personal file backup
Maxtor 5000XT Disc Backup System
By Joel Shore
May 7, 2003
Did you back up your files today?
Yesterday? Last week? We know, you don’t want to be
But remember this: the data sitting on your
computer is the lifeblood of your business. Lose it and you just
might kiss your career goodbye. That’s why, like brushing your
teeth, backing up your files should be a daily activity.
The problem is most of us are just too darn
lazy. Or we’re sure that our system’s hard drive will never
fail. True, corporate networks back up their servers daily, but
individual PCs? Not necessarily; actually, not likely.
So what if you could back up your PC by
pressing just one button as you head out the door each evening?
Louis Armstrong got it right: What a wonderful world it would
Maxtor has come up with the solution, its
One-Touch series of personal-storage backup devices. All you
need to bring is your index finger. But don’t be fooled, in
addition to providing push-button file backup, you can use these
products to provide additional primary storage space.
Each of the three products in Maxtor’s
One-Touch line consists of a hard drive in a snazzy-looking
case, connecting cable, power cable, and Retrospect Express
backup software from Dantz. They’re all compatible with PCs and
Here’s the complete product line-up:
5000XT: Includes 250-GBbyte hard drive
and features both FireWire and USB 2.0 ports.
With its cavernous 250-GByte drive, here’s enough storage not
just for backup data files, but probably for your computer’s
entire hard drive, too.
5000DV: Includes 200-gigabyte drive with
FireWire and USB 2.0 ports. With it’s high-speed 5,400-RPM
hard drive, the 5000DV is a good choice for video-editing and
high-end graphic applications. And with its 120-Gbyte drive,
it provides oodles of workspace—enough to store more than 11
hours of digital video.
5000LE: Includes 80-Gbyte drive and USB
Not that many years ago, we’d be
overwhelmed at the idea of an 80-GByte hard drive. Now, here we
are with the 5000LE, and its 80-GByte drive is the smallest of
the three. That’s fine, since for backup purposes, it’s more
storage than many computer users will ever need.
The 5000XT and 5000DV each have two
FireWire ports. Two? That cool little feature allows you daisy
chain two, three, or up to 62 of these products together. And if
you don’t need all that backup real estate, you can plug in any
FireWire-compatible device, such as your digital video camera.
If you go the USB route instead, you can connect the unit to a
USB hub, which allows up to 127 USB devices of any kind to be
connected to your computer.
My computer’s hard drive didn’t contain
much in the way of digital video to back up, so I didn’t need
the 5,400-RPM 5000DV. But I do have thousands of high-resolution
digital photos stored as jpeg files. Consequently, I opted for
the spacious 5000XT. The 5000LE, with its 80Gbytes of storage
would have been plenty, but for the modest price difference, the
250-Gbyte version provides a whole lot more bang for the buck.
Why is that? Because you’ve already bought the handsome outer
case and power supply; to Maxtor, substituting a higher-capacity
drive is not an expensive proposition.
Whichever model you have, setting up is quick and easy. The
first step is installing the driver and Dantz backup software
from the included CD-ROM. Second, you connect the power cord
and, depending on which model you have, either the USB or the
The drive installed itself as Drive F: on
my system, which was running Windows XP Professional. Depending
on the number of optical drives and other devices connected to
your computer, the assigned drive letter might be different. Not
only did I have a sleek new backup system, but I could also use
the 5000XT just like a regular hard drive for saving anything.
In fact, I’m starting to do that more and more, because the
Maxtor’s drive is actually a bit faster than the Drive C: that’s
built into my computer.
Configuring the Dantz Retrospect Backup
software is done by answering a few simple questions
regarding from what location and what kinds of files you want to
back up. The whole process takes only a couple of
Configuring the Dantz Retrospect Express
software should take no more than a few minutes. The
installation wizard guides you through each step, explaining
clearly what choices you need to make. And those choices are
pretty simple: where to copy from and whether to copy only your
data files or entire applications. There is one factor to take
note of: If you’re a Windows user, be aware that Retrospect
Express does not make a copy of the Windows Registry, which may
be needed when restoring some applications. In the event of a
system crash, you may need to reinstall certain applications
from the original CD. But you can—and should—make a manual of
your system’s registry from time to time.
I chose to back up my applications in
addition to my own data files, mainly because I had more than
enough space to do so. To get started, all that’s needed is the
simple press of that one magic button. But here’s the rub: the
first time you do this, the backup operation can take a couple
of hours or longer—much longer. That’s because the Dantz
Retrospect Express software—like all good backup software—backs
up anything that’s different from the previous backup. And since
this the first time, there is no previous backup, so the program
makes a copy of everything. Subsequent backups should take no
more than a minute or two because only those files that have
changed or been created since the last backup will be copied.
Technically, this is called an incremental backup.
For me, the bottom line is pretty simple.
For a few hundred dollars, I’m now sleeping more soundly. My
data is always backed up and if my computer fails me, I can
carry my Maxtor One-Touch system to another computer, install
the software, and restore my files to the new computer’s hard
drive. I’ll be “back up” and running in just minutes. <