Backing, Part II
A few weeks ago we explored the world of the hand-held, USB drives. They're small, light, and pack a big, storage-capacity wallup, with some models holding up to 8GB. However, with the explosion of digital photography and graphics programs, even an 8GB backup can seem paltry. If the budget supports it, consider connecting a full blown external hard drive to your PC's USB port. The combination of USB2 and these luxuriously large, self-contained IDE drives has taken the pain and toil out of PC backups. For as little as $100, you can connect a external hard drive just like the one in your computer. It will have the capacity to copying the entire contents of most PCs. Look for one that includes full-system backup and/or data synchronization software. Remember to turn it on for each backup. While some models can run indefinitely, turning them on as needed, adds protection and longevity to the drive. Anyone who's ever lost a computer to a drive failure, power surge, or other unscheduled calamity, knows the painful journey to PC recovery. Re-installing applications is slow. Recovering personal files can be impossible, or very expensive, without a current backup.
An external IDE drive won't protect a PC from a virus. Still, it can give peace of mind and a quicker recovery. We've used these drives in combination with other data protection for years and they've saved my bacon more than once. Even when every other piece of computer equipment spewed blue smoke and winked out, our external backup drives were ready for action.
While I've not evaluated the models below, here are some $100 contenders you might look over. Read the product reviews before you buy.
Iomega 33215 250 GB External HD
LaCie 250 GB USB 2.0 External HD
SimpleTech 160 GB USB 2.0 External HD
Fantom Drives TFDU20072A Titanium 200GB External HD