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477 of 487 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Portable Hard Drive I've Found for The Money
Intro:
- I've been a laptop computer user for over 20 years. I own a consulting firm with clients 'round the country, so I'm always on the go.
- I own - or have owned - portable hard drives from every major manufacturer. My theory was that if I bought different brands with good recommendations (versus buying all of them from one manufacturer), I would spread my...
Published on May 8, 2011 by ugamit

versus
74 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Drive is Good, but encryption software and tech support are lacking
When using the encryption option for this drive there is a setting for "Auto-Authentication" that is supposed to allow the drive to connect to a designated computer without having to log in with a password, but this feature does not work with Windows 7. The Tech support person said they were aware of the problem and were working on it, but the issue is not shown on their...
Published on April 25, 2011 by F. H.


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477 of 487 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Portable Hard Drive I've Found for The Money, May 8, 2011
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This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
Intro:
- I've been a laptop computer user for over 20 years. I own a consulting firm with clients 'round the country, so I'm always on the go.
- I own - or have owned - portable hard drives from every major manufacturer. My theory was that if I bought different brands with good recommendations (versus buying all of them from one manufacturer), I would spread my risk.
- Bought the Buff' Stealth 500GB from Amazon to try it out. Its the smallest 500GB portable drive around from a major manufacturer (and just 0.1in thicker than Oyen).
- I've owned and operated the drive for 30days to date. All of our computers (laptops and desktops)run Windows XP/32 bit operating systems.

Analysis:
Folks, hands down, this is the best overall portable hard drive I've owned to date:
1. This puppy is small, lightweight, and fast for USB 2.0. I'm getting 16-18MB/sec transfers using 5+ year old laptops and desktops (with Intel single core processors), and up to 22MB/sec on my Intel Core Duo Laptop.
2. I've left it on for 3 days straight, and found no heat generation above room temperature.
3. Needs only 1 USB2.0 port, and runs off of just 1 USB port on every one of our desktops/laptops I've tried it on.
4. Has a great blue light on top to signal its working. Doesn't have a sleep mode, so there is no delay, after your computer sits for a while, when you go to transfer/access a file.

Three particulars you'all might find of interest:
1. One reviewer here gave the drive 3stars because of the onboard Buffalo file transfer software. It's advertised to accelerate file transfers vs. Windows Explorer. And it does - but I agree, its not worth using.

I installed the Buffalo "turbo" software on two computers and found "turbo" didn't work as well as Teracopy (which is freeware and works great to speed up USB2.0 file transfers). The Buffalo "turbo" software did slow down both my desktop and laptop computers and seemed to complicate rapid removal of any flash/hard drive I connected. I've eliminated the pre-installed Buffalo software from the drive and my computers. I'd recommend the same to anyone. But I do recommend you find and download Teracopy, its a great program. (see CNET.Com to download Teracopy for free).

2. I've not dropped the Buffalo 500GB drive, so I can't provide insight on its hardiness to physical abuse. You'll find details on construction at the Buffalo site. It appears solidly built, but the plastic case doesn't appear to warrant confidence that it would not break of dropped over a foot or so onto a hard surface.

I presume that being so small, there isn't as much space to install lots of "shock-absorbing" material. I also presume one has to get some sort of case/carrier/cozy for the Buffalo 500 if you're going to actively travel with it. In my case, I'm using it to date to store large files I download from my desktop to carry home or use on my laptop, and I'm being careful with it because of my concerns about its hardiness until I get more experience. It might could benefit from a rubber border and thicker plastic case as one finds on the Toshiba Canvio, but then it would be thicker/bigger - the Toshiba was my previous 1st choice for portable hard drives, its now no.2, but I'm comparing it with the Buffalo as I go along, and I'll report back down the road on hardiness as I collect more info.

3. Based on my experience with the Buffalo 500GB, I've already bought the 1TB model. Available on Amazon today for $84, its the best deal going for portable hard drive space/dollar. I've found the performance specs for the 1TB model are exactly the same as the 500GB model. BUT, be aware the physical specs for the 1TB model are different - its about a quarter of an inch thicker than the 500GB version (same length x width). Since I found the pre-installed Buffalo software unworthy of use on my 500GB model, I've eliminated the same from the 1TB version.

Update: August, 2012
It's 15 months from my initial Buff' Mini-Station Stealth portable hard drive review here on Amazon, so time for an update.

1. All of my initial comments/info/details on the Buff' 500GB and the 1TB USB2.0 drives still ring true. I now own 10 of them, and all of them work like a charm. I particularly like the fact that they mount/dismount easily (e.g., they power up and down quickly). The USB cable provided with the drives is the best USB2.0 cable I've found/used to date - it mounts/dismounts the drive quickly.

I've lost only one (1) Buff' portable drive to date - that drive fell off of a desktop 30inches high onto a hard concrete flow in my basement. The case did not crack, but the drive seemed to have trouble mounting onto my computer (meaning the drive took a long while to start up) and it would turn on/off at erratic intervals. Fortunately, the drive didn't have much data on it, so no big deal. I have had my other Buff' drives fall onto a carpeted floor from the same height with no adverse effects. Taken together, I think this speaks very well on the hardiness of these drives. As a comparison, I've had 2 of 4 Simpletech Signature Mini Drives fail without any physical drop.

Hope this update helps.
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76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought 3, like them all, May 13, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
Bought 2 of these (500gb model) at once (Jan. 2012 update: bought a third 500gb a few weeks after the first 2; also, I have had no issues with any of these drives in about 8 months of intermittent use) as backups on the road for various important data. I primarily bought this specific model because the USB connection (I think is called "mini" usb but am not sure) is the same connector as other devices I carry around so that will simplify my cord clutter a bit.(Some other portable drives out there have different or even proprietary USB connectors). Also all power comes from the USB cord (supplied with the drive, about 14 inches long, thin, easy to pack.) It all seems very well thought out. I'd looked at the similar-size Seagates and the Western Digital drives but there do seem to be a lot of complaints about drive failure and other issues. I don't need the latest/greatest speed or USB 3.0 so this was a good fit/price for my uses.

One suprise: the formatted drive shows 499.76gb (out of advertised 500gb) available...that's as close as I've ever seen to matching the advertised capacity of a drive! Another surprise is how this tiny little drive (3.0 x 4.5 x 0.5 inches by my measurement, smaller than 2 decks of cards next to each other) runs very cool, it hardly generates ANY heat to the touch.

I am using a MacBook Pro, so merely reformatted these for the Mac using the Mac's disk utility. I formatted them to be bootable and cloned my MacBook over to one of them (using SuperDuper) and now have a bootable backup in case the laptop drive goes down. Tested that drive as the boot drive, and response is slower when booted from the USB 2.0 connection than the MacBook's internal drive (no surprise there) but it would get me through in a pinch.

Note the included software is Windoze only but you won't miss it, just erase it if you're on a Mac. (The Buffalo drive will however mount the first time you plug into a Mac without doing anything, should you need to use it immediately. You'll just be wasting a little space keeping the Windoze software on there. Mac instructions are also on the drive as a PDF file if you need them, which of course you probably will not!)

Reliability over time remains to be seen (note update above, no problems in about 8 months of use), if I do see a failure I will update this review, but so far I'm 100% satisfied.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, versatile, hard drive, May 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
This is a great hard drive. I was a little skeptical because I had never heard of this company, but they proved me wrong. I had bought two other hard drives previously, only to return them because they either had farmware, or were incompatible with mac. I'm an architecture student who has to back up lots of data between my mac at home and the farmware protected pc's at school, and this one is compatible with both; no problems, no shenanigans, it just works right out of the box like a hard drive should. Of course, it's a portable hard drive so the speed can get bogged down when transferring massive amounts of data, but it's actually very fast for a portable. Also, it is incredibly small, sleek, and just looks cool. I just wish I had bought this one first, instead of messing around with western digital and seagate first.
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74 of 85 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Drive is Good, but encryption software and tech support are lacking, April 25, 2011
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
When using the encryption option for this drive there is a setting for "Auto-Authentication" that is supposed to allow the drive to connect to a designated computer without having to log in with a password, but this feature does not work with Windows 7. The Tech support person said they were aware of the problem and were working on it, but the issue is not shown on their web site.

When I tried to remove the encryption using the "Release Authentication" button, I received a message saying "unable to run because the hard drive is in use", even though it wasn't in use. I called tech support and they suggested resetting the drive to factory settings, which will remove the encryption but will also remove everything stored on the drive as well. The technician blamed my computer instead of accepting the fact there was a problem with their software.

The drive also came pre-formatted with the FAT32 file system, which I did not notice until after I had stored information on it. To convert it to NTFS, I had to re-format the drive and then restore the data from backup. Converting the drive with the data intact did not work because that process requires a reboot and the drive when encrypted is not visible until after the computer has finished rebooting and the login screen is completed. I could not remove the encryption because the management software thought the drive was in use when it was not.

I am happy with the drive itself, but the encryption management software and the company tech support leave much to be desired. Their web site also was of no help in identifying or resolving any of these issues.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing review..., July 8, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
Great product great value and for those who read my other review it was mis-leading.. I realized that the one usb be connection on my computer was a 1.1.. I guess for some reason when I built my computer and installed the front panel I didn't read the spec's on it two of them are 1.1 the other two are 2.0.. Turned out the Device was formatted right the whole time and now I'm very disappointed with the front 3.5 panel I installed.. And to Buffalo I'm very sorry for sending back a perfectly good unit.. Going to give the 3.5 panel manufacturer as piece of my mind.. Great unit I'm very happy and man this unit does blaze the transfers.. Very attractive device and would recommend this to anyone !! And to the Buffalo tech my apology's.. I recieved great customer service.. Hands on knowledge and unknown to me it was my mistake..
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Total Failure, October 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
RE: Buffalo Technology MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive HD-PCT500U2/B (Black)
I ordered this external hdd in late July 2011. At first it seemed top of the line: half the bulk of others, sleek, single cord USB with no need to plug in to an outlet. But by September 21st (within two months of purchase) it stopped working entirely; I had received a defective product. The hdd plugged in and finally lit up after awhile but no computer would recognize it as a device, much less any data on it. I didn't do anything whatsoever to damage it; I had only used it half a dozen times so far in fact, mostly just to try to back up data from my laptop hard drive. I lost hundreds of gigabytes of data since I had purchased this product to backup data off of a hard drive that I needed to wipe. Pretty infuriating. After a complicated returns process, I paid to return my defective drive (which they would not attempt to extract the data from) and waited. I paid for their mistake with my money and time. Two long weeks later I finally received my replacement. The returns form stated "send all included accessories with the unit" which "will be sent back with the replacement unit". They foolishly neglected to include in the substitute the only accessory the product had: the USB cable. So now after two weeks of waiting and another call, they will mail me the cable, which will take who knows how long and then I will find out if the replacement even works. And they sent me a *refurbished* product, meaning it does not even have the license for Memeo Autobackup software. So again I lose because of Buffalo Technology's incompetence. All in all I have had a terrible experience with this company, both with their product and their support service, and they utterly failed at even the lousiest attempts at solving the issue, putting the burden on their customer at every step of the way.
TL;DR -- BUFFALO TECHNOLOGY FAILS EVEN MORE THAN THEIR FAILURE OF A PRODUCT.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tiny and fast HDD, March 29, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
The best HDD portable i've seen. Tiny and good looking. I made some test of speed, and the results are fantastic. 3 Gb of music (mp3) at 28 Mb/s, 4 Gb of one movie 720p at 25 Mb/s. And only needs one USB like a simple USB memory stick, very happy with it.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Aw.ful., April 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
I got this hard drive, and it worked for like 4 months. "No big deal," I thought, "Stuff happens. I'll just exchange it. It is under warranty."

Longest, most inefficient warranty process ever.

Then I got it "replaced" with the exact same one. And now I have to send it in again to have it replaced. Each time, I've had to pay to have it shipped. Now, I don't mind paying for shipping. But to have to pay to send a broken model to them, just to have them send the same broken one back...girl, are you serious?

Neeeever ever buying from Buffalo again. Counting my own individual eyelashes, while plucking them out, would be 100% guaranteed more enjoyable.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and quiet, April 29, 2011
By 
S. Faulk (Sacramento, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
I am using this with a Mac (formatted for Mac Journal Extended - HFS plus) to move files between a desktop and laptop computers. So far it has performed very well. It is quiet, surprisingly fast and so far (knock on wood) has not failed. I know another reviewer said his drive was slow but this is one of the fastest USB 2.0 drives I have used and I am very happy with the speed. It took 24 minutes to move 45GB of music onto the drive.
The drive uses the USB plug for power so you won't need any external power source, just plug and play. The only other items of mention are that the size is compact and the blue light is soft and a low level that shouldn't bother anyone.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Eco Friendly Garbage, August 5, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B (Personal Computers)
I've had this drive for months and I've used it a lot but it is simply no good for the things I want to use it for. Ok, it will work great for storing documents and photos you really don't want to access all the time, but if you want to store your media on it and stream from it you're going to have a lot of trouble. First of all the eco software that comes with it is phoney. The hard drive will still spin down when you don't want it to. A big reason why it probably doesn't work is because it has a Western Digital drive in the Buffalo MiniStation stealth and it just wants to do it's own thing and not do what the eco software tells it to.

The problem is this thing likes to spin up and down a lot. If you do not access it for about 20 seconds it will spin down. So that means if you're listing to music or watching a video on your computer, or whatever you have it attached to, and it doesn't access it in 20 seconds it spins down. Then it has to spin up again, usually 20 seconds, to a couple mins later(depending on the media) to get more information to continue playing the media. This creates hiccups in the playback. Not only that it is hard on the drive and I don't expect it to last long.

I've looked for help from the buffalo message boards and those are useless. What I'm finding out is this is a trend in external and some internal hard drives. Spin up and Down a lot to be green. It doesn't save that much more power, in fact it probably uses more since it has to keep firing up.

I will probably never buy a buffalo product again because of this problem. I just bought a WD Elements 1.5 TB desktop drive from amazon as well before thoroughly doing my research on it and it sounds like it probably has the same problem. If it does I will never buy a WD product again either and it will go back to amazon immediately.

I really can't say what alternative I could try. It sounds like Seagate and Samsung are adopting similar technology if you want to call it that. I could give them a try but it sounds like the state of external hard drives right now is pretty bad. I have two other WD hard drives, an older passport portable and an older Elements and they work great without such problems. They still spin down but it's a more reasonable time frame such as 5-10 minutes. Heck, I would say even two mins would be better for this buffalo ministation stealth drive but no such luck. The power saving technology is just too aggressive and it really doesn't work in real world situations.

I really don't see many positives about this drive because of it not functioning for it's intended purpose well. It may be cheap and it does have plenty of storage and looks cool. Just stay away and try another brand, although I don't even know what other brands to try.
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BUFFALO MiniStation Stealth 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive - HD-PCT500U2/B
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