Maybe it was all an honest, careless mistake. Heck, maybe it wasn't the user's fault at all. Either way, it's going to take you some time to figure out just what happened and how to fix it. But what if you could simply hit the reset button and have all your troubles melt away? What if you could bring that system back up within seconds, to the same state it was in when the user first booted the machine that morning, and be done with it? Just how cool would that be?
This isn't a pipe dream, folks. The technology exists in the form of the MagicCard, and we've got one on the test bench for you today. Is this a support department's wet dream, or just a Ghost knockoff? Read on as we attempt to unravel the magic.
Dissecting the magic
The MagicCard is all about instant recovery from intentional or unintentional damage to your Windows install and data on your hard drive. You're protected from innocuous things like changing a desktop background image or deleting a few files all the way up to more significant changes brought about by virus attacks and even low-level formatting. "How?" you ask. The card uses a proprietary algorithm to encode system data and spread it over only 1% of your hard drive.
Since all encoded data is stored on the hard drive itself, the MagicCard is compatible with drives big and small. The only thing actually stored on the MagicCard is the algorithm used to encode data, which means that you can actually swap out different MagicCards in the same system. If, for example, your MagicCard were to die, you could pop a new one in without having to worry about the integrity of the encoded data on your hard drive. If data is encoded with one MagicCard, it can be decoded with another.
In some ways, the MagicCard works a lot like Ghost or DriveImage, because it lets you take snapshots of your hard drive and restore back to that point. However, there are a few key differences that in some cases make all the difference in the world.
Where drive imaging software takes hours, the MagicCard takes minutes, or even seconds to create or restore a snapshot. How's that for a reduction in downtime?
The MagicCard can be set to automatically restore the contents of a drive on a preset schedule that can vary from time-based criteria like restoring every day, to simply restoring data each time the machine is rebooted. MagicCard's makers recommended using the MagicCard in this automatic mode, but if you're more daring, you can set the MagicCard to "manual," which lets you choose when you take and restore drive snapshots. There are some problems with the manual mode, but before we get into them, let's take a look at the card itself.
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