a look at whether you recognize the file or associated program. You can then respond by either allowing the deletion, quarantine the file for further investigation, or allow the file to run. There have been occasions when software developed by 2BrightSparks has been falsely flagged as a risk. Take a look at our No Nasties web page and you'll see articles relating to false positives that show them to be more common events than you might anticipate:

www.2brightsparks.com/nonasties.html

Leaving your security software on "full auto" may therefore result in the deletion of crucial programs like SyncBackPro if it is falsely reported as a risk. If you then experience drive failure or other computer problems, you'll discover your backups are no longer up to date because SyncBackPro which has been "set and left" to make scheduled backups is no longer allowed to function.

Your best course of action is to ensure your backups continue without interruption. Add the program file (for example "SyncBackPro_Setup.exe") to a list of "trusted files", and your important data will be less at risk. This action goes for any critical program on your computer - be in control and don't assume "auto security update" is always to your benefit. The last thing you want is to spend days or even weeks recovering from a problem caused by a false positive, and I hope this section helps stop that possibility for at least some of those reading it.

Mike de Sousa
Creative Director, 2BrightSparks

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Until Next Time


Thanks for reading! Like/don't like this format? Let us know.

If you have any suggestions on what you might like to see in future issues of this newsletter, drop us a line with your suggestions.

The 2BrightSparks Team.
2BrightSparks Pte Ltd.
www.2brightsparks.com

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