Trusted Reviews Examines the Seagate 400GB External Hard Drive

/TrustedReviews – The UK’s Premier Source for IT Reviews & News I’ve really been frustrated with external hard drives lately. I had a bunch of Maxtors and then some of them failed. And so I bought a Cobra, and now it has failed. Then I bought a couple of 500 gig LaCies and one of them was the worst performing drive I’ve ever seen. I took it back and got my money back.

I think I’m going to try this Seagate drive next. Trusted Reviews has given it a pretty good write up and I’ve heard positive things about Seagate drives in the past.

It is maddening how much difficulty I have to go through to back up my .mp3 files. I have all of my .mp3s organized in folders by band or artist letter, then by artist and then by album. When I try to copy the letter from one drive to my back up, inevitibly (on nearly every letter) I get an I/O device error that stops my copy job. No viruses, no spyware (at least according to MSFT’s own new software, Adaware and Spybot combined).

Why not have smarter OS software that says, hey, guess what, I can’t copy this file, should I just skip it and go on or should I abandon the whole copy job altogether. Of course this doesn’t happen nor is the I/O device error message in any way helpful. Instead I have to try to hunt through my folders to find where it left off. It also means that when I go to bed thinking that one of my 250gig drives will be backed up in the morning instead I’m greeted with the standard I/O device error about 10% of the way through the backup.

And why can’t the OS copy the software anyways? Is this some hidden DRM jedi mind trick? Why not have an OS that says, yes, I know something bad has happened to this file but guess what, I’m going to let you copy it anyway.

I get the same problems if I use my USB hub or connect directly in to the PC. I get the same problem on all four of my PCs. It really is frustrating and I’ve already lost a lot of my digital music over it. Hopefully Microsoft fixes this horrible way that Windows Explorer handles large copy jobs in Longhorn.

Trying to back up large amounts of digital media is still plagued with problems. I’m hoping that things go a little easier on me if I buy one of these Seagate drives.

Thanks, Digital Media Thoughts!

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  1. I agree, backing up lots of media is a pain. I’ve got an external Western Digital “Media Center” drive (don’t let the name fool you – it’s just got card readers built into it), which came with Dantz Retrospect backup software. It does a good job of doing nightly backups.

    Windows File Copy just isn’t very robust when copying large numbers of files, in my opinion. When it reaches one in the middle that fails, for some reason, the whole copy stops, and they you’re left with a partial copy. Then what? start over, or manually try to figure out what copied, and what didn’t.

    I’ve taken to using robocopy.exe, from the Windows 2000 resource kit, when I need to copy lots of files. Very robust. Check it out – might be useful for you.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Have you tried some kind of sync utility? I’m a mac guy and RSYNC would certainly do the trick, but I only know it works in OS X and other ‘Nix systems. There must be something that could do it for you on Windows…. sounds like Explorer just chokes.

  3. orcmid says:

    Hi Thomas. I have been setting up my computers to back up to each other, and this should work for you too. In Windows console mode, there is an XCOPY utility and it can be made to do backups pretty quickly. It can also be set to not bother backing up files that haven’t changed since they were last backed up.

    The other thing I do, is I keep a log of the backup in a text file by redirecting the console output to disk. That way, if there is a failure, I can read the log and know where it stopped and what the error was.

    Finally, I once had a lot of trouble doing large between-machine transfers, but it had to do with the screen savers and my firewall shutting down access to the net when the screen-saver came up. If your power management causes the local drive or display to wind down, that might be happening in your overnight runs too. But XCOPY does a much better job than running at the Windows level, and you already have it on your computer. If you want, I can post a sample batch file and you can see how to customize it for what you do.

    I don’t know about robocopy.exe, but it sounds like it should work well too.

  4. Dave says:

    As orcmid said, try xcopy. You amay consider it a step backwards, but I use this successfully to backup large directory structures, and using the /C (I think) switch means it carries on when errors occur.

  5. EZToms says:

    I use Syncback from it’s very powerfull, and does a great job for back & sync between drives, computer & ftp, the free version works just fine and the SE one adds some nice feature like the ability to copy protected files (Outlook PST files…), secure http://ftp...

    For simple explorer copy/move, I highly recommend supercopier, it replace the explorer copy/move with a enhanced version that can skip files if there’s a pb etc… it also give you transfert rate and I find it much reliable than the MS one.

  6. Derick says:

    Use the DOS, Luke.