Clickfree Wireless Backup (500GB)

Clickfree Wireless Backup review: A 500GB external hard drive with Wi-Fi that you can set and forget

The Clickfree Wireless Backup is an external 500GB USB 2.0 hard drive with built-in 802.11n networking that makes ongoing data backup — particularly for laptops — a cinch. It's small and elegantly designed, and it can be used to easily back up multiple computers (including Macs). The best part is that it doesn't have to be permanently connected to your computers in order to keep them backed up.

The Clickfree Wireless Backup is best suited to backing up notebook computers, as it has been designed to work wirelessly and unobtrusively. You could use it to back up a desktop PC, too, but a directly connected external hard drive is usually a better option as you'll rarely need to unplug it. The only time the Clickfree Wireless Backup needs to be plugged in to a laptop is the first time you use it; after that, it can just sit somewhere out of the way, continuously backing up your data as per the schedule you have set, and it will always be readily available for you to restore data as well.

Clickfree Wireless Backup

The backup progress screen.

To get started with Clickfree Wireless Backup, all you have to do is plug the drive into a USB 2.0 port on the computer that you wish to back up. This is required so that an initial backup can be made (which will be much quicker over USB than Wi-Fi), and also so that the details of your wireless network can be gathered and used for ongoing wireless backups. Once plugged in, the Clickfree software will launch automatically and the backup will start after 35sec without any user interaction. By default it will backup office documents, videos, music, photos and even Web browser favourites.

During the initial backup, you'll need to make sure your notebook or desktop PC is also connected to your wireless network, so that the Clickfree software can collect the wireless network name and password information — it does this automatically, but you can also go in later and change network settings manually. Once the backup is complete, all you have to do is unplug the drive from the computer's USB port, find a place for it somewhere in your home that has good wireless network coverage and plug its power adapter into the wall. It will emit an amber glow for a couple of minutes until it connects to your wireless network, at which point the light will turn blue — this is how you know the drive is ready to use.

If you want to back up multiple computers, then you will have to connect the Clickfree Wireless Backup drive to each one for the initial backup. You'll have to keep in mind the capacity of the drive though, as backing up more than a couple of laptops can quickly fill it up. We tested a 500GB version, but a 1TB version will also available in December for around $299.

Clickfree Wireless Backup

Success! Everything worked smoothly during our tests.

Backups over Wi-Fi can take a long time if you've created a lot of new data over the course of a day's work, so it's best to schedule the backups for a time you know the wireless network won't be heavily used. Backups will only occur if your computers are switched on at the time of the scheduled backup. By default, the Wireless Clickfree will back up at 3am every day, but if you don't leave your computers switched on overnight, then this backup will occur first thing in the morning when you log in. We recommend changing the scheduled time to the end of the day or to an evening time instead — you can do this by clicking on the Clickfree shortcut that is placed on your desktop during the initial backup. While the Clickfree software backs up your computer, you can still continue to use the computer for other tasks.

Clickfree Wireless Backup

You can even use the Clickfree Wireless Backup to import music from an Apple iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Overall the Clickfree Wireless software is basic and does its job well. Even its manual settings aren't hard to use. The major benefit of the entire backup solution is that it's mostly automatic and very easy to use. Inexperienced computer users who have no idea how to back up their data should definitely consider the drive because of its automation, easy-to-follow instructions, and set-and-forget hardware — no wires or continual plugging in! Additionally, the Clickfree software can even be used to back up music from an iPod or iPhone. If you want a direct-attached backup solution, then check out Clickfree's C2N Automatic Home Backup USB 2.0 external hard drive, or if you want to turn an existing external USB 2.0 hard drive into a simple backup solution, you could pick up the Clickfree Transformer SE backup cable.

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