An update on my Seagate FreeAgent GO drive

So, it’s been over a week since I had the Seagate FreeAgent GO drive in my possession and I have to say that the form factor has actually resulted in me using this drive to backup files more. It’s a little surreal for me because normally, I’m afraid to handle electronics, but the design of this GO drive makes it feel like it can handle the wear and tear of being in my backpack. With my Iomega eGo drive, I felt as if I could feel all the moving parts and I was exceedingly careful whenever I brought it out. Of course, I’m going to handle my gift (Thanks, Siobhan! 🙂 ) with care, but all I’m saying is I feel like I don’t have to handle the Seagate GO drive with kid gloves.

The Seagate Manager comes with its backup program and an encryption utility as well. It’s a pretty straightforward backup program that allows you to pick and choose what folders you want to back up. A huge plus to Seagate for that. Second, the backed up files are not encoded in some proprietary format. If you backup a music or video file, you can browse the Seagate folder and see that your files are still the same. Not knocking Acronis True Image 2009 which stores backups in a .tib format, but sometimes, I just want the folder copied as-is without compression. So, in that respect, Seagate scored points with me. Obviously, a drawback of not compressing files is that you get a larger file size. However, with 500GBs to play with, I’m confident that I’ll have space for awhile. In any case, here is my backup strategy now:

  1. Make whole disc images of my computer monthly using Acronis True Image 2009 (which stores the image as a .tib file) and store this file on my Seagate FreeAgent Pro 500GB hard drive. I will keep at least 3 backups on hand, in case of the unexpected corrupt file.
  2. Using Seagate Manager, make backups of my Documents folder and other files. This can be done even daily if I choose, but I’ve set  a alarm in Microsoft Outlook to remind me. 😀
  3. Using Acronis True Image 2009, I’ll have, at least, 2 recent whole disk images of my laptop on my Seagate FreeAgent GO 500GB drive just in case I’m away from home (where the Seagate desktop drive lies) and I need to restore my computer (and this has happened quite a bit!).

That’s it for my ‘strategy’, barring any unforeseen circumstances like me being lazy and forgetting to do it. 🙂 Thankfully, speed is not an issue with this Seagate FreeAgent GO Drive because I was able to backup my Documents folder within 45minutes (it was just shy of 5Gbs in size). I’m on the go a lot and this drive suits my needs.

In a nutshell, I would pay for this drive, given what I know now about it.

Disclosure: The Seagate FreeAgent GO 500GB drive (~ $147) was received as a thank-you for participating in a case study. The links to this product have my Amazon affiliate id in them as well i.e. I get a little something if you use my link to purchase this product. 🙂

First impressions with my Seagate FreeAgent GO 500GB drive

I’m really excited to have received this gift from Seagate because I’ve moaned to all who would listen that I needed an external hard drive. Last year, I entered a promotion (sponsored by Seagate) on Notebooks.com (which is run by Xavier Lanier) and in March, I received some correspondence about possibly providing some anecdotes on my storage issues. I participated in the case study primarily because I was tickled at being picked to provide notes on my experience. The icing on the cake was being told that I might be provided with a free storage solution from Seagate after/during the case study. I didn’t have my heart set on receiving anything because I was very impressed that Seagate seemed genuinely interested in learning about my habits and what made me/users tick with regards to our backup habits.

Fast forward to today, I am now in possession of a ruby red Seagate FreeAgent GO portable drive (500GB). My first impressions are:

  1. Pinch me for I suspect I’m asleep. 🙂 Seriously, this item is easily worth $130 and I have it for free now.
  2. It is lighter and not as bulky as my Iomega GO portable hard drive (which is only 320GB and cost $100). I was nuts over my Iomega hard drive’s sleek look, but Seagate has made the Iomega portable hard drive look ancient.
  3. It comes with free software that should make backing up easier. It’s called Seagate Manager and right now, I’ve already run into a little snag.

    Seagate Manager error

  4. That error occurred as a result of an update to the Seagate Manager that was downloaded automatically. That is not a good start, but I will scour the Seagate.com website for the correct update for my 64-bit computer.

That is all for now. A review of this drive will follow as soon as I’m able to whip one up. 🙂 Cheers!

Update: Pics of the newest addition to my hard drive family. 😛

treo pics 010 treo pics 011 treo pics 009 treo pics 008 treo pics 007

My current computer backup situations

Ever since I purchased an HP dv9700t CTO notebook PC, I’ve had to reformat this computer over 3 times now. The reason is simple: I like to try out new things on the computer and that more often than not, include alpha, beta and even gamma software. I’d like to say that I’ve learned and reformatting my PC (as a last solution) is a thing of the past. Alas! I cannot guarantee that. So, here’s what I’ve learned from owning a computer that I deliberately introduce chaos into:

  1. If you don’t know what a virtual machine or virtualization means, learn it NOW. Invest an operating system (Linux or Microsoft) and learn how to run that operating system inside a virtual environment. This article is going to be short so go ahead and read my article about my experience with two virtual machines (Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and VirtualBox) Both are free virtual machine managers and are widely recommended for regular users.
  2. Windows Complete Image backup is NOT the same as merely backing up your files. In fact, based on my experience with Windows Complete Image backup and Windows File Backup available to Vista Ultimate users, I will say this: it would really really be smart to have a full featured backup solution in addition to Windows built-in backup feature. I would recommend Acronis True Image 2009 which is not bad at the price tag of $49.99. I’ve used Acronis on my computer since they had Acronis True Image 10 and since I discovered that you can’t retrieve individual files/folders from a Windows Complete Image backup, I’ve returned to using Acronis True Image. The reason: each time I perform a complete PC backup using Windows Backup and Restore center, it’s over 70gbs in size. Guess how much it costs (in terms of space consumed on the hard disk) to create a file backup using Windows Backup and Restore Center? Roughly ~65gbs (leaving all the default settings checked because Windows doesn’t even give you the chance to pick & choose what files you want to backup)!!! So, like I always say, economics (of space) is the reason I’m switching back to Acronis True Image 2009. That way, I’ll have just one ~ 70GB backup file on my external hard drive AND be able to extract my individual files from it!
  3. Good old fashioned DVD-R or CD-R backups:- After my last disaster scenario (i.e. I lost close to 3 weeks worth of work), I have seen the light in having copies of precious files on disks. I was actually able to pare my loss down to 2 weeks because I had copied the “My Documents” folder on my laptop to a regular DVD (~ 4.3 GBs of data).

So there you have it! Good luck and stay tuned for more on my blog and at my Blip.tv Channel (Jane Talks Tech!)