FastBack Plus 1.0 for DOS, circa 1987.
Original author(s)Fifth Generation Systems
Initial release1987; 34 years ago (1987)
Operating systemDOS, Windows, Mac OS
Available inEnglish
TypeBackup software

FastBack[1] is a software application developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s for backing up IBM PC and Macintosh computers. It was originally written by Fifth Generation Systems, a company located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[2] When the company wanted to expand into the Apple market they purchased and rebranded a product from TouchStone Software Corporation.

The original FastBack was unique in the industry in that it was able to read from a computer hard drive and write to the floppy drive simultaneously using the full capability of the dual-channel DMA chip found in personal computers of that time. When combined with compression techniques[2] and a proprietary disk format that stored 720KB of data on each 360KB 5¼-inch floppy disk (only in 1.2MB drives), this made FastBack one of the fastest PC backup programs at the time.[3]

Version history[]

By 1984, FastBack (Version 5.13) was already on the market.[3]

In 1987, FastBack Plus 1.0 for DOS was released. This version, or subsequent DOS versions, was released with an unconditional guarantee against harm resulting from use of the software in the terms and conditions. The guarantee contrasted itself with industry norms.

In 1991, FastBack Plus 3.02 for DOS was released.[4]

In February 1992 the company released FastBack Plus 1.0 for Windows, written for PCs running Windows 3.0.[5]

FastBack Plus 2.0 was included with Novell DOS 7 in 1994.

FastBack II was at one point bundled with the "Drive 2.4" floppy disk drive marketed by Kennect Technology.[6]

By 1992, FastBack had been purchased by Symantec Corp., who went on to bundle the application as "Norton Fastback" through version 3 of Norton Utilities for the Macintosh. However, by version 4, Norton Fastback was dropped from Norton's software utility package, bringing an end to FastBack.


The New York Times wrote about the standard DOS (MSBACKUP) utility, that it "cannot automatically awaken itself at 3 A.M. to make a full backup onto a quarter-inch cassette drive."[7]


BYTE in 1989 listed Fastback Plus as among the "Distinction" winners of the BYTE Awards, stating that "if you have a hard drive, we recommend this package".[8]


  1. ^ Lewis, Peter H. (June 7, 1988). "Backup Copy Of Hard Disk Averts Loss". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Lewis, Peter H. (July 25, 1989). "Personal Computers - Of Inevitable Sudden Death And Backing Up Your Files". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "The Great Floppy Backup Shoot-Out". December 21, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2020. Fastest backup: Fastback v5.13 (1984)
  4. ^ Bigley, Tom (September 16, 1991). "Latest Fastback Plus won't let you down". InfoWorld: 81. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Bigley, Tom (April 6, 1992). "Review:Fastback Plus offers reliable backup under Windows". InfoWorld: 121. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  6. ^ "TidBITS#51/Drive_2.4". TidBITS. 1991. Archived from the original on March 15, 2007. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Lewis, Peter H. (January 4, 1994). "It's 1994. So Where Are Your Data?". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "The BYTE Awards". BYTE. January 1989. p. 322. Retrieved September 14, 2020 – via archive.org.

External links[]