Back in October 2008, my dad asked me to backup the files on his laptop because he was going to send it in to be reformatted at a computer repair shop. I decided to buy an external hard drive for this purpose. I settled on getting a Seagate FreeAgent Go drive at a local Best Buy for $84.99 with tax; I would have preferred ordering it online for a cheaper price, but I had to backup the files very quickly and could not wait a couple days for a hard drive to arrive in the mail. The version I bought was 250GB in size, which was much more than I needed. It is quite thin and light (making it easily transportable), and it comes with a removable cable that attaches to a USB port on a computer.
The drive also comes with software that can be installed, known as the Seagate Manager. The Manager makes copying and transferring data easy. You can identify which folders you want to copy, and let it do the work for you. If you are concerned about possible data loss and add new files to your computer frequently, you can assign your hard drive backup times. The hard drive will backup your data at times of the day or week that you choose, so you will not have to do it manually. It is probably the most useful feature of the Manager program.
Unfortunately, I do not use or need the Manager that much. I find that it can be intrusive since it is launched at the startup of your computer, regardless of whether or not the external hard drive is plugged in. Any program that must be initialized at the beginning can slow down the boot up time of your computer. I have found no option in the Seagate Manager that allows you to switch off the Manager at startup, which means you are stuck with it being turned on indefinitely until you uninstall it. Thankfully, files can be transferred without Seagate Manager easily enough.
Today, August, 10, 2009 I attempted to transfer 23.7 GB of information from my computer's hard drive to my external one. The transfer speed started strong at about 25MB per second but then dropped to around 18-20MB per second; the process might have taken up to 15 minutes to my recollection. The performance was a bit lacking in my opinion, so if time is a major concern for you, you may want to read other reviews on its speed capability before purchasing it. I personally was not inconvenienced that much despite the length of time.
Another potential drawback is that the hard drive becomes fairly hot when it is on for an extended period of time. I can feel the heat of it when I pick it up after 30 minutes of use or so. For this reason, I do not utilize it often or leave it on.
As an external hard drive that holds my files, the Seagate FreeAgent Go 250GB External Hard Drive does its job. I would advise against using it for long periods of time though; the amount of heat it generates is worrisome and can shorten its lifespan. Also, I would attempt to purchase it at a lower price than I did as I was constrained by time limits and did not find the best deal I could have.