Review 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, thanks to 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, writes Lars-Goran Nilsson.
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, the Seagate unit can be used with both PCs and Macs out of the box, with backup software for both systems supplied on the CD. Ideally, you'll want to reformat the drive if you've got a Mac, but Mac OS X handles Windows-formatted drives well, so it's not essential.
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 file-sizes from my desktop PC using the USB 2.0 connection. This took 5m 11s. The limiting factor is clearly the interface but at round about 1GB 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 backup button is outlined by a yellow LED.