I’m also no fan of ActiveSync. Frankly, when it comes to simple transferring of files like pictures and music from one to the other I just pop the microSD card out of the phone and plug it into my laptop. It’s actually faster.
However, if you wish to backup your phone data including contacts, calendars, applications, configuration and settings, then you should use Sprite Backup. My colleague Nate has written about the previous version (5.1) in this article. The newest version out is Sprite Backup 6.1 and it looks like the quality continues to be high.
The PC installer has English, German, French, Spanish and Italian language versions of the software. It installs Sprite Explorer and Sprite Backup. For the phone theres a nice cab file that makes instaling easy as pie. I prefer cab files. That’s just me. Sprite Backup has full Windows Mobile 6 support, and works on Windows Mobile 5 just fine.
As soon as I installed the cab file onto my phone it lets you use it for a number of days as a trial or, if your have your authorization number, just type it in and you are set to go. See the animation I made from screen grabs. It let me pick out exactly which files I wanted backed up, where I wished the Backup to be stored and then proceeded to do the deed! There’s no screen grabs of the actual backup because it resets the phone. It creates a Temp folder in the saved location (the storage card in my case). And the backup file is an exe – compressed and self-extracting so I can restore my phone data at any time. If your phone has Windows Mobile 6 then you can take advantage of the WM6 storage encryption feature. Now you can backup to an encrypted SD card.
I made screen grabs of many of the features of Sprite Backup on the phone which you can see from this anim. The features are duplicated on the program installed on the PC if you wish to handle the process from there. You have control over when backup happen, where, which files get backed up and how they get restored. You can even be notified from your phone when there’s an upgrade to the Sprinte software. Even more importantly, you have various options when dealing with an ROM upgrade/change. Sprite Backup 6.1 gives you three upgrade mode options. ROM option restores files between the same type of device which have different ROM’s. Device Options is used to restore files across devices and ROM’s and Safe option is used if your ROM upgrade results in a non-booting phone. It’s the “Oops” Option. In any case, Sprinte senses the ROM update and will suggest what you should do about your backups.
Sprite Backup 6.1 comes in either lite and full versions. I say, go for the gold!