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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    External USB Drives

    I bought myself an early, early Christmas present of two new USB drives to replace the somewhat smaller capacity two I currently have. After shopping around at prices, I stuck with Buy.Com since I've bought from them for several years and I trust them. Anyway, I bought two of these Seagate 500 gig babies: Seagate FreeAgent Desktop 500GB USB. I've only setup one yesterday and I was impressed that it took less than a minute for XP to pop it into my already open Windows Explorer window. This model is pre-formatted with NTFS and contains some unnecessary software that I just archved to get it out of my way. The long amber LED is a wasted eye candy - a "normal" sized indicator light would have served just as well.

    I don't know how speedy these will be compared to my older ones. In archiving the included software, I used Shadow Protect to "image" the drive onto another drive and the 145 meg of included software backed up so quickly I didn't even have time to take a swallow of my afternoon beer! New hardware is fun for someone like me who, in retirement, no longer builds or repairs machines. Other than tinkering with my own, the only work I get to do is an occasional fix-it for one of the employees at the nursing home. I've got a downed-HP desktop here now that won't power on and I've got no spare power supplies to test it (trial-and-error) with.

  2. #2
    Bronze Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Hi Al

    Sounds like you are happy with your purchase. I have a question regarding the on/off switch for the Seagate - what is your opinion of the efficiency of this switch? I also have a Seagate with a static switch <I think that's what they call it> which I can never get to work. The only time my HD turns off is when I power down my computer. There are times when I'd like to turn the HD off without going through power down. When I wrote to Seagate, the "fix" was to rub my feet on carpet to generate static and then press the switch! Crazy. I would appreciate your observations. Thanks!


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    This model strangely enough has no power switch and I don't know why. I've never wanted to turn off the two I'm replacing, but one has a toggle switch and the other a push button that has to be held in for several seconds. I only yesterday used it for the first time when I removed it. Sorry I can't advise on that static switch as I've no experience with it. All of mine have been Seagates so far and it looks like they've used a switch strategy that doesn't last too long, doesn't it?

  4. #4
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Hi Al,

    I've attached a pic of my Seagate's switch so you can see what I am referring to. I'd like to add that I am very happy with Seagate.

    I've reformatted mine because I wanted to use it with my iMac. I decided to partition it so I could save from my MacBook laptop as well. And then as an added bonus, I added an "Airport Supreme" base station <yep - gift to me from me! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> > so I could attach the Ext HD to it via the USB port for easy access for both my Macs. I am happy with my setup. I very seldom want to turn the HD off so I doubt that I'll wear the switch out. Oddly enough, today when I tried turning the HD off before updating this post, it shut down perfectly! My pointer finger must be full of static! <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Big Al,

    The reviews of the Seagate 500GB are impressive. But I was curious about the software that comes with the drive. What is it supposed to do? (I have True Image and I'm not fully satisfied with it.)

  6. #6
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: External USB Drives

    You might have the FreeAgent "Pro". As far as I know, the FreeAgent "Desktop" line does not have a power switch. You have to use the system tray (notification area) "safely disconnect" widget to power down the drive. I recommend always doing this with all FreeAgent drives, as simply restarting Windows sometimes leaves them in a confused state (on, but inaccessible).

  7. #7
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: External USB Drives

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by jscher2000 on 02-Oct-08 18:15. Whoops)</P>Edit: The below is incorrect. That software came with a different Seagate product and is NOT included with the FreeAgent Desktop line.

    I bought the FreeAgent Desktop 500GB drive a couple years ago and it came with BounceBack Express. This software can be scheduled to create a synchronized copy of your files on the backup drive. Essentially it laboriously catalogs all the files on your hard drive and, if it does not find a match on your backup drive, it copies it there. It does not take the extra step of clearing out any files you might have deleted from your hard drive, so when you reorganize folders, you do end up with duplication. On the other hand, if you deleted things accidentally from your main drive, they still exist in your backup.

    BounceBack Express is not a substitute for an imaging product, because it cannot easily be used to rebuild your system. But it seems reliable enough that I haven't bought anything else.

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Thanks. But as I queried Big Al, what is the software included with the FreeAgent?

  9. #9
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Yes, it is a Free Agent Pro model. I use it on my Macs so I cannot use the system tray to unmount the partitions. I generally use the Mac disk utility and unmount the drive with it. I totally agree that simply shutting down or unplugging a drive which isn't properly disconnected/unmounted, will end up with disastrous loss of data at some point in time.

    I don't use any backup software provided by Seagate since my Macs cannot utilize it. There is backup software <called Backup> provided on my Mac systems which I have used but I am not totally satisfied with it. I have manually saved important items to my external HD as well as CD/DVDs just to be certain the data doesn't disappear. I'm still looking for decent inexpensive backup software for Macs.


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Well, all this dialogue in these posts is gonna force me to check again. All I saw was something about adding a tray icon and I KNOW I don't want another icon in the tray to tell me about every hard drive. I already have the "Safely Remove..." icon. I also saw something in the skim-through read I did, like "... OK, now you can backup ..." etc. and my brain snapped shut because I already use Shadow Protect. Later today I'll dig out the software and see what it is... More later.

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    <hr>...simply restarting Windows sometimes leaves them in a confused state... <hr>
    Are you talking about "routine" reboots of the computer, for whatever reason? Lordy, that will be bad. I boot my machine just about every morning, either to change from XP to Vista or just to "clear its head" and make a fresh start.

  12. #12
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    I dug the software back out and ran the installer. Seagate calls it simply Drive Manager and it appears to have three functions:

    1) There's an icon in the tray for disconnecting the drive(s). Not needed if you use Windows utility provided for such purpose.
    2) Drive sleep and power settings. Also not needed if you use Windows to manage those things.
    3) A backup program that doesn't say so, but I believe it to be a file level backup. I'm not going to try running it, for I already plan to stick with Shadow Protect.

    The Seagate web pages contain this short description:
    <hr>This is backup software for the drive. It also provides an interface to adjust the built-in sleep timer on the drive and includes diagnostic software. This software was not included with early versions of the drive, but will work with those drives. <hr>
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Many thanks for checking. <img src=/S/thankyou.gif border=0 alt=thankyou width=40 height=15>

  14. #14
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: External USB Drives

    By the way, Seagate just refreshed its FreeAgent line, so the Desktop and Pro models should be available at clearance prices. You might find a real bargain. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

  15. #15
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: External USB Drives

    Boy, maybe I already did. The price I paid at the link in my first post was $89 USA and going to that link just now shows $113. Price waffling, as bad as gasoline; looks to be the same model I got.

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