Note: Dec 2013 Update follows the initial review =============================================================== I bought the 3 TB drive to back up my Dell XPS 15 750MB hard drive as well as to store my ever increasing inventory of video files. It seamed like a great price for $149
The hard drive came with Seagate software called Dashboard for backing up user document files. It was easy and worked well. It created a backup of my document directory and gave me the option for having both added or changed files updated at a time of my choosing.
What happened next was more of a Microsoft issue than Seagate. When trying to use Windows 7 backup to create a disc image on the Seagate, it kept failing halfway through giving me error messages. This happened to me before on other large external hard drives over 2TB, so I thought I would fix it by partitioning the drive into a 750GB and 2.25TB drives. I then tried to back it up on the 750GB partition but had the same problem. It took me 2 hours to figure out Windows 7 backup will not work with these hard drive because of the way the sectors are sized. I did however find a free Seagate program called Seagate Disc Wizard that you can download for free at Seagate's website that will create a disc image backup without this issue.
Pros - Seagate Dashboard is great for backing up and recovering individual user files and Disc Wizard for creating disc images in case of system failure - Its quiet - Its fast. Created a 320GB disc image in about 45 min. - Runs cool after 1 hour of continuous backup - Great pricing - There are 5 lights on the front that illuminate sequentially as the hard drive fills up
Cons - Will not work with Windows 7 image backup utility (cant create backup image of your hard drive using Windows 7) - No stand so if you stand it upright it can easily tip over - There is an activity light on the front that is supposed to tell you when the unit is in use, but it only flashes from full brightness to 75% brightness (instead of going fully out) so its hard to tell when the hard drive is in use when viewed from over 2 feet away.
----------------------------------------- IMPORTANT Dec 14 2013 Update.
Not so happy anymore. Just went through hell and back with this hard drive. The summary? My Dell laptop internal hard drive crashed. I needed to rely on my mirror image which was created on this Seagate 3T external hard drive. The hard drive worked but the software (neither Seagates Disc Wizard nor Dashboard) worked. Bottom line, buy this as a hardware backup only if your going to use third party software for backup (like Acronis) as Seagates software doesnt work, and Windows 7 will not recognize any backup files on a hard drive >1T (Windows 8 may have fixed this problem). --------------------------- The details? I will only add that I booted from the Seagate boot disk (when reinstalling a disk image, the only way to get the computer to recognize this Seagate external hard drive is with the Seagate (or Acronis) boot disk, ... the computer WONT RECOGNIZE THIS SEAGATE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE IF USING WINDOWS 7 AS A BOOT DISK!), then tried to re-image the new hard drive that Dell installed (it was still under warranty) with my tib file (image backup) that was created using Seagates disk wizard on this hard drive, the recovery (or "Recovering Partition" as Seagate calls it) would take 3 hours to reach 99% completion, and then in the last 20-30 sec, always finish with a big red "X" with the message "Recovery Operation Failed", No explanation. No error code...no anything. I then ran Windows 7 repair off the Windows boot disc and it said my new hard drive: Partition table is corrupt. Error code = 0x490
I tried reinstalling the tib image and repairing the new hard drive using the windows boot disk several times and wanted to pull the hair out of my head as, unless you have the CD disc's for all the programs installed on your computer, a disk image is the only way to recover your PROGRAMS (not user files). I called Seagate text support and they said my tib file must be corrupt, even though it consistently checked out as valid backup when scanned by Disc Wizard (ie, the Seagate tech didnt know what they were talking about as you will see). After countless hours I realized Seagate licenses a "lite" version of Acronis backup software that they re-title "Disk Wizard" or "Dashboard" that is really not up to the job. The problem was Seagate's version of the software was deleting the partition and, once I bought and created an Acronis boot disc, I used it to undelete the partition and voila, my hard drive had been re-imaged on the new drive all along, Seagates software just couldnt "see" it. Seagates software was deleting the partition and making it "appear" as though the image hadnt been installed and the partition table was corrupt! And if I listed to the Seagate tech "expert", I would have deleted the tib file and lost most of my programs.
Then I tried to reinstall my user files that were backed up using Dashboard (as the tib image was about a month older than my Dashboard user files backup), but Seagates Dashboard didnt recognize the latest backup version of my files, only the version that was 6 months older. So I had to manually go into the hundreds of backup directories to recover my latest user files (which took hours).
Bottom line, the HARDWARE was fine, but dont plan on using Windows 7 or Seagate's software if you are planning on using this for a disk image or user file backup. If your not using it for disk imaging, or not using Dashboard to backup user files, its fine. Changing this from 4 stars to 3