definitely recommend reading the user’s guide in
detail before you start transferring massive quantities
of data over to the drive, however. And go through the
administrative interface to check things out too. Since
the box said "Automatic RAID 1 mirroring", I
assumed the drive defaulted to RAID 1 configuration, but
I was wrong. It was set for spanning (RAID 0) instead of
mirroring. There are two drives inside that gray & black
box, each with 500GB of storage space. Spanning means they
imitate one big drive. Mirroring (RAID 1 to the geeks out
there) means that the second drive automatically and exactly
duplicates the first, and if the first drive fails for
some reason, the second will take over. It's important
to decide which one you want before you start copying massive
quantities of data onto the drive. For the uninitiated,
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks.
was a small hitch in setting up the user accounts. In
addition to the public share, which is accessible to
anyone on the network and comes populated with folders
named Our Documents, Our Software, Our Photos, and the
like, you can create separate private accounts on the
drive. When I went to set up a new user account, Maxtor
EasyManage suggested Sallie Goetsch as a name—logical,
and probably pulled from Windows, as that's my logon
name. But spaces aren't allowed in user names, as the
manual told me when I went back to consult it in detail.
Instead of refusing to create an account with an invalid
name, EasyManage created an account and mounted it as
my Z: drive—but wouldn't let me put any data onto
I figured out the problem, deleted that account, and
created a new one with an appropriate name, it worked
fine. Except that I still saw that supposedly-erased
user name under My Network Places in Windows Explorer.
There was nothing in the user guide about this problem
(in fact, it seems to lack a troubleshooting section
altogether, which seems more than a bit optimistic on
Maxtor's part). I went online to look at the support
web site, and there was nothing about it there either.
Eventually I thought to delete the link to the alleged
drive share from Windows Explorer, and that did the trick.
just to see how it works, I set up the EasyManage file
backup on Astarte (I name all of my computer, drives
and partitions). It exactly duplicates the directory
structure surrounding the folders you're backing up.
That means that if you check My Documents as something
you want backed up, it appears in the My Backups folder
as C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Documents.
That's quite limiting, and there are no filters to include
or exclude specific folders, file types and so on. Backup
scheduling is limited to once per day, though you can
go in and press the Back Up Now button at any time. On
the plus side, it offers Historical Versions—you
can save several different instances of the same file.
Overall, I'd class Easy Manage as better than nothing,
but nothing to write home about.
backups using Symantec Ghost Corporate 8 (still my favorite
drive imaging program) work like a charm, though they
are slightly slower than USB 2.0 high speed. (If I had
a gigabit network, they'd be much faster, as the Shared
Storage II has the capacity to operate at 1000Mb). Network
backup of my second, older laptop, which has only a USB
1.1 port, was dramatically faster than over a USB connection.
Shared Storage II isn't for everyone. Even small businesses
may require more traditional (and much more expensive)
NAS appliances with greater capacities and RAID 6, depending
on how data-intensive they are. At the other end of the
spectrum there are those who don't have a network at
all, and who probably won't produce a terabyte of data
in the next ten years.
there are plenty of homes and offices in between that
would benefit from a compact, reliable, easy-to-use combination
baby NAS device and media server. I'm delighted with
mine, though of course if Western Digital and LaCie want
to send me some competition to compare with the Maxtor
Shared Storage II 1TB, I won't turn them down.