Product Type: Seagate External Hard Drive
Newest Review: ... you have ejected the disk, (though no one will be able to access it). So in summary I can certainly recommend the Seagate Freeagent Go ext... more
Closedgate, not so Freeagent!
Seagate FreeAgent Go 120 GB
Member Name: RickieRater
Seagate FreeAgent Go 120 GB
Advantages: Reliable make, compact and portable, with a few nice bonuses.
Disadvantages: Software very restrictive as to what can be installed on the drive.
I was looking for a reliable yet reasonably priced portable hard drive, and after undertaking a little web-based research concluded that Seagate was the make to go for.
A work colleague, who custom builds PCs at home, further confirmed that Seagate was the best. What more evidence did I need?
The model I chose was the 'Seagate Freeagent Go' (I bought the 120Gb version for around £45, but as far as I know there are models ranging from 80Gb to a whopping 1Tb).
The reason I picked this model was the 'Freeagent Go' software that comes pre-installed on the drive. According to the blurb this software allows you to not only save all the types of files you can keep on a normal external hard drive, but also enables you to bring your own web browser, favourites, passwords, cookies, e-mail contacts and other programs with you wherever you go. This means you can work on any PC, whether it be at home, school, work or an internet café, using all your usual programs without depending on what is available on the host computer.
And for peace of mind it provides strong file encryption, saves everything you do on to itself and removes all trace of your work from the host computer when you eject the drive. Just as if you had never been there at all!
As I do use various PCs I was attracted to this unique feature as not only would I be able to back my hordes of files but I'd also be able to bring my own web favourites, and programs like iTunes with me. Happy days!
The hard drive itself is quite compact, approximately 12 cm long, 9 cm wide and 2.5 cm deep. You could probably fit it in your trouser pocket, (just watch bending over!).
It is a chocolate brown colour and one end lights up orange when it is in use. In fact the orange pulsates when the drive is processing, so turn the lights down and pretend you're in Star Trek!
The drive connects to the host PC via a Y shaped USB lead. The small USB connector links to the back of the hard drive while the other two leads connect to the USB sockets on the PC. One port is used for data only, while the other is used for data and power. Yes, that's right, the beauty of the 'Freeagent' is that it doesn't require a power supply other than that coming from the USB ports. This feature greatly adds to its portability.
When it is in use the drive is very quiet. If you set your hand on it you will feel a gentle vibration.
I have had it in use for many hours at a time and the unit has only ever been warm, never hot.
I have heard some people say that they can use just the one USB port, as this will provide sufficient power. I have only tried this the once and the drive became quite noisy, so I would recommend sticking to the two ports.
The first time you connect the drive to a PC you will be asked to install the Free Agent Tools, which basically allows you to back up a copy of the software on the drive and prepares the drive for use. You will only be asked to do this the once, upon first use. After this when you plug in the drive you will be asked if you wish to open the contents of the folder or to run the Ceedo program.
Ceedo is the piece of software that essentially allows you to use the hard drive as another PC, and resembles the kind of menus you get when you hit the 'Start' button on the Window's toolbar.
Ceedo allows you to open the files you have saved on your Freeagent hard drive or to run programs directly from the Freeagent drive.
A shortcut to Ceedo will appear on the taskbar and desktop of the host computer, but these will be removed when you eject the hard drive. When you work on a program from the Freeagent drive, for instance Excel, the Ceedo symbol is displayed at the top right bar near the minimise/maximise buttons. When you see this symbol then you know that you are working from and saving to the Freeagent hard drive and not the host computer.
My Ceedo seemed to have come pre-installed with Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Outlook and Internet Explorer.
If you click on 'Add Programs' in the Ceedo menu you will be brought to the Ceedo website where various programs are available for download, some free and some not so free! There isn't a great range to choose from, though I was able to get Mozilla Firefox and a DivX Player. When you click on any of these programs Ceedo will download and install them directly onto the Freeagent hard drive and you can then use them on any PC you work on.
What if you have your own programs that aren't available to download from the Ceedo site? Well you can also download the 'Argo' add on which allows you to install programs you have downloaded or have the installation disc for.
Well, it all sounds very good, but what' the verdict?
On the positive side, as a normal external hard drive it works perfectly well, no problems encountered when swapping files between the Freeagent drive and other PCs. I love the fact that it is powered through one of the USB ports and you don't have to carry a power adaptor about with you. A definite enhancement to the portable feature of the drive.
I have used it on several different PCs and it has been recognised immediately. (These have been Windows XP and Vista).
It is USB 2.0 but works perfectly fine, if just slower, with UBS 1.1 ports.
And it's been great being able to bring my own web browser with all my bookmarks etc on to every computer I use, and of course leaving no history trail behind.
On the negative side is the supposed ability to install your own programs on the drive. It took me several attempts to install Firefox successfully and as for the Argo installation tool, well it's basically rubbish. I had hoped to install iTunes on the Freeagent drive but as yet can't get it to go.
In fact from looking at some of the Ceedo user forums it seems only a handful of programs can be successfully loaded on to the Freeagent. And the laugh is the Argo add on isn't even free, you get a 45 day free trial then you have to buy it!
Another niggler is the claim that all trace of the Freeagent being used is erased from a host PC. However if you've been working on a file it still appears in the 'Recent Documents' menu of the host PC even after you have ejected the disk, (though no one will be able to access it).
So in summary I can certainly recommend the Seagate Freeagent Go external hard drive as a good reliable means of backing up your photos, mp3s etc.
I can't fault it if viewed as a standard hard drive with the bonus of bringing your own web browser wherever you go, but your hopes of installing all your favourite programs might be dashed. Just doesn't quite exactly do what it says on the tin.
Thank you for reading :-)
Summary: A great standard external hard drive, but dreams of anything more may be a little tarnished.
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