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Data backup: Top portable drives for home users (roundup)

Here are CNET editor Dong Ngo's Top 5 storage devices that make backing up easy for home users.

Having up-to-date backups of your data is like insurance, we all need it and at the same time never want to have to resort to it.

Though backing up data is not required by law, the consequences of not doing it are often so huge that it's fair to call those who don't frequently back up their important data, well, reckless, irresponsible, or just simply foolish. The truth is, when you realize that the originals of your important documents or photos are gone because of a hard-drive crash or losing your laptop, being called names is the least of your worries.

Now there's an easy fix. Here's a list of our top portable hard drives that make backing up data a no-brainer. Take a look and get yourself one if you don't already have a backup solution in place.

HP Portable Hard Drive
As simple as its name, this drive offers up to 1TB of storage space, fast USB 3.0, and HP SimpleSave backup software that, as long as you leave the drive plugged in, will take care of backing up all important data whenever the computer is idle. There's literally nothing else you need to do other than plug it in and run the backup software. Read the full review.

WD My Passport Studio (Fall 2011)
This is the latest in WD's My Passport Studio family; it replaces the version released in 2010. The new drive now boasts an all-metal, scratch-resistant design and provides multiple connectivity options, including two FireWire 800 ports and a USB 2.0 port. The reason it doesn't feature USB 3.0 is simply that Mac computers don't offer this option. With up to 1TB of storage space and very fast performance via FireWire 800, the drive makes a great portable backup option for use with Time Machine, especially for Macs that don't yet support Thunderbolt. Read the full review.

Clickfree C6
This is the latest backup portable drive for home users and it's arguably the best one for the technology-challenged. The drive's backup software runs by itself and makes a daily backup if it's kept plugged in. You can recover files using its software when Windows is running, and you can also use it as a boot drive to restore the entire system in case of drive crash or virus infection. On the downside, it doesn't support Macs. Read the full review.

Hitachi Touro Mobile Pro
This is one of the sexiest portable drives to come with backup software, and that software works via a click of the mouse. Plus, the drive includes 3GB of online backup storage for free. The drive works with both Macs and PC. Read the full review.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable
This drive's included Memeo backup software, though not as easy to use as that of the Clickfree C6 or the HP Portable Hard Drive, works as intended out of the box. On top of that, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable is by far the most flexible portable drive. More-experienced users can use its swappable adapter with other internal drives in case they need to recover data from the drive of a broken laptop. It's also a perfect drive to use with Apple's Time Machine, while remaining friendly with Windows thanks to its included software that allows the drive to work with both platforms, regardless of what file system it's formatted in. Read the full review.

Clickfree C2N
Another portable backup device from Clickfree, the C2B is as easy to use as the C6 and can back up multiple computers in the same network while plugged into just one of them. The device, however, can't back up and restore the entire system--merely the files and folders. It works with both Macs and PCs. Read the full review.