I just bought a Seagate OneTouch 4 Maxtor 500GB external hard drive. The hard drive is marketed for backup purposes and comes with the backup software installed on the hard drive. Below is a note included in the instructions for step 2:
Note: It is highly recommended that you copy the current contents of the OneTouch 4 to your computer before proceeding. Reference Seagate Knowledge Base article 4169 for more information.
It doesn't inspire confidence to know that I have to backup the software on the backup drive in case something goes horribly wrong. If the unthinkable does happen, the backup software is the least of my worries. I'm not too concerned. The really important things will be backed up on a CD or a DVD.
Solution to my Software Backup Problems
Having this hard drive will solve a big problem that I have. Lack of space. With two Linux installations, Windows XP, and several Virtual PC images, my 160GB internal hard drive has reached capacity.
This has led to many other problems that all stem from lack of space. I want to try more distributions of Linux, but I have so much data spread out on different partitions that I was afraid I might lose something important if I tried to install the latest version of Ubuntu or SUSE. Now I am free to proceed with an upgrade.
I also wanted to be able to convert my Virtual PC images to VMWare as part of the Microsoft Quit Date. This has not been going as well as I've planned, but it hasn't been going bad.
I am using the Mozilla Thunderbird Extension Lightning for my Calendar application; however, I'm still using MS Outlook for email. If I can get a solid Linux distribution running then this will help reduce my dependence. At the moment, Pandora is the only music that I have in Linux. I had MP3 support briefly, but for some reason G-Streamer is complaining about missing something.
Don't get me wrong, I like troubleshooting broken software, but not my music player. I just want that to work. I don't care why it broke, or why Novell didn't include it by default, after fixing it once and having it break, I am at a point where I just want to hear music without having to read a bunch of knowledge base articles.
I can also use tools like grep, vi, and locate in Linux. In Windows, I am lost without these. The cute puppy that appears in Windows Search is cool and all, but I don't have all day to search for a string in a file in the file system, I just want results. Grep gives almost instant results. Sure, there's no puppy, as my 7 year old nephew would say, but it's fast.
Little by little, I have been moving data to the hard drive. In the next couple weeks, I hope to have SUSE 10.3 installed on a partition. I might also install Ubuntu. We'll see what happens.
Oh, and in case something happens to the hard drive, don't worry! I've backed up the backup software on my computer. Now you can sleep at night.
UPDATE (7/5/2008): I installed Ubuntu 8.04 last month and love it! I also share a VMWare Image with Windows using VMPlayer on Ubuntu, which is a great alternative and enhancement to dual-boot setups.