The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus wants to make your backup simple by presenting you with a one button press solution. But is it really this simple? We back up to find out.

Backup has to be simple. If it isn’t, you won’t do it. The OneTouch 4 Plus, as the name suggests, offers a one button press solution for all your external hard drive needs. We tested the 750GB model on an PC running XP, but out of the box it is also Mac compatible.

In the box you get the drive itself, power cable, USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 cables, and a recovery CD and small manual. The fact that the manual is small is a great relief as you know it is going to be relatively straightforward.

On connection, the software installs from the drive, which is a quick and easy process. After a restart, you are ready to go. As with many backup solutions, you’ll find an icon appear in your system tray that tells you the drive is connected; there is also the associated lag as a number of new processes run at startup, if you leave your PC on all the time, then this is perhaps not a problem.

The drive itself, as the name suggests, features one button, which is backed by a white LED. Press this button and Maxtor Manager launches. The button can be reconfigured to run the backup, sync your drive, or launch an application on the drive. The default is backup, and this will launch the Manager and head straight off to do the backup. It also backs up incrementally, so rather than copy everything again, it only saves the changes saving time and space.

Within the Maxtor Manager you also get the option to sync files between PCs, great if you want to move work documents from desktop to laptop and vice versa, and you can set up a custom selection, say, only documents on a specific project. The Safety tab basically becomes a system restore option, which can be conveniently scheduled allowing you to restore everything if things go horribly wrong.

Finally the Manager gives you Security options where you can set a drive password, as well as set an encrypted folder, where you can drag and drop files.

The drive is happy to be swapped between computers, so you can backup more than one PC to the drive with simple folders created for each one.

The drive itself is an inoffensive design, with brushed metal sides and a black waist, with a good solid feel to it, as though it could be used as a club to fight off data thieves. It is a little noisy whilst backing up data, but not so loud as to be a distraction. There is no on/off switch, so it is a case of unplugging the device if you want it totally "off".

On that plug, we found the powerpack had a European plug and this seems to be the experience of many who bought the device in the UK.

If you already have a backup software solution you are happy with, you can continue to use that and the drive won't complain. In fact, there is no need to use any of the Maxtor software but you do then lose the OneTouch functions. There is no uninstall option which is a minor bugbear and you cannot seem to disable it from startup, so those wishing to keep startup times down will be a little disappointed.

This is only a local drive, so those looking for a networked solution should look elsewhere.

Verdict

In our test we cannot vouch for the longevity of the drive, although it does come with a limited 5 year guarantee. However we can say that for a standard XP user, it is a relatively straightforward experience.

The Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus provides a simple backup solution that will cater to the needs of most users without being overly complicated. The software is easy to use and setup is quick and easy.