Anybody who has ever had their computer crash on them and lost precious irreplaceable files knows just how important it is to back your computer up. The more backups the better. Not only does backing your computer up protect you from when (not if) your computer will have a complete meltdown, it also gives you the peace of mind knowing that your files are safe even if you accidentally delete them.
For many computer users, however, backing up their computer is a difficult and intimidating task. So they don’t do it and hope for the best. The HP Portable SimpleSave hard drive is HP’s answer to this issue. It is intended to make the entire backup process simple, painless, and almost hands-free. Essentially it is trying to be Apple’s Time Machine for PC users (note: it is NOT usable on a Mac). The SimpleSave does a pretty good job of being a handsfree backup solution, though it does have a couple shortcomings.
Really, backing up your hard drive with the SimpleSave couldn’t be much easier. It’s as simple as plugging in the hard drive, starting the HP Launcher software, and letting it run. You only click once to accept the user agreement and it does the rest. Restoring your files is just as easy, and you can choose to restore individual folders, or your entire computer. We especially liked how it could back up multiple computers and the files were stored uncompressed on the hard drive so you can easily go through them and grab certain things you need quickly.
However, the software does not do a carbon copy of your hard drive. It only backs up certain file extensions. The list of extensions is… extensive and this is usually no problem. The software backs up almost every extension an average computer user could want, over 330 out of box. Common files like music, photos, documents, and emails will all be saved automatically and easily. However if you work with a more specialized or uncommon kind of file type, then there is a chance it won’t automatically recognize the file type and not back it up. You can go into the options and add that file type, however, it is not at first obvious that one would even need to do that. In addition there are file names and folder tree length restrictions, so if you have some files deeply nested in your hard drive they may not be picked up either. Since the software works by saving only certain file types and folders, it can’t be used to restore an entire system.
The drive itself is sleek, piano black, and minimalist. It requires only the included USB cable to run and power it. With a single blue light and an HP logo, the design is as simple as the software, and its tiny footprint makes it easy to transport. The drive can also be used as a drag and drop drive if you desire.
The entire Simple Save backup process is designed to run in the background or while your computer is idle. It’s not particularly fast- If you have a 60-80 gigabyte hard drive, expect the backup process to take at least 2-3 hours to run the first time. This is normal with any backup software though the first time. Afterwards backups are much more speedy. However that is not a big deal since performance isn’t really an issue with a hard drive intended for back up purposes.
The HP SimpleSave Hard Drive is great for the average consumer in need of a no-brainer back-up solution. For the average user it does its job very well of making the backup process quick and pain free. For the more advanced user there are perhaps some limitations that could cause issues. Although in reality a more advanced user likely knows how to back their entire computer up anyway and won’t require the automated software that comes on the hard drive.
If you or a loved one is operating a computer and not backing it up, give them the gift of a HP SimpleSave Hard Drive and let them sleep a little easier at night. The HP SimpleSave 320 GB retails for $74.99 and the HP SimpleSave 500 GB retails for $102.99 at Amazon.
The Good: Automatic, easy to use, and everything an average computer user could want.
The Bad: Advance back up isn’t as easy as it could be. No Mac client