Product Reviews

Product Reviews

In Brief

Even the clumsiest among us should have no problem with Maxtor's family of personal backup products. Installation was a breeze, and operation truly is one finger touch. If 250 Gbytes isn't enough, you can connect dozens of these clever devices. With the included Dantz Retrospect Express backup software, Maxtor's 5000XT Personal Backup is a superior product.


5000XT, $399; 5000DV, $399; 5000LE, $199

Milpitas, Calif.


Personal external storage is big business. Check out LaCie and WiebeTech.

Key Specs

4Hard drive: 3.5 inch ATA with Ultra ATA 133 interface

4RPM: 5400

4Cache buffer: 2 MB

4Interface: IEEE 1394, i.LINK, and SBP-2 compliant, USB 2.0 and 1.1 compliant

4Average seek time: < 9 ms

4Max. sustained transf. rate:
-USB2 - 34 MB/sec
-FireWire - 40 MB/sec

4Max. bus transfer rate:
-USB2 - 480 Mb/sec
-FireWire - 400 Mb/sec

4Dimensions: 1 5/8" x 6" x 8 5/8"

4Weight: 2 lbs, 11 oz.

4Dantz® Retrospect® Express software included

- Up to 62 FireWire devices
- Up to 127 USB 2.0
  devices with hubs

4Stands vertically or horizontally


4PC and Mac compatible


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 lectured—again.

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 be. 

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 Macintoshes.

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 2.0 port.

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. 

Easy set-up 

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 FireWire cable. 

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 minutes.

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. <

Yeas & Nays


4Couldn't be any simpler

4Capacity up to 250Gbytes

4Available with FireWire interface

4Good back-up software


4Better for personal than network use

In the Box

Hard drive

USB cable, FireWire cable

External AC power adapter

Vertical stand

Dantz Retrospect Express back-up software

• Drivers

User’s Guide

Quick Start Install Guide

Retrospect User's Guide (on disk)


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