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The new high-capacity OneTouch external hard drives from Maxtor make for a very simple small business backup solution, and one that won't break the bank. If you can't afford network-attached storage (NAS), this is the next best thing.
It doesn't get much simpler. The OneTouch products have a button on the front of their sleek chassis that when pressed activates bundled Retrospect backup software from Dantz Development, automatically backing up your data. Maxtor claims OneTouch is the first push button backup and restore hard drive-based solution on the market.
The company has introduced four OneTouch products: a 120GB (7200RPM) unit that connects via USB 2.0 and lists for $200; a 200GB (7200RPM) model that offers dual USB 2.0/ FireWire connections and lists for $300; a 250GB (7200RPM) USB 2.0/FireWire unit for $350; and a 300GB (5400RPM) USB 2.0/FireWire model for $400.
I wasn't overwhelmed with enthusiasm for the Express version of the Dantz backup software that comes with the drive, but it does the job. Fortunately, you don't have to use it, as the OneTouch unit can be customized so that pushing the button activates the application of your choice.
In fact, there are other possible uses for these products besides backup. Home users might want to turn them into digital jukeboxes, for example. Pushing the button could launch a jukebox program. Even the 120GB unit can store an entire music collection — without needing to use MP3 compression. (About 150 CDs at approximately 700MB per CD by my calculation.)
But it's as a backup solution that OneTouch will have most appeal to small businesses. Given the large capacities, you can use them not just to back up essential data, but to back up complete disk images, including operating system files and application settings — everything necessary to recover quickly from a total disk melt down.
In the Lab
We reviewed the 120GB unit. It comes with the hard drive, a plastic stand that lets you set it on its edge (it takes up very little desk real estate this way), a universal serial bus USB 2 cable, and a software disk and manual.
The USB 2 connections on the OneTouch units are backward compatible to USB 1.1, so you can plug one of these drives into virtually any Pentium II or higher computer running Windows 98SE or higher without any problems, as long as the computer has a USB 1.1 port.
But you really want to use a USB 2 connection. It transfers data from your main hard drive to the OneTouch unit much quicker — up to a maximum burst rate of 480 megabits per second (Mbps), versus only about 12 Mbps for USB 1.1.