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Seagate Expansion 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STAX500102

Review of the 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STAX500102 by Seagate.

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)


This drive is sleek, handsome, light, and--most importantly--fast. I also like the fact it doesn't require a brick. It runs completely off the USB port power. That's singular; you're not tying up two USB ports to use this.

It does come with preinstalled software. I didn't test that software, as my standard operating procedure is to format hard drives and use them as, well, hard drives. Wipe the drive to get rid of the unwanted junk (typically adware and TSRs that slow things down). Why companies insist on putting this junk on drives, I have no idea. It just loads on the user the extra steps of deleting or reformatting. I don't see this software as a free bonus. I see it as a product defect.

This is plug and play, just as any USB device should be. No install routine or other headaches to go through. You just have to delete the junkware that comes with it. I haven't done that yet; I have thus far only tested this as a removable medium for purposes of this review. It's potentially a very useful product, but I won't be using it until after "removing the plaque."


I wouldn't use it as a backup drive. At 500GB, it's just too small and it's USB. My current backup drives are eSATA and 1TB each. Their replacements (not planned for this year) will be 2TB.

This external drive can serve as a physical repository for files to share among machines. For example, you can make it your financial files "server" and store your financial data on it. Then when you are online you don't have this connected and your financial data can't be hacked into because they aren't there.

If you're taking a trip and want to bring along a collection of videos, this drive is an ideal solution. I often bring a collection of funny vids to share when visiting relatives. I've thought it would be nice to have those somewhere other than on my laptop drive. With this, that's easily doable.

Another good use for this drive is to put your sensitive data on it. Let's say you're traveling and you carry financial data, contacts, or proprietary info for the purpose of the trip. You want your laptop so you can check e-mail and do some browsing. Your laptop is a theft target (and TSA destroyed the last laptop I took through the airport mauling system). If someone steals your laptop, they won't get the sensitive data.

Laptop drives are a bit fragile and can easily lose data. So, before you take the airport shuttle back up your e-mails and other data on this drive and put it in your luggage. Or, better yet, ship it to yourself rather than risk a luggage loss being a data loss. Really a good solution if you have important files resulting from a business meeting.

I'm very happy with this product and plan to enjoy the added flexibility and security it allows me to have.



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