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Running Beta software


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A few posts lately have complained that the latest beta of ISD is buggy and causing problems. Gang, beta releases are, by definition, buggy and unstable. The reason a developer releases a beta app in the first place is to get it out of the lab and onto more PCs, exposing it to real world conditions. Putting the program into the hands of normal people is a guaranteed, surefire way to expose the limitations of, and problems with the software. In return, the developer usually wants to know of all problems encountered so he/she can fix and improve the software. If you choose to run beta software, you’re essentially agreeing to risk your data, your time, and your sanity, in order to assist the developer in testing the software. If you’re willing to take that risk, at least take a few extra steps to protect your system. And yes, I learned these the hard way. :neutral:



For registry or operating system cleanup/optimization apps…

1. Create a system restore point. Often an issue inadvertently raised by a beta app will rear its head immediately as, or just after you run the software; a simple restore may set you right.


2. Do a complete backup of the registry. If a system restore alone doesn’t take care of it, that plus a restoration of the registry usually will.


3. Review the items the software proposes to “cleanup” or “optimize.” If you’re not familiar enough with the registry or operating system to really know what you’re looking at you probably shouldn’t be running a beta program in the first place. Better to find and use a known good, known safe application.


4. Create a restore point and a fresh registry backup every time you make significant changes to your system. Yes, it’s tedious, but so is reinstalling Windows.



For HDD maintenance/defrag apps…

1. Create a system restore point and do a complete backup of the registry. Same rationale as above. Depending on the type of damage a system and/or registry restore might get you back up and running.


2. Backup the drive you’ll be working on. As in create an image of the entire drive. That is, unless you really don’t mind losing everything on the drive.


3. Don’t work on your boot drive until you’re certain the software is safe. If the app goes south on a data drive you can often recover at least some of the content. If it takes your boot drive down you can’t do squat. (Actually, if you backed up your drive per step 2 you can completely recover either your boot or data drives, it's just easier to recover the data drive.)


4. Always run in manual mode until your certain the software is safe. You want to be able to explicitly control what the software is doing and when. You definitely don’t want beta software firing up in the middle of the night and automatically defragging all 4 hard drives.


5. Create a fresh disk image whenever recreating new content is more hassle than making another image. Yes, it’s tedious…

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I quite agree with the explanation.


As an experienced beta tester I have know this for ages. But what's pretty strange: 4.0 beta was working fine but 4.01 beta shuts itself down.



It would be nice to have a quick feedback and not wait for ages. That's what's inacceptable.


A beta software is bound to have problems but I don't understand why I did not get any feedback for my error reports I sent in.


So as a consequence I am not going to send any in.

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solbjerg, samr & enoskype: Thanks guys. It's just that so many people really don't understand the risk they're taking when they run a beta. People really need to think twice about it and then take precautions.


MacPeter: For what it's worth, I wasn't talking about your specific post. I thought you made reasonable points. If a developer is going to release a beta in order to improve the final product, then that developer must be committed to communicating with and working actively with the community in order to make the whole process bearable. Frankly, with all the major issues with 4.01 I'm surprised Newton, or at least someone from IOBit hasn't been more active. But, just because they don't respond doesn't mean your input is useless; the more data they get the better.


I've run 4.01 a couple of times with no problems, but I'm thinking I'm gonna hold off until we hear more about what's going on.


By the way...how do you like Sandboxie? I've been thinking about trying it but just haven't gotten around to it.

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I've grown so used to software installs that automatically trigger the System Restore function, and so comfortable with IObit, that I just went ahead and removed the earlier version of the defragger , per the instructions. When I went to the folder where I keep backups of programs, I found I had neglected to make a backup of the earlier program. I need to revisit my good computing practices.


Can someone send to me a file of the earlier, working version, please?o

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This is absolute bogus.

It's not true that beta versions in general contain errors. Look for example at Foobar2000 (a music program). It's for a long time in beta, and yes, there might be errors but if there are any, they're only minor.

ISD is a program which is from the beginning just not doing what it should do. It is concerned good programming practice that old bugs are solved before new features are added.

In this case the developer appears to completely ignore most error reports or complaints and keeps messing around. I've downloaded the program again and still the same bugs are present. It still won't startup properly and crashes immediately. So now about two weeks after the initial release the developer hasn't done anything to handle the problems and taken into account the rate at which new versions are released (about once every three months) it is reasonable to expect that the problems will not be solved soon.


To test a defragger that does what it should do take a look at: http://www.dirms.com

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hey! I've been stickied! I've never been stickied before...I'm giddy. :-P Guess I'll have to get on the stick and post a revision to include MacPeter's use of a sand-boxed environment for testing.


Thanks MacPeter. I'm trying to get up to speed with SandBoxie...pretty cool.

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CORRECT: A beta version is a way a company tests its "next great utility", but you put your PC at risk by using it, (or any beta program). In this case, IObit's defragmentation utility.

NOTE: Each subsequent beta version is not necessarily BETTER than it's predecessor. In many instances a "newer" beta version is a completely different version, deliberately leaving out previous features considered "proven & reliable”, or, “a bad idea", simply to test (on OUR pc's) a few new algorithms. Eventually the developers extract from each beta version all the "good things" for the final product. This then is often offered as a “free trial” download, but to have all the ‘bells-n-whistles’ you have to BUY the full version.

TESTING done in my labs indicate it's not unusual for other programs to show a much different percentage defragmentation compared to IObit's. Their defragmentation percentage is reported as much better than the true results. They have a lot of bugs to work out yet. (On your PC!)


RECOMMENDATION: Uninstall IObit Defrag and do NOT use it until the beta versions are gone. Wait for the hopefully safer and final commercial version.

PS: Those bug report pop-ups? Don’t expect to ever receive a reply; it’s just not done in the beta testing industry. The most you can expect is a User's Forum, since most people do not bother to send in th e bug reports. All they want to know from those reports is how severely their cute little program has screwed up you computer. . .

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  • 9 months later...

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