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Clickfree Automatic Backup

By Milton Hooper

January/February 2009 Table of Contents


I hate doing my own backups. I know they are necessary but doing a backup every week or so seems to be a challenge. If you are like me and looking for an easier way to back up files on your computer, you might want to try Clickfree Automatic Backup. I recently found this backup drive offered on a shopping channel, and the sales pitch claimed that all you have to do is plug it into your USB port, and the files on your computer will be backed up with ease. To my surprise, it works just as advertised.

In my experience, this has been the easiest and quickest way to perform a backup. One of the great things about Clickfree is that there is no software to install and no setup required. Once connected, the pre-loaded software on the Clickfree drive scans your computer and will detect more than 350 different types of files — videos, photos, music, presentations, e-mails, word processing documents, spreadsheets and more.

Clickfree comes with a menu option containing settings you can use to customize your backup. Initially, it was not exactly “click free” for me because I customized the file types I wanted to back up. If you don’t choose to customize the file types, Clickfree will intuitively search for files on your computer. I also thought I might have some issues with my computer since I have a second hard drive, but Clickfee picked up this drive automatically. You either can select the default settings, or you simply can check the file types you want to include, and uncheck the types you want to exclude, in the backup process. The initial process takes longer since it backs up everything, but subsequent backups won’t take as long because Clickfree only stores changes made since the previous run. My initial backup took about 20 minutes, but now it can take less than five minutes a week. The duration also will depend on the number of files you have added since your last backup, as well as the sizes of those files. A status window shows the process so you can monitor what is happening, or you can use the time to get a cup of coffee. Once the backup has finished, it will display a summary report, which lists all of the different file types the device found and backed up. At this point, you either can disconnect the drive or you can view the files using the Clickfree menu. You can use the search menu to quickly locate files and ensure that the files you need safeguarded were backed up. With Clickfree, you also can save and protect data from up to 10 computers. After my backup was completed, I simply unplugged the drive and put it in a safe place until the next time I backed up my files.

One thing that might concern you is that the drive is lightweight and won’t absorb much abuse, such as the impact of dropping it. You definitely want to store the drive in a safe place — don’t just toss it in a desk drawer. Another potential issue and possible cause of concern for law firm users is that Clickfree doesn’t have any password protection or other features to keep your backup information secure.

One popular option that Clickfree doesn’t offer is scheduled backups. Most backup systems offer the option to perform backups at a specific time, usually in the middle of the night while you are away and your computer isn’t in use. With Clickfree, you have to pull it out of your storage area, and use it on a regular basis. In other words, you have to remember to manually connect the Clickfree drive to do your backups.

Despite its negative attributes, the Clickfree Automatic Backup is the easiest non-network backup system I have ever used. While most law firms with networked computers might already have a backup system in place, Clickfree enables you to back up files on any non-networked computer or on personal computers in a solo or small law office. The Clickfree drive essentially is a portable hard drive with two LEDs, one to display power and the other to show when the device is backing up files. In my uses, the drive was powered through its mini-USB connection, but not if plugged into a USB hub or USB extension cable. It must be plugged directly into an available USB slot. You also can use the included DC outlet port for an optional adapter, if needed. In the event of a hard drive crash or other computer-related tragedy, you can restore lost files back to your computer by simply plugging it in. You also can transfer your files to a new computer or share media files.

So, say goodbye to your backup headaches and the installation of complicated setup software for backups. All of your valuable data can be kept in a safe, convenient and readily accessible storage device when you need it most. If you work at home or use your home computer for work, Clickfree is a simple and affordable option. The Clickfree drive is a very convenient and portable solution for the non-IT professional to use for backing up files.



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