The Clickfree C6 is a major upgrade to the Clickfree C2N from the same company. The new device adds the ability to back up the entire system. It also comes standard with USB 3.0 to offer a fast, robust, and complete portable backup solution. At a street prices of around $100 for the 500GB version and $140 for the 1TB version, the Clickfree C6 makes an easy recommendation for any Windows users who want to back up their computers.
|Drive type||External USB hard drive|
|Connector options||USB 2.0., USB 3.0|
|Available capacities||500GB, 1TB|
|Product dimensions (LWH)||6.8x4.9x1.7 inches|
|Capacity of test unit||500GB|
|OSes supported||Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7|
|Software included||Clickfree Backup software|
Compact and very good-looking, the Clickfree C6 seems like a typical portable hard drive, though it offers much more than just extra storage space. The drive has a Mini-USB 3.0 port and comes with one USB 3.0 cable that also works as the power cable.
Unlike the previous version, the C6 doesn't include a docking station, nor does it have a Y-shaped USB cable that uses two USB ports. Nonetheless, it works with all USB ports we tried. We didn't run into any cases where the port didn't provide enough juice to power the drive.
The Clickfree C6 is preconfigured with two partitions. One is formatted using the NTFS file system to store data and the other is a read-only CD-ROM emulated partition that contains the Clickfree Backup software. You can do whatever you want with the first partition, including reformatting it to support Mac OS (though the backup software works only with Windows), but you can't make changes to the second one. When it's plugged into a computer that's connected to the Internet, however, you have the option to update the Clickfree Backup software, if updates are available.
There's really nothing to setting up the device. The first time you plug it into a PC, the Clickfree Backup software will prompt to launch. For security reasons, you'll need to allow it to run. Once it's launched, you'll be greeted with a 30-second countdown before the software begins the first backup with its default settings. You can skip this countdown by clicking on "Start" or on "Options" to further customize the way the software performs the backup. Subsequent launches will give you the option to perform a restoration or view the backups that have been made.
As on the C2N, the C6's Clickfree Backup software categorizes data into different groups, such as Text Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Photos, and Music. This time, however, it has a new group called Windows and Programs for the operating system and software installed on the computer. This can be used if you need to restore the entire system. Unlike the C2N, the C6's software insists that you use its default settings for the initial backup, presumably to make sure the system can be restored in case of crash or virus infection. Nonetheless, advanced users can pick certain folders to be excluded from the backups. This helps reduce the size of the backup files, if you don't need to back up unimportant data.
Like all backup software, after the initial backup the C6 only backs up the changes to the system. The C6 supports backing up multiple computers, as long as it has enough storage space. It needs to be plugged into the computer that you want to back up, however. This is where it's slightly inferior to the C2N, which is capable of backing up all computers that are on a network while being plugged into just one of them. If you keep the drive plugged in, by default, it will keep automatically backing up the computer once a day at 3 a.m. The time and how frequently this scheduled backup runs can easily be changed using Clickfree Backup's options.
The C6 stores backups up in proprietary formats, which is slightly less convenient than how the C2N does it. This means you'll need to use Clickfree Backup to view and recover them. However, using a proprietary format to store backups is rather standard for backup solutions capable of imaging and restoring the entire computer.
Speaking of restoring, you can do this with the C6 by plugging the drive into a computer, waiting for its backup software to run, then clicking on Restore/Transfer. You'll have the options to recover files to the original location or copy them to a new place. You can also choose to browse or search for particular files using the backup software. We found that the search and the browsing functions were rather slow and limited. For example, when you find the file you're looking for, there's no option to drag and drop it to where you want to recover it. Instead you can only double-click to open it.