Backing up a computer can be tricky for many people, especially those who access data via the software applications without knowing where the actual data files or folders reside on the hard drive. I have some friends who used to believe that you could back up all your office documents just by dragging and dropping the icons of Microsoft Excel, Word, and Outlook over to an external hard drive.
This is where products such as the SimpleSave external hard drive series, like the SimpleSave Portable that Hewlett-Packard made available Monday, comes into play. (The other drive in the series, the SimpleSave desktop, will be available in September.)
The series is a collaboration between HP and Western Digital. The hard drive is just a simple USB-powered compact external hard drive, much like a My Passport external hard drive, but with HP branding and HP's SimpleSave feature built-in. This SimpleSave software only works with computers running Windows.
The SimpleSave external hard drive series make backing up your documents as easy as plugging the hard drive into your computer.
The only time you need to interact with the SimpleSave software is the one click it takes to accept its License Agreement. After that, the software will automatically look for data that needs backing up and save a copy of that on its external storage. The SimpleSave backup software, which resides on the external hard drive, runs by itself as soon as you plug the drive in. It shows a countdown before it performs each of its two simple steps, which you can interrupt in case you want to further customize the backup or start a recovery.
By default, the SimpleSave software automatically makes a copy of popular known data files, including hard-to-find ones such as the Outlook archive, which is buried deep in your profile folder. After the first full backup, it will only back up files that have been changed since the last backup. The backup is simply the duplicate of the original files, making restoring very fast and easy.
When I first tried the SimpleSave Portable on my work machine, I had to leave my desk for a meeting as soon as I clicked to agree with the License Agreement. By the time I returned, all 130GB of my data was backed up. (Check the included slideshow to see how the SimpleSave backup software works.)
The SimpleSave Portable has about the same data transfer speed of most USB-powered external hard drives. However, it's the first one that you can literally plug in and forget about it--and still be sure that your data will be properly backed up.
The SimpleSave Portable is available now and costs $120 for the 320GB version and $150 for the 500GB version. The 3.5-inch-based SimpleSave Desktop, which is bigger and require a separate power adapter, will come in two 1TB and 2TB variants that cost $150 and $330, respectively.