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No More Excuses For Not Backing Up

Don't want to preach to the choir here, but if you don't already understand that hard drives are fragile creatures then you need to have that appreciation. It is not IF your hard drive will fail, it is WHEN.

Inevitably you will have a hard drive that will fail and you will lose data. You might be able to retrieve it from some companies that charge as much as $2000 or more. That seems like a high price but many are happy to pay it as it is far worse than the alternative of permanently losing that data.

One of the best solutions to back up are USB external hard drives that range from 100 to 500 GB. The primary purpose of this post is to WARN YOU of a dangerous drive that you need to avoid at all costs. The Maxtor One Touch back up is commonly written about as a solution for backing up but I have to warn you to avoid this drive like the plague. I had purchased three of these drives and EVERY one of them broke and on multiple occcasions.

There are serious design flaws on this device. I had one that was replaced by the company but it broke again and this time was out of warranty and I had to throw the drive away. It is nearly crimial that a company can get away with such terrible products but they are and I just want to warn you about.

What is the Solution?

Fortunately there are great ones out there. Although you can purchase a 500 GB drive you will pay a pretty penny for it. It is FAR better to purchase two 250 GB drives as you will pay 30% less than one 500 GB drive. My current favorite is Simple Tech 250 GB Backup Drive for a mere $170, a real steal from my perspective and I have used them for months without any problems, unlike Maxtor.

The picture you see is the Simple Tech 250 GB Backup Drive. If you were in my office at home you would see four of them. That means I have one full Terabyte (1000 Gigabytes) of back up for less than $700. That is absolutely amazing to me. It is not as elegant as some large RAID arrays but it is a fraction of the price and more than serves my purposes.

You may think it a bit irrational, but I have over 20 Gigabytes of photos and over 50 Gigabytes of audio MP3 files that would be an absolute nightmare to lose and cost me many tens of thousands of dollars to acquire. So this is a cheap form of insurance.

I am not sure if we will have a Petabyte drive (1000 terabytes) that I predicted nearly three years ago. Interestingly the article I wrote on that topic is #1 in Google for the term "petabyte drive".

Another really cool option to consider is the Disk GO 80 GB Backup Drive. Although this drive is about $150 and it only has 1/3 the capacity as the Simple Tech, it is VERY cool as it is about 80% less weight. Nearly all the large external backups have power supplies you must plug in the wall and carry with you if the drive is to work at all.

No problem if you keep it at home, but if you travel it is a semi-nightmare. The Disk GO 80 GB Backup Drive however does not require a power supply as it runs off the current in your USB port. Also it will comfortably fit into your shirt pocket. Try that with your external back up drive.

The Disk GO 80 GB Backup Drive is far closer to a USB flash drive and those cost about the same amount for only 4 GB. So I think it is one of the best bargains out there and I now always travel with it.

Boston Globe October 3, 2005

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