The Seagate folks recently sent me a pair of devices to check out, including Replica – their newer, sleek and slim bundled hardware+software PC backup solution. I wasn’t sure I’d find time to play with it before the big move, but Melissa’s Dell Studio XPS 13 has been in need of some TLC. Her laptop rocks, other than early lockups which I cleared with a few Dell updates, and is by far the fastest 13″ computer (Mac or PC) I’ve ever used. However, at some point, the Vista install was corrupted. (I’m guessing a non-graceful shutdown, but the jury’s still out on the root cause.) The boot sequence has been full of errors and we’ve been unable to install any software, such as iTunes.
My plan had been to backup her computer using Replica as a precaution and then upgrade the XPS to Windows 7. As it turns out, Vista was so hosed I couldn’t even get Replica working. So, we rolled the dice and went for a Vista -> Win7 upgrade with merely a file copy to USB. I figured we had a 50/50 chance of an in-place upgrade working, without requiring a clean install. Fortunately, it went smoothly and all Windows errors/issues have been resolved. Although, we ended up with a non-functional version of Trend Micro under W7 – now replaced with the Microsoft Security Essentials beta.
The Replica install and config was ridiculously simple/automated, taking just a moment or so. Attach drive, let it update itself, backup of primary partitions begins. I guess the only complaint I could have is completing the required (?) registration splash screen before kicking it all off. Like Apple’s Time Machine, Seagate does it’s thing in the background when a drive is connected, providing both file level restoration and disaster recovery (via included boot CD). The Replica is offered as a 250GB single PC model (~$100) and 500GB multi-computer edition ($~180). And the primary difference, other than capacity, is the higher tier unit ships with a dock.
For a hundred bucks, I don’t think you can go wrong – a sleek, quiet, and cool drive with thought-free backup software. Of course, the real value of this solution won’t be known until attempting a system restore… which is something I’d rather avoid.
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