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Seagate 1TB FreeAgent Pro external hard disk drive
Backing up your data couldn't be easier
By John Virata

As consumers continue to create content with their digital cameras and digital video cameras, download media content from websites, as well as music, movies, and TV shows from such sites as iTunes, all that data will surely begin to start filling up the hard drives on their computers. This causes users to have to look for storage solutions to safely store and archive all that media and other data.

Some just get an external drive, plug it in, and start dragging files and folders in a haphazard fashion. Others want a more organized approach, and with hard disk drives already commodity items, the drive manufacturers have to continuously look for innovative ways to sell their wares to the consumer. Some take a fashionable approach and hire designers to encase what is essentially a non-sexy product. Others package easy to use backup software and light up the enclosures. And others do both.

The FreeAgent Pro from Seagate is an external hard disk storage solution (320GB, 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB configurations) that makes it easy for Windows users to backup their data. It is housed in a black enclosure with a metal like paint finish, and the kicker is the Orange light that glows on the unit, letting you know that it is on.

The FreeAgent Pro offers triple connection interfaces

The FreeAgent Pro connects to your computer via USB 2.0/eSATA, or via FireWire. The unit comes with two "mini" bases that slide into a main base station, so you have a choice of how you want to connect, all depending on how fast you wish to transfer your data. This triple connection is interesting; because most drive manufacturers don't offer three ways to connect via one device. For this review, I connected the 1TB FreeAgent Pro to the USB 2.0 port of my Gateway work computer. 

How it Works
The FreeAgent Pro uses backup software from Memeo to get your data backed up. It is essentially a three step process. Step 1 involves indentifying a backup destination. Your choices here include the FreeAgent Drive, as well as Seagate's web based solution, called the Seagate Internet Drive. The other choices are a network drive, Flash drive, and iPod device. Memeo gives you the option to backup up multiple versions of each file as well. You can also choose to secure them, which requires that you restore them using the AutoBackup software.

Choose a backup

Once you've selected a destination, the software opens a new window that enables you to choose what you wish to back up, or you can have the software choose for you via SmartPicks, which are bolded in Blue. SmartPicks takes all the guesswork out of your backup locations and chooses the default Windows locations of files such as video, music, photos, and any Office-type files. Click done and the software calculates the space required via the AutoBackup File Tally. Click Add Backup Items and then click Done and the software starts the backup process.


Select Destination

To restore the backed up files, simply click the Restore button in the Autobackup Menu and the software will restore them to their original location, your desktop, or to a new folder. That's it. Pretty simple stuff right? Simple and backing up should be an important part of your daily computing routine, like flossing teeth. The problem is not every one flosses their teeth everyday as they should and not everyone backs up their data every day. Even once a week would be a good thing to do.

Seagate has made it as easy as possible to backup your data, and with the advent of digital cameras, where there is no longer a physical thing called a negative, it is extremely important to get that digital shoebox backed up. By offering its FreeAgent hard drives with easy to use backup software, it becomes a no brainer to backup, even once a week, or at least every time you connect your digital camera or camcorder to your computer. And that doesn't even include such things as your Microsoft Office documents, financial files, and every other data file that you create yourself. If it s important, then you need to back it up.  Seagate has turned what is essentially a drab piece of hardware, the hard disk drive, into a sexy, glowing piece of hardware, and has backed it up with a five year warranty, which is unheard of, especially when most hard drives come with just a one year warranty. It is priced at $319 list, a bargain for a 1TB drive with a nice backup suite. For more infiormation, visit

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]

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