Backup for Dummies

clickfree.jpgEveryone’s heard of, or experienced firsthand, computer crash (with no backup) horror stories; tearful, frustrated tales of valuable work lost and precious digital family photos and videos never to be seen again. Thankfully though, the onerous nature of backups is a thing of the past thanks to the ridiculously easy to use ClickFree HD801 device. Read on for my review of this must-have gadget, as well as to learn how to win a Clickfree HD801!

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I’ve always been someone with an absurd amount of data at hand: experimental stimuli and data files as an academic, art files and documents as a designer and writer/editor, and - of course – scores of space hogging digital photos and videos as a parent.

And through it all, I have - until recently - wrestled with backup solutions. Backing up data is a tedious task whose importance is underscored by computer crash (with no backup) horror stories, and whose manual file selection challenges can – even with the best intentions – result in similar horror stories (such as in graduate school, when a research assistant tried to help me backup my data and instead deleted several months of progress on my dissertation).

Over the years I have experimented with various backup solutions as technology has evolved: floppy disks (yes, you read that right), Zip drives, CDs, memory sticks, external hard drives… But even as media space has expanded to accommodate my bulging digital archives, I have always found the process of selecting files (and trying to remember which files I haven’t touched in a while and can skip to save backup time) so onerous that I end up procrastinating and ultimately not backing up as frequently as someone so data reliant should.

All of this changed, however, when I got my hands on the ClickFree HD801. This sleek little device is a 160GB external hard drive with integrated backup software (meaning, no installation required) that automatically backs up your files (specifically, over 350 file types including photo, video, art, documents, etc.) when you plug it in via USB. The Clickfree organizes your files into categories (photos, music, e-mail, etc.) and is capable of backing up and tracking files separately for 10 computers, making it a great solution for multi-computer households like ours. On subsequent backups, the Clickfree smartly identifies and will backup only new files so the overall process doesn’t take as long. It truly couldn’t be any easier.

A couple of issues to note: First, the Clickfree currently works for those using Windows 2000, XP, and Vista; Apple compatibility apparently is in the works for 2009. Second, the Clickfree doesn’t backup program and system files, in order to minimize the potential threat of backing up files that are infected by viruses or other malware. I note this as an issue because I use Eudora for e-mail and Palm software for organization, which means the data for these programs (which reside in the system program files) does not get backed up. However, separately backing up my Eudora and Palm data is a small inconvenience compared to the enormous peace of mind this device brings … especially on days when my laptop sounds like it’s laboring and may crash and burn at any minute.

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Congrats to winner Erin M.!
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Now, want to win a Clickfree HD801 device? Here’s how:

  • Visit the Clickfree store locator page, then email (with ‘Clickfree’ in the subject), and name a store where you can purchase the Clickfree.

  • One entry permitted per person; US & Canada entrants welcome to enter.

  • Entry period closes at midnight EST, Monday, November 10, 2008.

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    And for those who wish to shop now: The folks over at Clickfree also kindly are offering $25 off the HD701 or HD801 when purchased through the Clickfree on-line store. Use code cfr3312 at checkout.

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