Vicious malware. Faulty, exploding batteries. An unfortunate incident with an in-flight beverage service.
Sure, if you're careful, these are unlikely. But any one of these could ruin your day by fritzing out your computer when you need it most. Say, on a business trip, when you are carrying crucial digital presentations in that laptop. Or on your heavy-duty desktop, which stores video and graphic files representing countless hours of work.
Backing up your files used to be a laborious process. No longer. In fact, it could not be easier.
SanDisk Ultra Backup USB Flash Drive comes in several capacities, starting at 8GB and going up to 64GB, but all models work the same way. Attach it to your computer via the USB port. Wait for the machine to acknowledge the backup drive. Push the "backup" button on the device.
The process takes a few minutes, but your work is done, unless you want to customize the backup process in lieu of letting the on-board software take care of that for you.
The device we tested was the 8 GB size, the smallest offered. Still, it's sufficient to back up almost 4,000 songs, 5,700 image files, more than 7,000 documents, or 18 hours of video. It's a USB 2.0 device, which means a high-speed transfer of your data to a gadget that's no bigger than a pack of gum. Accordingly, the hardest part of using the device is probably remembering to take it out of your pocket before throwing your pants into the laundry hamper.
Of course, some documents often contain crucial, proprietary data. But don't worry -- you can still take the flash drive everywhere with little fear of your secrets falling into the wrong hands. The Ultra Backup can protect its contents via a password of your choosing and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) hardware encryption.
However, it's all on you to make sure the backup device is used with regular frequency. We'd recommend setting up a calendar appointment in Outlook or whatever day planner you prefer, as well as making sure you back up files after crucial project steps are completed.
The tested model runs about $50; the most expensive is about $280. Either way, a small price to pay for an easy, crucial, crisis-averting, and highly portable product.
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