Why do we avoid doing things, even important things we know we should be doing… like backing up our data? There are lots of reasons (some personal, perhaps) but there are a few common ones – if it’s time-consuming, difficult, or confusing.
Enter the new external hard drives from Clickfree with “smart” software installed on them. As soon as you plug one into your PC it automatically backs up all of the files on the computer – no setup, download, or configuring software.
I just tried the 320GB version and it works great…even easier than I expected. [Note: I use an automatic online backup service, but recently retired my secondary backup – an external 300GB hard drive that was causing Vista to crash way too often.]
- Since the drive doesn’t need to install any software or drivers on the PC being backed up, it just automatically launches on any computer you plug it in to.
- One device can back up multiple computers – up to 20 different ones.It compartmentalizes each backed-up PC’s data so you can browse files by computer, keeping each PC’s content separate. I backed up one PC and one notebook, and was able to easily copy only certain files from one to the other using the “restore” function.
- It automatically backs up more than 350 different file types, including MS Office, email files, attachments within emails, photos, movies, and music files. It backed up my Outlook 2007 files, which some of the automatic online services still don’t support (read the fine print for the file types supported on your plan).
- Once the backup is complete, a backup summary screen will show you how many new files were backed up, the total number of files backed up to-date, the amount of space used in total and the last time you backed up.
- Backed up files are listed by category: photos, music, email, text docs, spreadsheets, presentations, artwork and drawings, video, etc. I really liked being able to browse the content by file type, date, or name, which made it easy to find the files I wanted to copy from one computer to the other.
- The Clickfree is very small and could easily fit in my purse or laptop bag – a fraction of the size of my old 300GB drive. I could take my whole desktop with me, without needing an internet connection. While I would not stop my automatic online backup plan, the Clickfree makes a great secondary, portable backup.
The Clickfree portable drive also comes in a 500GB size and in smaller sizes. The 320MB that I tested retails for $179. Clickfree also sells an adapter that converts any other type of external drive to function just like a Clickfree one. Maybe I’ll hold on to that old drive after all.
Laura Leites, Assistant Editor, Smallbiztechnology.com
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