CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Clickfree C2 Portable Backup Drive review: Clickfree C2 Portable Backup Drive

The Clickfree C2 offers simple backup for PC or Mac, although regrettably not both.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read

Pretty much every portable hard drive we see in CNET Labs these days comes with some form of backup software. Some of it is quite good, and some of it less so, but it's not often the core selling point of the drive. Clickfree's C2 takes the opposite approach, selling itself first and foremost as an idiot-proof backup solution that more or less happens to come on a hard drive.


Clickfree C2 Portable Backup Drive

The Good

Very simple backup. Works on PC or Mac.

The Bad

Only backs up documents, not applications or operating system files. Can't be used on both a PC and a Mac at once.

The Bottom Line

The Clickfree C2 offers simple backup for PC or Mac, although regrettably not both.


The core C2 drive is housed in a shiny piano-black enclosure, which naturally enough means it's a grime magnet. Like the Hitachi SimpleTough it comes with an embedded USB 2.0 cable that snakes out of the back of the unit. We weren't that keen on that design in the SimpleTough due to concerns over long-term durability, but the C2 sidesteps that with a mini USB port on the base. It's primarily to allow it to slot into the supplied vertical docking station, but you could conceivably use it with a standard mini USB cable as well. The stand-alone drive is a single USB solution, but the dock comes with a Y cable that splits to allow one USB plug solely for drawing power if needed.

One side note on the system's design that we can't let pass is that it comes in very tough blister packaging. Have a sharp pair of scissors and a few choice expletives handy when you're opening up this particular drive.


The C2's bold claim on the back of the packaging is that there's no software to install or set up. That's because the backup utility runs off the drive itself. The "no installation" claim doesn't mean you just plug it in, however, but we'll get to that shortly. By default the drive is formatted as NTFS for Windows users. Plug it into a Mac and it'll offer to format it for HFS usage, or if you've got backups on it already, offer to transfer them off first. Clickfree sells the drives in various capacities. The unit we tested was the AU$129 250GB model, but AU$169 will score you 500GB and AU$179 nets you 1TB. At those prices, the 250GB model isn't particularly great value.


For a product called "Clickfree", it's surprising how many initial clicks you've got to do to get it up and running. Under Windows 7, you've got to click through the UAC, a Eula and then quickly again (with 34 seconds) if you want to alter the types of files it'll hunt down before starting its backup. That's a one-time process, thankfully, as future connections should see the system automatically identified and only newer files backed up, which should speed up proceedings. How long it takes to back up will depend on the number of files you've got to copy at a given time.

With our test PCs, backups finished within a few minutes, which is more than speedy enough for most basic consumer use. It's worth noting that the C2 only looks at document folders, not across the entire operating system. This isn't a system imaging product, but a simple document repository for your own photos, music, email, videos and documents.

You can use the same drive across multiple systems, space permitting, but one thing you can't do is back up a mixture of PC and Mac systems owing to the use of NTFS and HFS formats for each platform respectively. Plug a Windows C2 drive into a Mac and it'll need to format it, and vice versa, although if you do have backups on the drive it will at least offer to transfer them off beforehand.


Backup is, above all, tedious stuff. Once you get past the initial clicks, and as long as you're sticking to a single side of the Mac/PC fence, the Clickfree C2 makes it as easy as we've ever seen. Its single-minded focus on backup should stop you from using the drive for other purposes, which should increase its shelf life markedly. The simplicity of backup once configured should make it a no-brainer to use regularly, which is the step in backup that so many of us fail to do.