PowerQuest – SecondChance review

real-time disaster recovery tool
Photo of PowerQuest – SecondChance
£50 + VAT

If there’s one thing that Windows doesn’t manage particularly well, it’s uninstallation. Or de-installation. Or application removal, or whatever you prefer to call it; getting rid of programs that have outlived their usefulness. Using the built-in Windows installation tracker can sometimes result in ‘droppings’ being left behind, whether they’re configuration files, data files or perhaps even misplaced DLLs.

One option is to go for a third party application removal program, but SecondChance doesn’t quite fit into this category. It does have some features of such a program, but it’s also similar to ConfigSafe, a tool that was designed to make regular backups of important system files to allow recovery in the event of a system crash. In fact, SecondChance is the best of both worlds.

After installation, the user is given the chance to create a ‘Checkpoint’, which is like a snapshot of the current status of the Windows installation. This includes the registry, various configuration files and important directory listings and files. Regular Checkpoints can be scheduled (one a day, for example), or the user can create them manually.

So far so good, but all that’s happened is you’ve lost a bit of disk space. But in the event of any configuration problems – perhaps the installation of a new driver or application has caused major problems – you can load SecondChance, select a Checkpoint and load it. Then your PC will be restored to the way it was when the checkpoint was created. Even if your system is so trashed that it won’t boot into Windows, you can boot to DOS from a floppy and restore the last good Checkpoint from there.

Just as you can save your position in a computer game, so SecondChance allows you to do the same with your PC. It doesn’t back up all files, of course, since that would require too much time and space. Instead it keeps track of deleted files and directories, storing them safely for future restoration instead of deleting or over-writing them. This can consume a fair amount of disk space in itself, but you can set limits on the amount of space used for Checkpoints. Once that limit is reached, SecondChance will, with your permission, delete the oldest Checkpoint.

Company: PowerQuest

Contact: 0118 975 5955


Verdict
A clever alternative to conventional uninstaller packages, SecondChance takes the concept pioneered by programs like ConfigSafe one step further. It's not a substitute for a decent backup routine, but it does provide a good second line of defence against unruly software, driver clashes or plain old user ineptitude. It has particular potential for corporate IT departments looking to reduce the number of 'I did nothing and then it died' complaints.