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REVIEW: SFR visKeeper Version 3 for Pocket PC
Posted by Heinz Burkart - on Wednesday, 22.03.06 - 08:57:12 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 11868x
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SFR has recently released the v3 of visKeeper. visKeeper allows you to store all your data securely on your Pocket PC. The past versions of visKeeper impressed me because of their simplicity. visKeeper stored all data securely and easily without having a long feature list. But this is what some users have criticized. Everyone wants to secure a specific kind of data and that with a special kind of solution. Therefore the new version 3 was eagerly awaited. This test will show whether visKeeper could satisfy the different user needs while maintaining the simple handling.

visKeeper 3 is available in the versions for Pocket PC and PC. Version 2 was also available for the Palm platform but SFR have stopped the development for the Palm platform in Version 3 (More information on the website of SFR:

visKeeper is available since the Pocket PC 2002 and thus this new version can be used by users with older devices. Of course visKeeper supports the new OS Windows Mobile 5.

visKeeper protects the data with the patented visual Key technology. The password is entered by clicking on certain points on a picture in a defined sequence. New in version 3 is the additional possibility of using a text or PIN password.

In this test the versions for PC and Pocket PC where used. The installation can only be performed via ActiveSync on the PC. The professional version, which includes visKeeper for Pocket PC and PC, installs first the PC program and then starts the Pocket PC installation.

First Start of visKeeper
On the first start of visKeeper a short instruction screen is seen (the pictures below shows the Pocket PC version in VGA resolution):

visKeeper Tutorial BeginvisKeeper Tutorial Password 1

Afterwards a standard safe is opened containing short instructions on the most relevant topics. The picture below shows the PC version:

visKeeper Table Definition

Data Management
Data in visKeeper are filed in a table structure like in data bases. The fields of the tables are user defined. The picture below shows a definition of email accounts. The following fields where defined:

  • User Name
  • Password
  • Pop Server
  • SMTP Server
  • Commend

These fields can be expanded easily since the table definitions are stored as templates:

visKeeper Table Definition

To enter new data you choose a template and fill out the previously defined fields.

visKeeper Table Content

The individual entries can be sorted in a directory like structure. Herewith you can create deep directory structures.

visKeeper Tree

On the Pocket PC the data can not be displayed as on the PC because of the smaller display. visKeeper gives you the ability to display the data in a preview or on the entire screen.

In this view you can also edit your data.

The memo field is new in visKeeper version 3. Memo is a field which permits you to enter anything you like. This enables visKeeper to be as flexible as possible. Everything which does not fit in a given structure can easily be entered in the memo field.

Every data entry, directory or data, can be provided with an individual icon. Over 60 are built in. If this is not enough for you, you can add your own. The next picture shows a small selection of the built in icons.

visKeeper Icons

Data Search
Most important in a program like visKeeper is a powerful data search function. What is the use of entering data if you can't find them again? visKeeper 3 is now more flexible and structured than its predecessors. Thus a lot of users will enter more data than previously. The search function is therefore very important.

Fortunately the search function in visKeeper is very powerful. The search includes not only the data fields but also the memo fields.

In the next example I am searching for "Arne" on the PC version. The search function on the Pocket PC is as powerful as on the PC version as the pictures below depict.

visKeeper Search PC

This time I entered "club meeting". The words "club meeting" are also found in the memo field. Therefore you can use the memo field as an index.

visKeeper Search PPCvisKeeper Search PPC

As mentioned before, visKeeper is also available in a PC version. The PC version is above all recommended for users who have to enter a great amount of data. This is still faster and more comfortable than on a Pocket PC. Therefore it is important how the data are transferred from one device to the other. SFR implemented in visKeeper an easy way. They simply synchronize the whole file (safe) with ActiveSync. However, this means that the last change wins. It is not possible to change data entries on both devices at the same time. You have to get used to entering data either on the PC or the Pocket PC. Just synchronize thereafter.

Many will view this as a disadvantage of visKeeper. This was also a hot topic in the German visKeeper forum. Some users wished synchronization on field level as is the case with the PIM data in Outlook. Especially in this point experienced users notice the disadvantage. How often has this automatism in Outlook and ActiveSync failed? Doubled entries are the result. If this is not detected immediately, data inconsistency is the consequence. In most cases you no longer know which data entry is the most current.

Because of this I am more than glad the visKeeper always synchronizes the whole file. The intelligence resides in this case in the users head and not in the program code. This way exactly what the user wants always happens and not what the program means.

Additional Functions
There are a lot more functions and settings in addition to what is shown here. Especially the appearance of the data entries in visKeeper can be individualized. It is possible to change the font, color, style and a lot more. The manual provides detailed information. Or just try it out.

Important for a data safe is the support. visKeeper stores confidential data which could cause a lot of trouble if lost. SFR offers the usual support email, but also a German and an English forum. Normally your request will be answered in 24 h.

visKeeper allows you to create as many safes as you like. Each safe has the extension .VKS. To open a specific safe just double click the safe file. This is valid for the PC and the Pocket PC version. With this procedure the safe can be moved to any location or you just create as many backups as you like. Another option is to split your data in several safes.

In order to increase data safety even more, Pocket PC 2003 users can move their safe into the ROM. Therewith the data are safe when the battery is drained. Unfortunately ActiveSync can only synchronize data in the "MyDocuments" folder. In order to solve this problem, you can use the freeware program MobSync. With MobSync you can synchronize any folder even outside of "MyDocuments". Windows Mobile 5 Users do not need to worry about an empty battery.

For People who like CAB installations: The .CAB file of visKeeper resides in the directory …ActiveSync\visKeeper.

Data Safety
Although visKeeper stores your data safely a regular backup of the safe is recommended. As is the case with all data, file errors can occur due to faulty memory cards or program errors. One of the known backup programs is sufficient if the safe is in the internal memory of the device. Otherwise just copy the safe regularly to your PC or a memory card.

Final Conclusion

visKeeper in version 3 has become more powerful. Especially the memo field and the templates offer a lot of more functionality. Despite all of these new functions SFR has managed to keep the handling of visKeeper as simple as in the previous version. Important for me is the availability of a PC version. I prefer to enter larger amounts of data on the PC, even though I enjoy working with my Pocket PC.

Because a test version of visKeeper is available for download, you can test the program before buying it. If you like the product, just buy it and enter the registration code. A new installation is not needed. I suggest the professional version since it includes both PC and Pocket PC versions.

visKeeper professional costs US$ 37.79 / GBP 21.88 while visKeeper for Pocket PC only costs US$ 25.17 / GBP 14.58.

The upgrades from the previous version to the professional version costs US$ 18.86 / 10.92 Euro while the Pocket PC only version is available for US$ 12.55 / 7.27 Euro.

visKeeper is recommended for all those who are looking for a program to keep their data safe and simple.

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