With hard drive capacities increasing at an exponential rate backing up your PC has become an increasingly difficult task. As far as capacities go, Hitachi is in the lead at the moment with its recently announced 500GB drive. The Seagate 400GB Pushbutton Backup external hard drive might not be able to back up the Hitachi monster drive, but it should be ample for most of us.
The drive provides a simple method to back up your entire hard disk. Sure, you can set up your PC in a RAID configuration, but that means that the data is locked away inside your PC. This is fine as long as you don’t have to take it with you or require a safe copy of your data away from your PC. You could just use a memory key but for very large amounts of data an external hard drive is the only viable option.
Thanks to its USB 2.0 and FireWire interface the drive can be used with both PCs and Macs out of the box, with backup software for both systems supplied on the CD. However, you’ll have to reformat the drive if you’ve got a Mac.
Using the Seagate as an ordinary removable disk is easy. Plug in the power adaptor and your data cable of choice, flick the power switch on the back and the drive pops up in Windows as a hard drive. From there it’s possible just to drag and drop files across. To test this I copied across 5.32GB of data consisting of mixed files sizes from my desktop PC using the USB 2.0 connection. This took five minutes 11 seconds. The limiting factor is clearly the USB or Firewire interface but at round about 1Gig per minute the transfer speed is reasonable.
The design of the drive casing is not quite up there with the aluminium clad external Maxtor drives, but the silver and black design is as stylish as a plastic case can be. The drive can either sit on your desk horizontally on top of a rubber ring that attaches to its side or it can be mounted vertically using a supplied stand. The power and data LED’s are blue and the push button backup button is surrounded by a yellow LED.
While I was happy with the transfer speed of drag-and-drop, a full backup of my PC in the office took substantially longer. Using the supplied BounceBack Express backup application from CMS, the process, involving 52GB of data, took close to seven hours. The Seagate drive now contains an almost exact copy of everything I have on my desktop PC. Yes you read that correctly – an almost exact copy – certain temporary files would not copy across, nor would some files that were in use.