I just bought this exact model at Best Buy this week (it was on sale for $70), and I’ve been needing a new external hard drive to backup my laptop as well as our desktop at home. The price was right, and I like Seagate hard drives (the Western Digital drives that have come with our computers have all pooped out after a few years), so I bought it.
Recommend this product?
Part of the following review pertains to my experience with it on a laptop running Windows XP. I know that not everyone uses Windows, but much of the review is universally applicable. Before buying it, I read a few reviews and would like to correct some (possible) misconceptions.
(A) Many have complained that the glossy black finish on the case is a magnet for fingerprints. This may or may not be true, but there is also a rugged, dotted surface that covers both large sides of the case, as well as the side on the top, which you can easily grip with your fingers—and no, fingerprints don’t shine on it at all. It’s really not hard to grip and move this around.
(B) Many have complained that the installation software slows down their computer to a crawl. This very well might be true, but you don’t need to install the software at all, in order to use this external drive. I didn’t install it. Windows recognized it as a formatted drive. All you have to do is simply drag and drop your files. If you have a lot (I had 20 gigs to copy), you will most likely want to use a file transfer program or disk backup program---more on that later. But I just want to communicate that you don’t have to install the Seagate software (the installation files came already on the external drive). Now these installation files do take up a few hundred megs on the hard drive, but what’s a few hundred megs when you have a million of them (that’s what a terabyte is—1,000,000 megabytes)?
(C) Reviewers were saying that the Seagate software was set up to be running 24/7, and could copy your files from your computer to the GoFlex as soon as you created them. I don’t really need or want this service, and so I didn’t install it. But I did want to let others know about this possibility.
Early reviews said that this drive doesn’t come with a USB cable. I bought this on April 13, 2011, and it came with its very own USB 3.0 cable, so no worries there.
It is easy enough to use. You just plug in the USB cable, and the power cable (it is separate), and after about 30 seconds, Windows (I’m running XP on my laptop) recognized it and told me that the new drive was ready to be used.
As far as the drive itself is concerned, the case feels rather sturdy. What it replaced was a cheap $20 case that I put an internal hard drive in, and it stood very wobbly, on a small plastic grip. This GoFlex, however, is just the opposite—it stands quite firmly on the table, and you don’t imagine it tipping over whenever you look at it. It stands on one of its short sides. It also seems a bit heavier and more sturdy than the lightweight aluminum case that I have used in the past.
The case has only two plugs—one for the USB cable (the other end of which fits into any standard computer USB port), and the other for the power adapter. The USB cable that came with mine is 3.0 (which of course, fits any USB port on a computer), and you can see the mini-connector that plugs into the case itself is a different type of USB connector—it looks like two small ones that have been welded together.
There isn’t even an on-off switch. As soon as you plug in the power adapter, its on.
Just keep in mind that if you have a lot of data, it will take a long time to copy over. I have about 19 gigs of files—not a lot by any means, but it took just over 8 hours to copy from my laptop to the GoFlex. Don’t plan on getting this done quickly.
If you are considering buying an external hard drive for your backups, I’d strongly recommend this. It really is fairly simple to use.
One last thing—in case you aren’t familiar with backup software, and don’t want to use the software that many have complained about. You can use any backup software to copy the files over. I use SyncBack for backups, and this program can also copy files onto an empty hard drive like this GoFlex. I actualy used another program, TeraCopy, thinking that it would be faster than SyncBack, but it wasn't.
Now for my monthly backups, I don’t use TeraCopy, but another freeware program called SyncBack. I’ve used SyncBack for a couple of years at least, and it is very easy to configure and use. If you are wondering what program to perform your backups with, I’d recommend SyncBack for a few reasons. it lets you save your settings, so each time you back up, you only have to open up SyncBack, select the Profile you want to run, and then click on the Run button. You can easily configure it—if you want SyncBack to delete files on your backup drive that are no longer on your main/source drive it can do that; or you can tell SyncBack to leave those files alone on the external drive. When you do your backup jobs, it only will copy over (to the external drive) the files that are new, or only the old files that have changed. In other words, this 8-hour-long file transfer is a one-time event. Next time, it will only take a few minutes.
Now I’m not claiming that SyncBack is the only backup program that has those three features---most do nowadays. But like I said, its easy to use and if you are looking at an external drive for the first time, and aren’t sure what software to use, I’d strongly encourage giving SyncBack a try.
I guess part of the reason why I like this so much is that it was so much easier for me to use, than the unit it replaced. I got an internal hard drive and a cheap $20 hard drive shell, and had a tough time fitting it in, and then keeping it steady while it was turned on. I did regret buying the cheapest product I could find. I sure didn't regret this GoFlex purchase!
Other reviewers said that it has a speed of 5400, although I couldn’t find anything on the packaging to confirm this.