Reviewed by Andrew C. Clark
Over the last 18 months as a small firm/solo attorney, I have struggled to find back-up methods that were economical for both my budget and my time. A typical USB external hard drive is a simple and affordable option to backup the important files on your computer. However, I often found myself leaving the computer and back-up drive in the same location, which left my practice open to losing both the primary and back-up files. I have found similar issues surrounding the preservation of evidence and the fear of allowing the only files to be stolen or destroyed. If you are like me, convenience is the difference between actually maintaining an adequate backup and data preservation schedule and risking catastrophic loss for weeks or even months at a time.
The StarTech SATDOCK22R USB 2.0 to SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock is as easy to use as the six-page instruction manual suggests. This is a multifunctional device that is capable of delivering convenient storage, access, and back-up capabilities in Windows (2000/XP(32/64bit)/Server 2003(32/64bit)/Vista(32/64bit)/7(32/64bit)/Server 2008 R2), Mac OS X and up, and Linux environments. In addition to its cloning capabilities, this device gives you the capability of accessing up to two additional hard drives from your existing desktop or laptop without even picking up a screwdriver.
When I received the SatDock22R, I immediately opened the box and took inventory. The unit itself weighs in at 19.41 ounces, measures 5.26" x 5.7" x 2.96" (W x L x H), and is packaged with a power cord (including adapters for the US, UK, and EU) as well as a USB cable. Purchasers should note from the name of the device that it is designed for SATA hard drives and that it does not accept IDE drives.
I tested the SatDock22R on my Windows Vista Laptop and began by plugging in a single drive. Upon turning the device on, Windows immediately installed the necessary drivers, and I was able to navigate through an 80GB hard drive as quickly and easily as the USB flash drive I had in my pocket. I then placed a second 80GB hard drive into the unit and began moving files from drive to drive with the outward appearance of simply moving them from folder to folder. The unit is equipped to handle both 2.5" and 3.5" SATA hard drives with drive capacities of 500GB and 2.0TB respectively.
Once I was satisfied with the ability to run two additional drives in tandem with my internal hard drive I set off to test the cloning function. Switching from JBOD (“Just a Bunch of Disks”) mode to Duplication mode was as simple as holding down a button and watching an LED change from blue to red. A quick tap on the Start button, and we were off to the races. It took roughly 45 minutes to complete a sector-by-sector duplication of the 80GB drive, but I did not encounter any problems during the duplication process. The LED status bar kept me updated on the progress, and some beeps at the end let me know the back-up/cloning process was complete.
All in all this was a very user-friendly product. I felt that the cloning time was very reasonable, and, though there may be some other more economical options for obtaining USB access to a single SATA hard drive, the overall functionality and capability of this device is impressive. The SATDOCK22R lists out at $169.99, but a quick search on the Internet returned results as low as $99.99, which makes this unit a very affordable option for creating redundant back-ups, preserving evidence, or completing any of the other tasks that will come to me as I continue to play with it. Well done, StarTech.
Andrew Clark is a general practice attorney in his second year of practice. He concentrates his practice in the areas of technology, business, real estate, and general litigation, as part of the law firm of Anelli Holford, Ltd. in Dublin, Ohio. Andrew is involved with the ABA GP|Solo Division and Young Lawyer Division and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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