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Mirra in Action - Backup and Restore

Once you're installed and registered, you can use Mirra's three main features:

  • File Backup and Restoration
  • Remote Access
  • File Sharing

Before I describe the first two bullet points, I want to take a minute to focus on the third. You might think that "file sharing" means that Mirra can provide networked, shared storage space for network users, but it can't. The only files Mirra will hold are those that already exist on one of its client PCs and that are transferred to Mirra via its client application. This is a subtle point, and one that might be missed by prospective buyers. But make no mistake that acting as a plain NAS device is not among this "digital file genie"'s wishes to grant.

The other thing that Mirra doesn't provide is access to stored files via either normal Windows, Appleshare or SMB-based networking. The only way to get to files stored on Mirra is via the WinXP / 2000-only Mirra client application or its web-based remote access and file sharing features. This also means that you can't stream or access audio, image or video files directly from Mirra either.

What Mirra does very well, though, is automatic backup. Once you tell it what to save via its Backup and Restore function (Figure 3), Mirra quietly and automatically takes care of backup chores.

Mirra client application backup screen

Figure 3: Mirra client application backup screen

Figure 3, by the way, shows the new "progress bar" in its detached mode which, though somewhat largish, is thoughtfully displayed semi-transparently. I really found this bar useful during the initial backup - which can take quite awhile if you are backing up a lot of data - so that I could check in on what exactly was happening.

Even though all interaction with the backed-up files is done via the Mirra application, the originals can be freely accessed by normal Windows methods. Backed-up files and folders are marked with a little red Mirra stamp and up to eight versions can be restored via the client app's File History screen (Figure 4).

Mirra file history

Figure 4: Mirra file history

You can either restore a version to its original location or copy it to a different place. Note that even though the restore option doesn't have a confirmation step, you can just go back and restore another version if you make a mistake.

A couple of points are worth noting for the Backup and Restore feature. Any backed-up folders can be accessed by other local Mirra users by default. You have the choice of password protecting backed-up folders, but only when you first define them. If you later decide you want to add backup folder password protection, you'll need to delete the folder and re-select it. This isn't a big deal for a small folder, but could take awhile for a large folder of jpeg images, for instance.

You should also note that you have no control over the frequency or timing of backups. The only way to control when files are backed up would be to back up a particular folder, then copy files to it when you want them backed up.

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