Pirillo’s wrong again

You’d think someone had given Chris Pirillo a Super Atomic Wedgie, judging by the amount of yipping in this post.* He’s bemoaning the fact that Windows Vista has a feature that keeps backups of all deleted data files but doesn’t allow you access to those automatic backups if you’re using Vista Home Basic or Home Premium editions. (For a more complete description of the issue, see this post from Dave Methvin, a longtime friend and trusted colleague, which was Chris’s jumping-off point.)

Anyway, in mid-rant, with the subtlety and savoir faire that characterizes everything from Pirillo World Headquarters, Chris tosses a gratuitous insult my direction:

My guess is that Ed Bottand the other Windows apologists will have a completely logical explanation for this “feature” before too long. After all, why would a Home Basic user ever want to recover data? It’s a well known fact that Home Basic and Home Premium files aren’t as important as Ultimate files.

Who are these other apologists? Did I miss a meeting? Do we have t-shirts?

Actually, I’ve been saying for as long as I can remember that the existence of three separate backup programs in Vista is stupid and user-hostile. What Chris doesn’t mention (probably because he was too busy measuring the thickness of borders in the Backup dialog box), is that Home Basic users have it even worse than he thinks. Although they can perform a backup manually, they can’t schedule a file-based backup, so they can’t have their files automatically protected. Home Premium users can. And Ultimate users get the ability to do image-based backups.

Nothing, but nothing will buy you user loyalty like saving someone’s ass. Microsoft knows that, so whoever made the design decision to cripple the backup utility for home users was not thinking clearly at all, and the decision they wound up making (bare-bones backup in Home Basic, slightly improved backup in Home Premium, full access to all features in Ultimate) was bad for Microsoft and bad for its customers.

Hey, Chris, you have my e-mail address. In fact, you even have my phone number. Next time you could ask the question instead of assuming you know the answer. Hey, you could even use The Google(TM), where you would have found me saying this back on October 31, 2004 (I highlighted the interesting part for you):

The Windows XP Backup program is installed by default with Windows XP Pro. Based on user surveys, Microsoft decided (incorrectly, in my opinion) that anyone using Windows XP Home Edition wouldn’t be interested in the Backup program. That’s why you have to manually install it.

Now go back up and read what Chris wrote and compare it to what I wrote, two and a half years earlier.

Ironically, the Backup tools in Vista Home Basic are better than those in XP Home, and the ones in Home Premium are better still. But neither one can hold a candle to the full-featured Backup program in Vista Ultimate, and some third-party developers do even better still (Acronis True Image Home is my current favorite).

And for added irony, Chris (who shows signs of developing at least a small Mac dependency if not an outright addiction) throws in this reference to a feature in Apple’s upcoming Leopard:

To be completely fair, Time Machine only works in *ONE* version of OS X. Then again, there’s only one version for users to buy.

Oh, those pesky verb tenses. Chris, you mean there’s only one version OS X that Time Machine will work in and only one that users will be able to buy. In October, now that Leopard has been delayed till nearly a full year after Vista’s debut.

If I’m going to play the apologist role, I guess I should say, “Sorry about that.”

* I’ve updated the link, which broke some time ago when Chris redid his website. He also, for some reason, removed the dates from every post. This one was originally from April 10, 2007.

7 thoughts on “Pirillo’s wrong again

  1. The “full-featured” backup program in Ultimate is in some ways still so crippled that I have to engineer idiotic end-runs around its quirks. Correct me if I’m wrong — and I would love to be wrong about this — but apparently there’s no way to selectively exclude a given directory from being backed up when you choose a drive, just file types. I have a directory on my C: drive that consists of virtual machine images, but I don’t want that backed up automatically; I handle that data separately. The end run I engineered was to move those files into the C:\Windows directory (in their own folder), since the file-based backup tool doesn’t touch the Windows folder at all as far as I know. But if there’s another way to do such a thing without shuttling things around or changing work habits, I want to know!

  2. Also, re: Methvin’s article (he having been a former co-worker of mine at WinMag and a trusted colleague as well): I’m wondering if it would be possible for some enterprising software author to create a utility that would allow Home Basic and Premium users access to those shadow copies?

  3. But this feature is still running on the Home edition. Even though you can’t get at the previous versions of files (unless you fork over the dough for Ultimate edition)? If so, then it’s using lots of hard disk space and CPU cycles to do something which you may never use?

  4. Diego,

    The System Restore feature is running to create system snapshots, which are in fact very uiseful in Home Basic edition. The space that volume shadow copies use is always surrendered if it’s needed for data, and I don’t think the snapshot really uses that much in the way of CPU.

  5. I wonder if the situation will arise where someone corrupts some files on their machine and calls Microsoft…

    User: “Hi, I’ve lost some files. Is there anything I can do?”
    Microsoft: “Sure, you can get back previous versions of those files.”
    User: all excited “Great! How do I do that?!?”
    Microsoft: “Pay X dollars to upgrade to Vista Ultimate”
    User: frowning

    A mild form of extortion? 🙂

  6. Pirillo has been slipping since about 2003. Imo, it’s been more ego tripping than content providing on his part. Nonetheless, he has lately had to go begging at LIfehacker’s door for exposure. And speaking of exposure…. the chest rental thing was just disgusting.

    Also, why is he b*tching about Vista at all??? I thought he was going to stick with XP?

    Thanks Ed.

Comments are closed.