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As is increasingly the case these days, there’s no paper manual but there is a PDF supplied on the driver CD. The OneTouch software enables you to make a number of adjustments. You can adjust power settings or even reprogram the button on the front to launch the application of your choice. Doing this however, won’t affect any scheduled backups. There’s an option to run a diagnostic, though there’s no on-screen indication of what this is doing.
The backup software included is Dantz Retrospect HD. Dantz is a big name in backup for small to medium sized businesses. The version included looks like a cut down version of its main software and keeps things simple. You can choose to create a non-compressed duplicate of a hard disk or selected parts of it, or create a compressed backup. The wizard gives you the option to backup your entire drive, to choose individual files and folders or choose by type such as picture, music and movies. The software creates restore points selectable via a calendar grid; a process familiar to anyone who’s ever used Windows XP’s system restore. One issue however, is that the drive explorer window can’t be expanded forcing you to scroll up and down, which is a pain.
You can choose to backup immediately or go for scheduled backups. When we performed a test backup there was no on screen indicator as to its progress which was somewhat disconcerting.
One impressive feature is the DriveLock feature. This enables you to lock the drive using a password. It has to be at least six digits long and contain a number and the software gives you the option to set up a reminder. I tested this feature by plugging the password locked drive into another machine. Windows recognised the drive in Device Manager, but did not assign it a drive letter. However, when I installed the software and tried again, I was then prompted for the password. It’s a great feature and ensures that if your drive is stolen or accessed when you're not there, it will be very difficult for prying eyes to see the contents. Only the whole drive can be locked this way however, as opposed to particular folders.
To test performance I installed the aforementioned Belkin FireWire 800 card, in order to ensure I could see the difference between the three types of connections and used the same heavy duty file transfers that Riyad uses to test DVD Writers. These consist of a folder with two very large multi-gigabyte video files (best to test sustained transfer speeds), another folder with files of mixed sizes and a third full of images.