Selkie Quick File Transfer v3.1

Reviewed by: Mark Goldstein, November 2007
Published by: Tugboat Enterprises
Requires: Any networked Windows PCs, compatible with all Windows versions capable of supporting CD creation including Windows 3.11(!), Windows 95 (a & b), and Windows 98/Me/2000/XP & Vista; a CD or DVD burner
MSRP: US$29.99

Networks are ubiquitous. I haven't visited a home, SOHO or business of any kind in the past two years that didn't have some sort of computer network up and running. Networks just kind of crept up on us mainly through the advent of inexpensive routers, devices that can be used to share a single Internet connection among many computers at a particular location and also to create simple peer-to-peer networks in home, SOHO and small business environments. With the rise of network ubiquity comes the whole idea that everyone connected to a network can often see what everyone else is doing, especially in the absence of adequate network security such as properly restrictive permissions. Like everything else in the technological world, easy is rarely easy, so as long as networks are here to stay, file and data security is an issue of concern. And as long as file and data security is an issue, software will be needed to ensure that files and data are adequately protected. Selkie Quick File Transfer is a utility program designed to provide secure transfer of files and data of all kinds from one PC on a network to another.

Selkie Quick File Transfer can be used in three modes. First, you can use the boot CD created when Selkie Quick File Transfer is first installed to start a networked PC and then securely move or copy files from it to another PC on the network. Second, in the rare case that a PC from which you want to transfer files is not networked, registered Selkie users can obtain a special network cable that is crossover wired in order to connect directly to another PC via the built in network interface cards (NIC). A non-networked situation is very strange indeed these days, but Tugboat wisely decided to toss a crossover cable into the deal to cover the eventuality nonetheless. The third mode is the standard program launch. Open the Selkie Quick File Transfer desktop program, choose target and destination computer on the network, select the files you want to copy or move and that's about it.

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So what's so special about Selkie? Basically, it's the "secure" part of the file transfer that makes this utility unique. Once you launch Selkie Quick File Transfer in boot mode or desktop mode, it essentially locks a pair of PCs together in a secure connection which prevents anyone from snooping on the activity. Perhaps more important, Selkie Quick File Transfer is able to resume interrupted file transfers thereby preventing network instabilities from corrupting or otherwise destabilizing the file transfer.

We tried Selkie Quick File Transfer on three different networks and on one PC-to-PC file transfer using our own crossover cable. We also used Selkie Quick File Transfer to copy all of the user files (Outlook email personal folders, My Documents and so on) from an older workstation to a new replacement PC. Selkie Quick File Transfer worked smoothly and cleanly every time and there's not much more to say about the testing and active business and home use trials. File transfer speed is limited only by the inherent speed of the network, hard drives, RAM and interfaces — in other words, limited only by the hardware. The product is Windows-only at this time, so we could hope for future versions to address U3 SmartDrive, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems and file system compatibility, as well as automatic access to USB keys and drives attached to networked Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

Cons: Even in relatively simple utilities it's possible for the developers to miss some basic issues. The installation dialog is slightly confusing at the boot CD burning stage, leaving you to wonder if you're supposed to click a mode button or click the "Next" button. The actual instruction text is unclear and somebody at Tugboat has to run this thing past a UI designer in order to do some minor tweaks which will make usage even more intuitive. Although Selkie Quick File Transfer is currently marketed as v3, it's actually a brand new product spun off Tugboat's Selkie Rescue Data Recovery software, so the v3 designation seems to have more to do with the underlying Selkie engine. We encountered a range of incompatibilities with off-brand CD burners on Windows Vista systems, which meant that we had to manually burn the boot CD — irritating, but not the end of the world. The main 'gotcha' seems to be a problem with some antivirus software, especially Norton 360 and McAfee Suite 2008, so we strongly recommend that you reduce the potential for crashes and messed up installations by turning off all antivirus software before installation and before using the installed software. For the record, background antivirus and antispyware monitoring processes are frequently accused of being the source of a wide range of productivity and utility program problems and we really wish there was a better way.

Pros: Selkie Quick File Transfer works well, which is more important than anything else. Secure file transfers across comparatively non-secure networks are quick and easy. Adding some sort of scheduling routine using Microsoft Scheduler (which is built into all versions of Windows) turns Selkie Quick File Transfer into a handy, secure file and data backup tool. Emergency backups of sensitive data in a wide range of circumstances across mixed networks, nodes and segments are quick and easy. Securely transferring files across suspect networks or across busy networks with sketchy permissions security is a breeze. Purchasing a utility of this kind doesn't really depend on how often you actually need to perform secure file transfers — it's just good insurance. Because file backup through Selkie Quick File Transfer and scheduling (via Windows Scheduler) can be quickly combined, the utility remains versatile beyond its original design. You need it when you need it and it's better to have it on hand, collecting dust, than it is to run around trying to buy it in the midst of an emergency. Facing emergencies or even recurring needs without the right tools is a needlessly frustrating effort that can easily be remedied with Selkie Quick File Transfer. The excellent Selkie Quick File Transfer Trial Version is available to try free for 30 days. Recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



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