The upgraded drives come in aluminum casing, with new features such as expanded system backup, the ability to launch applications with the drive's main button and retooled power management.
Dubbed Maxtor OneTouch, the family of drives will make it easier for people to do the wise but oft-ignored task of backing up their computer, said Paul Streit, Maxtor manager for personal storage marketing.
"Most people don't get around to doing it," Streit said of backing up. "People tend to find it cumbersome."
The OneTouch line builds on Maxtor's Personal Storage 5000 product, which also allows for backing up a computer system with a push of a button. Computer users initially have to configure the backup feature to decide what to copy to the external hard drive. After that, touching the prominent button on the front of the drive launches a backup.
New to the OneTouch line is support for full system backups with older versions of Windows, as well as the ability to "dial back in time" to an earlier version of a backup, Streit said. That feature allows a computer user to base a system restoration on a backup that is free of corruption, he said.
Instead of using the drive's front button to initiate a backup, computer users can configure it to launch a file or application. Maxtor said this lets people turn the drive into a digital photo album, music jukebox or video player.
The drives have a range of storage capacities. At the lower end, a OneTouch drive with a 120GB hard drive is priced at $199. At the high end, Maxtor is pricing its 300GB OneTouch drive at $399.
Maxtor expects a major market for the new product to be graphics professionals who, for example, are using a desktop publishing program or are involved in digital video editing. Other potential buyers include home users looking to store photos or music, and business professionals interested in an office backup product, Maxtor said.
The drives are compatible with Windows machines, Macintosh computers or both, depending on the specific OneTouch model. They come with USB, FireWire or both.
Maxtor's product is likely to compete against external hard drives from Iomega that also come with backup and recovery capabilities. The OneTouch also will compete with CD and DVD recorders, Streit said.