There was a big hype when Apple introduced their Time Machine in v10.5 of OS X. Basically, Time Machine makes it possible to travel back in time – not with your body, that is, but with your computer’s data. Time Machine creates a system restore point at specified times. With Time Machine’s GUI, you can go back in time and restore your system to the exact state it was in when Time Machine performed a backup.

Alexander Weiss

Alexander Weiß currently heads up an IT department, and my main interests include IT governance, cloud computing and IT architecture. Read my blog about Amazon cloud computing.

Comodo recognized the shortcomings of an easy-to-use system restore utility in the Windows world and released a system restore tool with a nice user interface. Named after the Apple pendant Time Machine, Comodo’s Time Machine tool is simple to use. The only configuration task you have to do during installation is specify the hard drives for which you want to enable Time Machine.

System Restore Utility - Comodo Time Machine Setup

When you launch Time Machine, you see a window with six tabs (View Snapshots, Take Snapshots, Scheduled Tasks, Restore System, Recover Files, and Reset Baseline), a link to the application settings, and a link to update the software.

System Restore Utility Comodo Time Machine View Snapshots

The View Snapshots tab shows a history of all snapshots; this history represents the time line in which you can go back to a certain point in your computer’s past. When you want to “travel in time,” you can restore the whole system or just single files. You can create these points in time by either taking a snapshot manually or by scheduling a snapshot task. This gives you all the flexibility you need. This system restore utility has a lot more features, such as a CLI interface, but there are just too many to cover all of them in this article.

When you take many snapshots and make a lot of changes to your computer’s data, you will sooner or later run into storage and performance problems because Time Machine logs every change on your computer. To avoid having more and more space consumed by the snapshots, you can define a new baseline, which means that a new snapshot is taken and all previous snapshots are deleted.

These snapshots do not dissolve the need to back up your data, though. The snapshots are stored on the same hard disk as your data; in case of a hard disk failure, not only is your data destroyed but also the snapshots. The solution to this might be the Comodo Time Machine Enterprise Server, but it isn’t available yet.

All in all, Time Machine is a very nice system restore utility. It has only one major drawback: It doesn't work together with TrueCrypt. This is no issue if you don’t use TrueCrypt, but for me TrueCrypt is an essential tool that is installed on every computer I own.

Comodo Time Machine ^

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