• HP SimpleSave External Hard Drive – Instant Hands-Free Backup

    January 19th, 2010HARTDaily Tasks

    During the Christmas holidays my Good ‘ole buddy “Dell Dimension 8200” desktop died. It had a good life, since I’ve purchased it back in 2002 when it was a super computer .. but, now it’s time to move on. I have been using my spare computer … a Compaq Presario SR1750NX (similar to the stock photo on the left here) .. as my personal backup machine.

    I can’t stress the importance of making recent backups – at least, I say that all the time to my clients! But, for myself all I was diligent in was maintaining backups of my client data. This was always easy to do, because I have one folder called c:\DATA and everything I need to keep is stored under this one folder! The problem with doing this at times, is that this folder gets bigger and bigger and bigger. I have several memory sticks (lots of 500MB ones, one 1GB, one 2GB, one 16GB) and since I’ve purchased the 16GB one I’ve pretty much felt safe with my client data.

    I also have a portable Toshiba 40GB pocket external hard drive, but it’s an iffy backup when I used it on my Dell Desktop, because it had some restrictions on some of the filename lengths and extensions backing up from the USB1.0 port. What I used to do (way back in the golden years of 2009 and such) was attach it to the USB2.0 port of the Compaq computer and backup periodically the files to the external hard drive. This backup would consist of my data files, music files, etc.

    On my old Dell computer, if I needed space or did not want to keep a program on my hard drive (for a simple reason that sometimes I needed at least 15% free space to do a good defrag) I would copy the program over to the Compaq. This would not be an install, just a straight copy. I would delete it from my Dell, not uninstall it, and thus when I would need it I would just copy it back over my internal network.

    I honestly believe that when you install programs, the software looks for files you already have in use for other programs, and sets your registry to use these files instead. Where as when you uninstall the software, it pulls all the files – even used by other files – if it’s on the install list – and thus your other programs will crash!

    call HART crazy .. but that’s what I believe to be true (whether it is or not). Thus, I rarely uninstall programs.

    Anyway … comes Christmas 2009 and my Dell crashes beyond recovery, I moved completely to the Compaq as my new MAIN desktop computer. It took about 4-5 days to recover data that wasn’t currently backed up that I was working on .. well, maybe 1 day work and 3-4 days to get motivated during the Xmas holidays :D.

    Then – it hit me … Where’s my Thumbnail program? Where’s my Adobe program? Where’s my Musicmatch program? Where’s all my tax programs? For some reason … I have only been archiving programs on this computer when I was about to delete it from my old computer. The programs that I NEVER DELETED … well, was not backed up. Sure .. I had most of the installed zip files and disks lying around, but GEEEEEESH this was annoying to replicate everything I needed.

    Although – Musicmatch is now Yahoo since August 2007 … everything is pretty much recovered and installed now.



    Find the HP SimpleSave External Backup Drive at AmazonThis is called an HP SimpleSave Desktop External Drive .. and holds 1TB of data .. (that’s 1,000 GB’s) .. I purchased it at Best Buy last week for $139.99 CDN .. My Compaq (for some reason) has two USB1.0 ports on the back of the machine and three USB2.0 ports on the face of the machine, so I also opted to purchase a 2-port USB2.0 card for $20.99 CDN .. total, with PST and GST taxes was $181.90 CDN. Quite reasonable expense if you ask me.


    It truly is “Hands-Free” as the box suggests. Once you plug it in, and the HP Launcher begins, it scans your computer and automatically backs up all your files into groups .. like images, documents, media files, and other popular file types, and if you want – you can also add additional filename extensions to include. There is no software to install or run – it just starts to backup your computer. The first time I did this, it took about 3 hours to analyze and backup about 86GB of data. The theory with this product being “Hands-Free” is that, if your computer is idle for at least 5-minutes, it will search for new and/or changed files and add it to the backup! I’ve since allowed it to test that theory, and changed images, new mp3 files and invoice.doc’s that I have created since that first backup … was automatically backed up!


    BUT …. (there’s always a “but”)

    When I looked at the backup, it didn’t have half of my data files in its backup. Sure, it’s nice to finally backup all my mp3 files and images that are probably duplicated a gazillion times around my computer in various folders … but the most basic issue of backing up my client’s acccounting data files – was not covered.

    Sure, I could have added a file extension to the list and have them included but, that seemed like too much work. So, this is what I have decided to do about it:

    1) IT’S A BACKUP DRIVE … I just went to the windows explorer and file copied my entire c:\ drive manually (D’oh!) to this external backup drive. It took about 7.6 hours to do that .. with all the data files that I have – but, I have verified its backup and they are all there. At the time, all “My Documents” and related folders and desktop didn’t copy too good, so I just moved them into a folder under the C: drive instead of just “My Computer”.

    2) I set-up a Toodledo.com reminder notice for me to backup my c:\data drive 3 times a week (for now) and when I receive an email, I just multitask and do it .. takes about 15 seconds.

    3) I Keep letting the Automatic Backup do its thing on the other stuff anyway.

    There are larger external hard drives out there or ones with more options or features or backup software included .. but they are also pricey too. Although, depending on your needs .. if you ask yourself if $299.99 external backup drive is worth saving your important data is worth it (IT IS) … then ask yourself if having an external backup drive that only costs $139.99 is worth it!

    However, if you click the top graphic .. Amazon is currently selling them for about $109.00 USD .. and, I might earn a measly 4% commission on your purchase as an affiliate link. Although, you don’t have to if you want … here’s the non-affiliate link if you prefer. I’m just happy and COMFORTABLE now that I not only have a safe backup of EVERYTHING on my computer now … but, a system in place to keep and maintain current backups in case of the inevitable – again.

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