Backup software is all well and good for the latest version of your files, but what if you want to revert to an earlier copy of a file? Some backup tools do include selected older versions of files, but sometimes the jump between two versions can be too great to be practical. What you need is a tool that can not only back up different versions of the same file, but give you complete control over how often a version is saved, and how many versions of that file are kept without filling up your hard drive.
A number of dedicated file-revisioning tools exist, but one of the best has to be FileHamster. It downloads as a fully functional trial version of FileHamster Basic, but reverts to the cutdown Free version (complete with frequent nags to upgrade) when the trial expires.
The Free version lets you watch specific files or folders for changes – as files change, the older version is backed up to a drive or folder of your choice. You can attach notes to each revision to help you identify a document’s evolution, helping you roll back the changes where needed quickly and easily.
By default, the program backs up every single change – that’s fine for files you save infrequently, but if drive space is at a premium, or you’re watching files like Access databases, which save every little change automatically, you can choose exactly how often these changes are recorded, plus put a limit on how many revisions are stored.
After installation the program provides a first-run wizard, which takes you through the process of setting up your first backup. You can set up multiple jobs, each with their own timescales and preferences. If you want more features, consider upgrading to the Basic version (US$29.95), which allows you to create filters and enjoy improved networking and removable drive support among others.
Essential software if you frequently find yourself wanting to roll back changes to your documents