|Seagate FreeAgent Go 640GB External Hard Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Hank Tolman - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 10 December 2009|
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FreeAgent GO Detailed Features
The FreeAgent GO is extremely light and thin. It weighs just over 1/3 of a pound, about 5 ounces, and is only half an inch thick. The top and bottom plates on the FreeAgent GO are metal, rather than the usual plastic casing on other external drives. This gives the drive a nice look and feel, and also seems more protective of the insides of the FreeAgent GO. At the same time, the plates are not attached as securely as I would like to the plastic center of the drive casing. As I was taking the FreeAgent GO from one room to another and the top plate got caught on my sleeve. No permanent damage to drive or sleeve was experienced, but I was concerned that plates weren't securely fastened to the rest of the body.
The FreeAgent GO comes preloaded with Seagate Manager software that will autorun when you first plug in the drive. The software is very inclusive and provides a lot of options for the drive. While the software used to only work on 32 bit operating systems, Seagate has updated it and it now works with 64 bit operating systems as well. I know that many people don't like to deal with software pre-loaded on the external drives, as they simply want to get right to using the drive as extra storage. In the case of the Seagate Manager software on the FreeAgent GO drives, I highly recommend actually installing the software. Though it only works with Seagate drives, it will really help you manage the drive and, in particular, the drive settings. By simply deleting the program and not installing it, you are forced to run the drive with the default settings. I used the software to turn off the pulsing lights (they were lulling me to sleep), and to stop the drive from shutting down after an adjustable amount of inactive time. The settings portion of the software also has a program to test the drive.
In addition to the drive settings, the software that comes with the FreeAgent GO allows you to easily back up files and folders, or an entire drive. A simple or a custom backup can be performed. The simple backup copies the Personal folder that you choose every day at a specified time. The custom backup allows you to choose which files and directories you want backed up and how often. The backup settings are defaulted to backing up your entire C: drive on a daily basis. I quickly turned this option off. Another option the Seagate Manager software gives you is that of syncing certain folders between your drive and as many computers as you may use it on. The simple and custom options of the Syncing process are the same as for the backup process.
The software on the FreeAgent GO also gives you the opportunity to encrypt the files on the drive. The encryption tool is software based, and doesn't require the software to be installed on the computer the drive is connected to. However, since it is software based, the actual drive itself is not encrypted, just the files. Still, providing this service for a portable drive that may be used for transporting sensitive files is a big step in the right direction. Seagate previously offered the Ceedo program with their software package that users to actually install and run programs directly from the drive, but this program is absent in the Seagate Manager software.
Really, the software is something that really sets the Seagate FreeAgent GO apart from the competition. The broad scope of utilities provided by the software really makes the FreeAgent GO a portable, secure, and versatile drive. I have been able to easily, and very quickly, consolidate all of my music, pictures, and videos onto the drive, which I don't mind carrying back and forth throughout the house or even to work due to its compact size. The FreeAgent GO uses very little powered and can be used with only a single USB port. The older versions of this drive required the use of two USB ports, or an AC Adapter. That's another main advantage of the FreeAgent GO over my older Western Digitial My Book. To move the drive, I don't have to carry around a lot of cords. The 6" USB cable that came with the drive is all I need.
Recently, I went on a trip with my family and our drive time was upwards of 12 hours one way. I built a PC into my car a while ago, so we just loaded up the FreeAgent GO with movies and music and plugged it in during the drive. My family was able to enjoy movies during the trip and I always had good music available, even when no radio signal could be found. Prior to the FreeAgent GO, an iPod was the closest thing to portable media that had ever really been feasible for me. Even once we got to our destination, we were able to easily share home videos and pictures with relatives by carrying around something no larger than the palm of my hand.