Product Review: Page (1) of 2 - 02/04/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

Maxtor OneTouch II

Upgrade to OneTouch line includes new software By Charlie White

We are worrywarts when it comes to losing valuable data. Thats why on all of our computers where anything important is done, we attach a dependable and very large hard disk with automatic backup software running. When we recently installed a new high-powered workstation, we wanted to try the latest and greatest Maxtor OneTouch II 200GB FireWire/USB 2.0 drive ($200/street), an updated version of a Maxtor OneTouch drive weve been using here without incident for two years. We noticed that the new drive, which works on both Macs and PCs, does what it says it will do.

First let me stress how important it is to back up your data. Yes, I know, I sound like your mom, but just think about what a dreadful thing it would be if you lost all of your data I mean, everything on your computer. All those valuable pictures, heartwarming e-mails from close friends, your deepest thoughts, writing and documents all that would be lost forever. Its a nightmare scenario that can be alleviated easier than ever with one of the new FireWire/USB 2.0 external disks. No longer do you have to fumble with CDs or DVDs, tapes, zip drives, or any of that other nonsense. Now, there are drives available that are designed specifically for backup and are usually at least as big if not bigger than your internal hard disk. They can effortlessly and transparently back up everything on your computer every night without your even knowing its happening. And then, what a wonderful feeling if something goes wrong to simply push a button that says Restore and then suddenly everything is back the way it was just a few hours ago. Thats the kind of protection you can get with the Maxtor OneTouch II drive.

With our old OneTouch Drive, we were delighted with the ease with which you can back up everything by just pushing one button. Thats why its called OneTouch theres a little button on the front of it that you push, and then everything on your drive is exactly duplicated onto the OneTouch Drive. It couldnt be easier. Another advantage of it is you can go to your OneTouch Drive any time, and all of your files are sitting right there and easily accessible from the PC. Theyre not compressed into any proprietary backup format, just files, exactly like you see them on your host computers hard disk. Its a quick and easy way to recover individual files, or your entire hard disk. However, there are drawbacks to such backups. Each night when you back up your hard disk, all the files are duplicated on your backup drive, and anything you had on there in addition to that is erased. Thats just the way it is when youre using the software that came with previous OneTouch drives, called Danz Retrospect Express, and we learned the hard way that if you've backed up other data on that same disc it will be gone the next morning. 

Enter the OneTouch II from Maxtor, which ships complete with software thats been upgraded to Danz Retrospect Express HD. Its a great improvement, and much more sophisticated than the earlier version. Like the earlier Retrospect Express software, you can automatically back up your files every night, but now the software can create restore points similar to Windows System Restore, allowing you to fully restore your entire drive choosing from whichever date you would like. The software continues backing up versions and showing you their restore dates until the entire drive is full. Of course, you can restore individual files as well, and if you want, you can still back up your system the way the previous software did where it makes an exact duplicate of your hard drive without compressing anything. That's versatile. I was impressed with this new software, and began using it every night soon after I installed it. If youd rather do it yourself, you can use the much-touted OneTouch system, where all you have to do is push one button and it backs up everything you specify. If you don't like Danz Retrospect, another great attribute of this one-button feature is the ability to set it so that any other software backup package of your choice is launched when you push the OneTouch button.

Here's the welcome screen for Retrospect Express HD for the Maxtor OneTouch II. Click the Restore button, and you'll see the dialog box below.

 

You can select restore points from a calendar interface, or you can choose to restore individual files or folders.

But with this softwares power comes complexity and a few problems as well. Strangely, after I installed the software, which uses components of Microsofts .Net technology, whenever I would restart my computer it would hang during its boot sequence. Each time this happened I would give it a cold boot and it was able to start up normally. When I asked Danz support personnel about this, they admitted that my problem has been seen many times before with users of this software. I also noticed a few times when I pushed the Restore button on the software, nothing happened. Since this is a new version of the software, I would expect updates to arrive soon that will address these issues, all of which were confirmed by support staff. I would also like to have seen the capability to back up data on other computers besides the host computer on which the OneTouch drive is installed. Alas, Maxtor and Danz probably would like you to buy the full version of Retrospect rather than include it in the box with this drive. Overall, though, when the software is working well, it offers considerable power and even better backup confidence than its predecessor.

Another new feature of the OneTouch II series is the ability to password protect your drive. This feature would be handy for the growing number of content creation professionals who place proprietary images or data on these drives and ship them across the country. If they should fall into the wrong hands, the data on them will not be accessible to anyone without the password.  

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Related Keywords:valuable data, hard disk, automatic backup software, workstation, Maxtor OneTouch II, 200GB, FireWire, USB 2.0 drive, Mac, PC

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