March 3rd, 2004


Maxtor OneTouch

While not a big hardware enthusiast, every once in a while you just have to buy some. My 200GB Maxtor OneTouch external hard drive (FireWire) arrived yesterday and I spent most of yesterday evening reformatting it from FAT32 to NTFS, then setting up the accompanying backup software.

With occasional recycling of the space, there's no danger that I'll run out of backup space in the near future - it's five times the size of my internal hard drive, which I haven't got past about 70% full in two years of use.

The OneTouch gimmick is that there's a big button on the front of the drive which you press to kick off a backup using the bundled Dantz Retrospect Express 6.0 software. You can configure the button to launch something else if you prefer and, as I quickly discovered, you can configure Retrospect to do scheduled backups, which I reckon will be still more useful than the one-button approach I expected to have to get used to.

The first backup seemed a bit slower than I had expected, but I discovered that this was down to a deliberate feature - the first ten times the drive is powered on, it does extra hardware verification on every write!

I left the backup software doing its own verifying when I went to bed and, as seems to be traditional with all backup software the first time you try to use it, I awoke to find an error message waiting for me in the morning. Having checked the log, I think this was just because it tried to kick off the first scheduled backup immediately upon finishing the one I had started manually and couldn't cope with the handover. As this is not a circumstance that's likely to happen again once the schedule is established, I'm not too concerned, but we'll see how it goes.

Despite being a professional developer who should, of course, know better, this is the first time that I've had a relatively satisfactory solution for regular backups, so I'm looking forward to an increased sense of security. So long as I don't have to fall back on that non-existent off-site backup...