Almost every PC user knows about the importance of making regular data backups — often from their own, unfortunate personal experience. But, due to laziness and technical difficulties, only a small percentage of users actually performs regular maintenance other than updating antivirus software. The Windows IceBox is a convenient solution to this problem that plugs into your USB port and immediately freezes changes on your selected hard drive partitions, virtually eliminating the need for maintenance.

Once plugged in, the IceBox saves all created, modified or deleted files into a dedicated space, leaving the originals intact. This way, any damage caused by viruses, accidental file deletions or the like will be gone and everything restored to its initial state once the PC is restarted.

You can also specify any number of folders in your HD that are exempt from freezing, allowing you to save your documents or install applications permanently like you would normally do on your hard drive.

While the idea is not completely new, the IceBox makes it very easy to implement and doesn't subtract precious RAM from your system, also allowing you to take a snapshot of your hard drive from whichever initial state you prefer.

For these reasons, the IceBox also looks like an excellent solution for keeping your computer clean while letting someone else use it. The only real risk appears to be that of accidentally saving files into "frozen" folders without realizing that they will be deleted at restart.

Of course, even using the IceBox properly doesn't eliminate the need for regular backups as it doesn't protect from HD failures, but it will certainly overcome many of the reasons why data is usually lost or otherwise damaged on a personal computer.

The Windows IceBox is available for USD$18.99; Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista and a recommended 3 GB minimum of free hard disk space to store the temporary files are required for the system to run properly.

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