Seagate’s Pro series drives come with special software, too. We discussed it in one of ourn older articles. The new series has acquired new software. It has changed its name from FreeAgent Tools to Seagate Manager and is now absolutely free rather than a 30-day trial version. However, it now does not support any products other than Seagate and Maxtor. It has not changed much in terms of functionality and I will describe it briefly here.
The program must first be installed by clicking the executable file in the disk’s root directory. When installed, the program places its icon in the tray and keeps track of external drives connected to the computer. It reacts to “familiar” drives by changing the color of the icon.
The main program window allows to choose the necessary drive (if there are multiple Seagate or Maxtor drives connected) and select one of the four sections pertaining to different usage scenarios. You can also go to Settings from here.
If your computer is connected to the Internet, you can choose the Online Storage section (a FreeAgent device must be attached to the computer at that moment). Having passed a registration procedure, you can access the Online Storage service at Seagate’s servers. You can work with this storage like with an ordinary storage device.
The Settings are rather frugal. You can specify the time-out for the drive to enter sleep mode. You can also diagnose the drive, disable its highlighting (it is not bright, but the blinking may be irritating at nights) and check for updates.
So, the most interesting section is Backup. You can choose if you want to use the option of simple backup (from the My Documents folder each day at 10.00 p.m.) or want to specify your own settings.
If you go for the latter option, you will be able to specify the folders to back up.
Then you can specify further if you want to copy all files or only files of certain types like music, video or documents, according to the filename extension.
Well, you can even create your own set of filename extensions including or excluding any of the extensions registered on your computer.
Next you can specify a time schedule for automatic backup and enable/disable file encryption using the AES algorithm with a 256-bit key.
Now that you’ve done, you can force a data backup immediately or let everything be done automatically. The existing backup plans can be edited or deleted. You can also disable/enable automatic backups. It is in this window that you can also restore your files.
As opposed to FreeAgent Tools, the new version of Seagate’s software allows to restore not only the latest version of a file but any of nine previous versions.
Yet another notable difference is that you can use two external drives to copy data to within a single backup plan. It may be useful if you’ve got so important data that you prefer to store them on two backup media.
It is simple with synchronization: the external disk can be used to synchronize folders on different computers.
Most of the settings duplicate what you could see in the backup section, but you can also choose the synchronization mode (automatic or manual) and what to do with coinciding files.
The last section is about encryption. Here you can enter a password to protect your data. You can also create or delete a special folder for storing encrypted information – files that you send to this folder as well as backup files. If you don’t create the folder, you won’t be able to make encrypted backups.
It is easy to use this encryption: just drag files into the folder in Seagate Manager in order to encrypt them and take them out of it to decrypt.
To sum up, Seagate Manager is a simple solution for users with modest backup requirements. Advanced standalone backup utilities offer far more features and options and are not limited to products from specific brands. But if you don’t need such extra functionality, Seagate Manager will make a good and useful addition to your external Seagate drive.