The settings can be easily adjusted, although the only, slightly unnerving, way into the options menus is to interrupt the back-up countdown, after the Traveler’s been plugged in. Files can then be selected by category to exclude from the backup. These categories, which include headings like Documents, Videos, Music and Financial, can span all the drives on the target machine, but you can also select by drive, or by individual folders within those drives’ trees.
Spatial awareness: handy overview of backup space usage
The Clickfree software is well-written and easy to navigate. It includes helpful displays, showing the exact number of files in each category copied from each machine and a pie-chart of how the contents of the drive breaks down by machine backup.
The Clickfree software also auto-updates to the drive whenever you plug it in, as long as it can get to the Internet, so you should be running the latest version all the time. The same drive can be plugged into PCs and Macs, so you could use the device to transfer files in bulk from one platform to the other. You can restore individual files, folders, drives or complete backups and view files in situ within a backup.
The Clickfree drives don’t do encryption or compression, which fits with the ethos of keeping things simple; the files you back up are there to get at without special software. However, if you’re being encouraged to take your back-up device around with your laptop, then more advanced customers will bemoan the lack of encryption, with Clickfree’s password protection being the only security option, which should satisfy most users.
Easy backup for Macs and PCs on the move
To test the backup speed, we plugged the Clickfree Traveler into our test desktop, where it spotted 4,318 files (2.45GB) just crying out for duplication. It took 25m51s to do this, which is pretty slow. To compare, we ran exactly the same backup on the 120GB Clickfree Portable hard disk drive we reviewed last year. This test took 9m20s, not much over a third of the time. Both tests were run as new back-ups, using the same version of the Clickfree software, updated fresh before we started.
The quality of memory in an SSD is much higher and has a greater write-cycle tolerance than a USB drive (writing is balanced across the whole memory in the SSD, for a start). Where would the market for SSDs have come from, otherwise? A USB drive is no replacement for an SSD in this application.
@Hayden Clark I think you'll find most PCs DO have autorun enabled. If they don't it's a one-off change before you start using something like the Clickfree.
@Tony Barnes I agree. Thought it might be the USB 2 interface which was bottle-necking it, but it should bottle-neck the HD version as much. Queried it with the manufacturer, but they have no test results to confirm or refute ours. At least, none they were prepared to share.
I think the implementation of the SSD version is flawed, particularly on speed, but making back-up REALLY simple is a *very good* idea. The comment about using xCopy /s /d highlights where most Reg Hardware readers come from. Fine if you know that a) Windows has a command prompt, b) how you get at it, c) That MSDOS provides a library of commands they used to use to control their computers 20 years ago and d) that those commands have a series of non-intuitive, single-character switches you can attach to modify the actions of the commands.
Use a memory stick - it's cheaper!
16G for £80 ?!!! WTF is wrong with a memory stick? I bought an 8G one for about a tenner! and it's just as portable. Just a pointless gimmic.
Sorry, I didn't miss the point, I failed to make my own clearly. I wasn't disagreeing that a simple, automatic backup solution is a good idea, merely that the price was very high for what was provided.
And presumably those sales people work for a company with an IT department in which case the responsibility for backup should already be decided and fully automatic procedures in place. I think putting sensitive sales information in your wallet is probably a bad idea unless it is encrypted as mentioned by AC above because wallets are very frequently stolen. Of course most companies don't encrypt anything at all so I realize that this might take a bit more work to put in place.
Anyway how does it know what to copy? It can hardly be fully automatic because most people's computers have more data on them than would fit, especially on the SSD version. So the user must inevitably have to specify what to copy. So it is definitely not as simple as plugging it in.
The xCopy scripts that I mentioned are something that I demonstrate to my colleagues and even those who actively dislike computers manage to use them.