Everyone knows they should back up the critical information contained on their computer, but how many do it religiously? Perhaps it has a lot to do with the effort involved and the clutter of CDs that can result from continuously storing what is important. It may also be why Maxtor designed its OneTouch
external hard drive to reflect simplicity. One finger is all it takes to command the drive to back up your entire system — including settings, applications and operating system — whenever you make any changes to documents or settings. And as more people are storing large files on their computers containing music, photos or video the need to backup or store this critical information elsewhere and more frequently becomes greater.
Installation of the unit on an iMac (we had a 200 GB drive to test) was relatively simple with everything you need contained on one CD and some fairly simple steps outlined in the ever-important instruction manual. There was specific, step-by-step instructions for Windows 2000 and XP and Windows 98SE, and ME and Mac OS 9 and X.
The software contained on the install disk is Dantz Retrospect, which is integrated with the drive. Each time you hit the blue-glow button, the drive opens Dantz Retropsect and makes a copy of the files on your source drive as they exist. The drive can also be programmed to automatically start an application with the touch of the button, such as iTunes, or any application associated with the drive’s daily use, although I failed to see the point in this and seemed silly.
Only the current versions of files are copied — the drive doesn’t keep previous copies. Also, if you delete a file on your main drive and then hit the backup button, that file will also be deleted.
If you’re a paranoid sort, you can back up whenever you choose by hitting the button, or set the software to back up every week day or once a week.
Each time I backed up my system, it took seconds (this unit spins at 7,000 revolutions per minute), although the first time took somewhat longer. Each time you back up, Retrospect compares the files in your hard drive to the Maxtor drive and only copies any changes to the previous backup.
In its sleek anodized aluminum case the drive is fairly quiet while running and can stand vertically in the base provided, or horizontally, and is stackable. You can also program the drive for minimized power consumption while your computer is on.
The Maxtor OneTouch is available in 120 GB to 300 GB models and is compatible with Windows and Macintosh machines. It requires Pentium II equivalent processor or later, Windows 98Se, Me, 2000 Professional or XP or Mac OS 9.1 or higher, 32 MB RAM or more and available FireWire or USB 1.1 or 2.0 port depending on the model. The unit comes with an external power adapter, USB cable, FireWire cable and installation software.