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Clickfree C6 Easy Imaging review: Clickfree C6 Easy Imaging

Clickfree C6 Easy Imaging

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Dong Ngo
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Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

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6 min read

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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.

clickfree-c6-easy-imaging-portable-backup-drive-500gb.png
8.0

Clickfree C6 Easy Imaging

The Good

The good-looking <b>Clickfree C6</b> offers a convenient way to back up and restore the entire system or user-selected files. The portable drive supports USB 3.0 and is very fast.

The Bad

The Clickfree C6 doesn't allow for manual recovery using Windows Explorer, nor does it feature FireWire or eSATA. The drive only works with Windows.

The Bottom Line

The Clickfree C6 would make an excellent portable storage and backup drive for any Windows user.

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
Weight 14.1 ounces
Capacity of test unit 500GB
OSes supported Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7
Software included Clickfree Backup software

Design
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.

Features
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.

The most powerful thing about the C6's restore function is the fact that you can use it as the boot device for the PC it's plugged into. To do this, you'll need to make the PC temporarily boot from the USB device. With most PCs, you can do this by tapping the F8 or F12 key during startup, or you can change the boot order to make the USB device the first boot device in its BIOS.

Note, however, that though the C6 supports USB 3.0, you'll need to plug it into a USB 2.0 port of the computer to boot from it. This is because most computers don't support booting from a USB 3.0 port.

Once you have successfully booted up using the C6 as the boot storage device, you'll be presented with a lot of options. You can restore the entire computer to an early state, and you can even pick the system state and user data state separately. For example, you can restore the computer's operating system and software to a point of two days ago when the system was running well, but the user data to its state as of today when you made the last changes before the computer crashed. On top of that you can also use this option to restore the entire system on a new hard drive, in case the old one dies or you want to move to a new hard drive that's larger and faster. Of course the restore points are only available when a backup was made at the time.

We were impressed by the level of comprehensiveness in regard to restoring. It's more than enough to make up for the fact that the drive doesn't offer backups for network computers and can't be restored using Windows Explorer, as mentioned earlier.

Performance
The C6 performed well in our testing, both with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. When used with USB 3.0, the drive registered 87.7MBps for writing, the fastest among portable USB external drives. In reading, it scored 103.4MBps, being about average in our tests. When used with USB 2.0, the C6 offered 28.8MBps and 33.1MBps in writing and reading, respectively, slightly above the average in our tests.

CNET Labs external hard-drive USB 3.0 performance scores (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Clickfree C6
103.4 
87.7 
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
104.9 
87.7 
LaCie FastKey
115.5 
87.1 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
101.9 
82.4 
IoSafe SoloPro
106 
77.1 

CNET Labs USB 2.0 external hard-drive performance scores (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
LaCie FastKey
36.6 
28.8 
Clickfree C6
33.1 
28.7 
IoSafe SoloPro
36.6 
28.7 
LaCie Minimus USB 3.0
36.5 
28.7 
Clickfree C2N
40.1 
28.2 
Seagate GoFlex Slim
37.3 
27.7 

Service and support
We don't expect that users would need much support for the Clickfree C6, and Clickfree doesn't offer much. The company states on its Web site that all backup drives are backed with a (frugal) one-year warranty and will only be considered for exchange if you include the original purchase receipt that gives the date of retail purchase. At the site, you can also download user manuals, but you can't download updates for the backup software.

Conclusion
We loved the Clickfree C6 for its fast performance, ease of use, and comprehensive system restore function. Add a more flexible Windows-based restoration method and a longer warranty and the drive would win our Editors' Choice Award. In its current state, however, the C6 still makes one excellent backup solution for Windows users.

clickfree-c6-easy-imaging-portable-backup-drive-500gb.png
8.0

Clickfree C6 Easy Imaging

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 9Performance 8Support 5