External hard drives – the best backup tools _ pcmag. com

Of course, any drive is, to some extent, portable, but drives in the class we call portable can be defined by two features: First, they’re compact, using the same 2.5-inch mechanisms found in most notebook PCs—hence the other moniker they’re sometimes known by: notebook-class drives. Program backup software Second, they’re bus-powered—they get their current through the USB or FireWire cable. Server backup software review Notebook-class

The capacity of these devices has always lagged that of desktop-class units—for example, 2.5-inch drives were at 60GB when the norm was 200GB for 3.5-inch devices. Free backup and restore software But the introduction of 320GB and 500GB 2.5-inch mechanisms means that these external drives—even models with the lower of the two capacities (such as the Buffalo MiniStation HD-PS320U2, the Toshiba HDDR320E3X, and the Western Digital My Passport Elite) now probably store considerably more than the

Desktop-class external drives are, as you’d guess, usually based on desktop-computer drive mechanisms. Best backup software for android to pc At 3.5 inches, these are larger than their portable counterparts, so they require more power. Free disk backup software Most come with a “wall wart” AC adapter. Best backup software for mac Some products, such as the Kanguru Eco Drive, employ power-saving technologies.

a couple of major advantages over portable drives: larger capacities (up to 1 terabyte these days) and platters that spin faster—7,200 rpm is common, whereas portables run at 5,400 rpm. Best local backup software These units can also use more than one interface: Some drives, like the Seagate FreeAgent Pro, come with FireWire and eSATA connectors in addition to the usual USB 2.0.

Using eSATA, an emerging standard, does away with the inefficiencies caused by having to bridge from SATA in the drive to a USB or FireWire connection, then back again in the PC. Automatic file backup software With eSATA, the data encounters little overhead—as if the external drive were connected internally to your PC’s motherboard—and that means speed. Win 7 backup software If you’ve got massive files that need regular backup, this can save you a lot of time.

The third external drive category—which includes products like the CMS Velocity 2 RAID Backup System and the Drobo—use multiple hard drives to give you more space than a single-drive device. Top free backup software For example, the Velocity 2 can hold a pair of 1TB drives for a total of 2TB in a RAID 0 configuration or 1TB of RAID 1 storage, which protects your data by duplicating it. Easy backup software If one of the drives fails, the other still has all your information.

An interesting RAID hybrid, the La Cie Little Big Disk Quadra, uses two 2.5-inch hard drives that are internally connected to get you 500GB of speedy RAID 0 storage. Best free data backup software Both the Velocity 2 and Little Big Disk have a good complement of I/O ports: USB and eSATA. Sql backup software The Little Big Disk also has FireWire 400 and 800 ports.

a different level: You can install up to four SATA drives to get protected storage, in any combination of capacities, and the device takes care of its own configuration. List of backup software The ability to combine capacities lets you easily use leftover drives from previous systems. What is a backup software A pair of 250GB drives and

If one of the three fails, your data remains safe, and when you replace the bad drive, the Drobo rebuilds itself automatically. Good backup software You can also add a fourth drive. Database backup software The flexibility of being able to pop in a drive lets the Drobo grow with you: Just keep replacing the smallest drive with

Note that even though these RAID drive systems may sound like network-attached storage (NAS) devices, which also typically feature multiple RAID-striped drives, they’re not. Top 10 backup software The difference is that the Drobo and its kin connect directly to your PC via USB, eSATA, or FireWire. Free backup software As their name suggests, NAS devices connect to your system via a router; they can back up files from any authorized system that’s connected to your network.

You can do rudimentary backups to any of these devices simply by copying files manually using the capabilities of your OS, but the drives often come with backup software of varying sophistication. Data backup software for windows At one end of the spectrum, you’ll find simple sync utilities, such as the WD Sync app that comes with the Western Digital My Passport Elite. The best backup software Programs like this automatically back up folders you designate, can usually filter by file type (music, Word documents, pictures, and so on), and,

Drives like the Maxtor OneTouch 4 mini and SimpleTech SimpleDrive Desktop come with file-and-folder backup software, and you’ll find disaster-recovery utilities, which provide the most safety for your data, on drives like the Maxtor One Touch 4 Plus and CMS Velocity 2 RAID Backup System. Best free backup software windows 7 Some units will come boxed with a combination of the three backup strategies, possibly in one integrated utility. System backup software Of course, you may want to choose a third-party application—if so, read about this software in the section on file-and-folder backup apps.

The Buffalo MiniStation is a convenient pocket drive that can travel with you. Backup software free Its vaunted TurboUSB technology does make things faster, though not necessarily the “64% faster” that the marketing claims.

Western Digital’s My Passport Elite gives you a few more features than your standard commodity 320GB hard drive. Image backup software free It comes with several innovations that echo what we’ve seen before on other My Book drives.

The Kanguru Eco Drive is certainly more stylish than most external hard drives, and it’s environmentally friendly, to boot. Exchange backup software Still, there are faster, less bulky drives out there.