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Issue #395: Feb 15–21, 2015

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Q: I’m considering using a 4Tb Seagate Central drive as my personal cloud for data storage for all my computers and mobile devices. Any suggestions on how to “easily” backup the data to another drive?

– Terry P.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A: That’s very forward-thinking of you, Terry.  Let’s be sure everyone knows what you’re talking about before we proceed.  “Central” is the name of a product line of NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices currently being produced by Seagate.  These drives are ridiculously inexpensive considering their function and capacity, with the 4 terabyte model available for under $160.  They simply connect to your home network, and after a it of configuring, provide the ability to access your data in a cloud-like manner, meaning from anywhere on the Internet.  Notice that I said “cloud-like”.  There’s a reason for that, which I’ll cover below.

When we talk about storing data in “the cloud”, we’re generally talking about a server somewhere on the Internet from which the data is accessible via any Internet-enabled device.  The Seagate Central certainly fits that definition, but unlike professionally maintained cloud solutions, this drive is not itself backed-up anywhere.  It does not use any RAID technology to provide redundancy, instead, relying on a single hard disk, which, at some point will (not “might” – will) fail.  That means, you’re playing a form of Russian Roulette with your backed-up data.  If the drive fails, and it contains only back-ups, that’s not so bad, but if it has the only copy of any important files, they’ll likely be gone forever.

As far as accessing your data from anywhere, don’t expect to get a drive letter that floats with you wherever you go.  Access to the device is done via a web browser on computers, or a mobile app for smartphones and tablets.  It’s important to remember that outside your home network’s firewall, you’re using the bandwidth to and from your ISP to access the data.  Most home high-speed Internet plans have a significantly slower data rate for data leaving your network than for data coming in. So, there will probably be a lag on incoming data when you’re remotely accessing.  You’ll also be limited by the speed of the network connection you have on the distant end.

Your real question was about easily backing up data.  The software that you install with the Seagate Central has back-up capability built right in.  If you don’t want to use that, when you’re accessing the device on your home network you will see it in Explorer under “Network Drives”.  It’s a relatively simple matter to set-up a network drive letter to the device’s built-in Public folder.  From there you access it as if was physically attached to your computer.  In that mode, backing up your data is as simple as a drag/drop or copy/paste operation, or you can use any commercial back-up software, including the one built-into Windows.

Important announcement from the Shameless Plug Division of Geek Central: Don’t forget that throughout the month of February we’re running a contest over at my website, (not .com!).  You could win one of three 1-year licenses to Iolo Technologies’ System Mechanic, a $49.95 value.  All you need to do to enter is submit a question to the column, nominate a site for the Geek’s Website of the Week, or comment on one or more of the articles (including this one).  I’ve been putting a lot of work into the site lately, and am looking to increase the number of people who use it, so stop on by!

The Geek’s Website of the Week!

Name: Google Doodles

Nominated By: The Geek


Description: Have you ever noticed that every now and then on a holiday, anniversary, or famous person’s birthday, that the Google logo gets replaced with a special page or logo to commemorate the day? Google calls these “Doodles”. Have you ever been in too much of a hurry to stop and look at one, promising yourself to get back there, only to forget about it, and then it’s gone?

Well as usual, the Internet has the answer to your dilemma. Meet the Google Doodle archive. It contains every one of the over 2000 Doodles ever created dating all the way back to 1998. There’s even a special link to all the interactive Doodles — games, videos, and toys. You’re welcome.

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2 Responses to “Issue #395: Feb 15–21, 2015”

  • GLAZER012 says:

    I just want to say I just read this article about the Seagate 4TB Central. I feel it is Ironic that I just hooked mine up last night and literally my first backup was completed about 15 minutes before I read this. I found it quite easy to configure the drive and users of the drive. Windows backup worked like a champ and it was as easy as backing up to my old USB external drive. I got the Seagate because I wanted something that all the computers in the house could backup to. Seagate has a great solution to this problem with the Seagate Central.

    • The Geek says:

      I hope Terry P. sees your response! One way of finding out whether a product is worthwhile is to “Ask the man who owns one.” Thanks for your input.


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