Dock allows you to clone a drive or to access an internal drive, as you would a jump drive. Easily access information on your old drives.
Is it not amazing how easy it is to build an electronics graveyard in your home? How many of you have old computers lying around? Within those computers are old hard drives, with old data that you may or may not need. Some of these devices may simply need new components or to be transferred to another machine. I have 3-4 old computers, which are now essentially obsolete. They have roughly 1 TB of storage space that is not currently being utilized. You have a few options to recycle the old components. You can remove the drive and add it to an enclosure or you can get a device that can turn your drive into a USB jump drive.
I received a USB 3.0 All in 1 HDD Dock. This takes internal SATA drives and allows you to search them with File Explorer or with Launcher on the Mac OS. The product arrived in a very plain, nondescript box with the main dock, a 36″ USB A to USB A (USB 3.0 capable) cable and an AC power adaptor. The adaptor comes in 2 parts and has an inline control power supply. The section that plugs into the wall is 4 feet long and the section that plugs into the device is 37″ long. When you include the 4.5″ long power supply, the entire charging cable is 89″ in length. I do appreciate the simple A type wall plug and having an inline power supply. When companies provide this style of a plug, they obviously have had to deal with the Power-Cord-Tetris.
When it comes to utility, this product is incredibly straight forward. You have the main device, which will accommodate both laptop 2.5″ and full sized 3.5″ internal desktop drives. It has 2 bays, labeled A (Mother Disc) and B (Son Disc). On the front of the device is a panel of 3 LED, detailing power, DiscA, DiscB. The back of the device has an on/off toggle a DC/12V input port and a USB 3.0/2.0 port. This device is both USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatible and comes with a USB 3.0 cable. Without any additional software, you can plug the included USB cable into the back of the device and then into your computer USB port. Then, plug in the power plug and switch the toggle to the “on” position. Insert an old or new internal drive, without any type of enclosure. Now you can navigate to File Explorer or Finder and search the hard drive like a jump drive. You can format the drive if desired, you can adjust the partitions as well. You can drag and drop, and you can save to the source just like any of your onboard hard drives. Lately, I have created a hard drive of children’s movies and use it as a media port for the old hard drives. I have most of my family movies on a drive and watch them on our family TV.
The above utility is incredibly helpful, allowing you to recycle old drives as external storage. For some people, especially those that are not tech savvy, the old drives would be little more than trash. I have added and swapped hard drives between computers so many times, just to get the information or to transfer data. The HDD dock will only allow you to utilize either the A port or the B port, while plugged into USB and not both. Thus, you cannot see both Drive “F” and “G” (name them what you want) through your computer. You will only see the Mother if both ports are filled. The reason that there are 2 ports, is actually the coolest part of this device. You will notice a small red button on the top front of the device, just in front of the Mother Disc A port. Unplug the USB cable and place a drive into each bays. Please note that this next step is not reversible. You can clone a hard drive by simply placing the MOTHER disc into the slot A and the servant or Son Disc into drive B. Hold the little red button for 3 seconds and you will notice the LED along the front begin to flash. The disc A LED will illuminate when the clone is 50% complete and both will fully illuminate when complete. The A drive must be smaller than the B drive. The cloning will copy partition information as well. On PC you can navigate to computer manager and hard disk management and expand/shrink partition of the drive if desired.
Imagine you have a 1 TB drive in slot B and your A drive is 250 GB. Once copied, all data on drive A will also appear on drive B. If you plug drive B alone into this device or you replace the drive into the onboard enclosure, you will notice the computer thinks that this drive is only 250GB. This may be frustrating at first, but you can fix this by going through computer management and adjusting the partitions. You will likely notice that the remaining space (approximately 600GB or so) is unavailable. Expand the current partition and you can utilize the space and regain your entire 1TB drive. This is a really neat feature, especially if you wish to duplicate drives/data or to share pictures with family etc. If you have space on your computer, you can do this with the onboard computer capabilities.
The product did come with a small CD with backup software. This software appears to be very basic and I DID NOT install this onto my computer. This review is for the hardware and not the software. In fact, there are plenty of backup software applications that are available. The specs in the instruction manual note that this is for Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, XP (32 and 64-bit) and then states it requires a Pentium-based and higher compatible computer. If interested, you will only need to insert the CD and then run the Wizard for Prolific Backup. The software is supposed to add a PL2X7x One button icon to your taskbar and you can backup your computer with a simple button press. With a drive in the bay port A, you will get the option to backup or restore. Having a Windows 10 machine, I chose to not utilize this software for a variety of reasons.
I am a huge fan of recycling, having been raised in San Diego. You can call this the Tree-Hugging-Hippie in me. I really appreciate the device and the ability to utilize old internal drives as external storage. The device is very plug-and-play and is truly easy to utilize. I did not use the software, as I had other options. For my MacBook, I have an Apollo Cloud device with Time Machine Backup. Using a PC desktop, you can create a system image using the onboard Microsoft software. This is somewhat confusing and not ideal, as it copies a lot of large windows files that may not be needed if you reinstall windows. You can find some backup options from Ninite (if you have not used this software, you have been missing out). Personally, I store pictures, documents, important data on multiple locations (drop box), Shutterfly, Jump Drives/external drives and on my Disc Station (as I have had one too many Blue Screens of death). This device is a must-have for anyone with a computer. I would rate it at 5/5 based on the hardware. The transfer speeds were good, as expected with USB 2 and 3 devices. It is incredibly easy to use, in fact, I suspect even a caveman could use it. I would definitely recommend that you consider giving this device a look.
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