The Amacom IOdisk, as supplied, is a 40GB hard drive that comes in a stylish leather wallet with a USB2 cable. It is a simple enough concept but also an exceedingly powerful one. Copy anything on your desktop or notebook hard drives to the IOdisk and take it away with you. The device is, literally, shirt pocket size and fits neatly into a briefcase in its leather wallet. Installation on a Windows XP desktop was simplicity itself; plug the USB 2 cable into the device and to a system cabinet and wait a few seconds. Power goes to the device through the cable, XP recognises it and then it's ready for use. Find it in My Computer, click on it and then drag and drop files to it. You can obviously delete files from it too and a red status light on the device flickers to indicate what's going on. The disk inside is a Toshiba unit, which is quiet and gives out subdued clicks now and again when files are being written, read or deleted. A CD contains user documentation and additional drivers. The 8-page manual is in Acrobat format and deals mostly with installation matters. There are three immediate uses for the drive that come to mind. Firstly, it is a great file and folder transfer device. Forty gigabytes is a generous amount of space; large PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, media files and application software can be stored and taken to customer premises or branch offices. Secondly, it is a quick and easy backup device. Amacom FlipBack software is sold separately. Even without it backup is practical. All my professional work is organised on my desktop inside one umbrella folder. This can be dragged to the device in one operation. USB 2 means the transfer takes place quite quickly, at up to 40MB/sec. Now I have a practical and utterly convenient way to backup my data files every week. It takes minutes in comparison to the hours needed by tape. It's faster than burning the files to a CD or DVD, as well as holding more, and requires much less hard disk space for the operation. Mounting the device is fast and restoring files is drag-and-drop simplicity; much faster than a restore off either CD or tape. The idea of having a tape drive backup system for my desktop PC now goes away. It is just not necessary unless you have huge amounts of data to backup. If there is more than 40GB to transfer then simply - that word again - compress it using XP or PKZIP and store compressed data. The IOdisk is also a practical backup device for my notebook, which, currently, is backed up infrequently to my desktop. The IOdisk can be plugged in and disconnected as needed; it is hot-swappable and supported on Macs as well as PCs. Another use of the drive is to augment internal storage. It immediately doubled the total disk storage on my desktop. As a disk drive it can be scanned, cleaned and defragmented like any other hard drive. The leather wallet holds the USB cable and there is no need for an external power supply, however the USB cable-fed power needs backing up with a power feed from the mouse port on my desktop, otherwise the disk doesn't work. A cable for this is supplied. Amacom provides IOdisks with capacities ranging from 20 to 80GB. The leather wallet provides insulation against knocks and bumps when it is being transported. The IOdisk is vastly more useful for transferring data, etc. than keyfob-sized USB flash memory devices with their insignificant capacities. It is faster than tape for backup and restore, especially restore, and holds much more than a CD or DVD. This kind of technology promises to revolutionise desktop PC and notebook backup regimes by making the safeguarding of data much more convenient.
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