Review: A day with Seagate's Replica

Seagate's objective in designing its Replica backup kit was to make a replica of Time Machine, but for Windows PCs. It works exactly as promised, and in similar fashion to Apple's no-brainer backup system. From the blurb:
Unlike most backup utilities, the new Seagate® Replica™ backup appliance is a complete PC backup system, which automatically and continuously stores up-to-date copies of everything on a PC, including installed applications, operating system, e-mail, pictures, music, movies, Internet bookmarks and settings. Available in two configurations, the Seagate Replica solution delivers seamless backup for either a single PC or multiple PCs in a household. 
Plugged in, its setup process was numbingly simple: agree to the TOS and you're about done. It then records a complete backup of your system and begins keeping track of changes you make. By cleverly journaling and organizing each sequential backup, the archive is unlikely to get substantially larger than the system it's attached to. As a result, you can dip into your machine's history, recover files, and restore the system in the event of disaster. It comes with a special boot CD to help in the event of the latter. The drive itself is a pretty 2.5" model designed to stand upright on a dock, itself included with the premium edition. The supplied USB cable has an extra plug, useful should your computer not supply enough current through a single port. After a few hours of use, I forgot it was there, which is the entire point. A "multi-PC" edition of the Replica kit, including the dock, will be offered for $200. A single-PC version will be $130. Product Page [Seagate]

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17 Responses to Review: A day with Seagate's Replica

  1. KmaN says:

    I believe that getting stuck with a storage device just because you need to backup is not ideal – especially when most such solutions have many short comings. For instance, here are the short comings of Replica:

    1. You cannot select what to backup… everything is by default backed up – including operating system. This can be rather annoying when you’re limited to only 250 or 500 GB of space…

    2. You cannot backup network resources or mapped drives.

    3. You cannot restore to a different machine… If you wish to move files from the drive to another machine, you will have to copy paste / drag and drop.

    I think when it comes to wanting backup, its a wiser idea to find a software, and then you’re more free to select a proper storage device / network location for storage.

    Here’s Genie Timeline, BETA about to be released. Claims it brings to Windows what Time Machine brought to Apple.

    May be worth checkign out.

  2. Rob Beschizza says:

    Max is 500GB

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s funny, really, and something of a testament to how tone-deaf Microsoft can be, that Time Machine-like functions came to the Mac first.

    Volume Shadow Copy has been available in XP since release, and provides versioning features. Time Machine only became available with OSX 10.5, in 2007. Nevertheless, MS offers no particularly elegant interface to the history collected by VSC, and only offers an interface at all on the more expensive versions.

    And, as usual, VMS laughs at them both, having had versioning for decades.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was initially chuckling because that’s about the retail price of OS X. But then I saw that at least you do get a hard drive with it, so it’s not a bad deal at all really.

    Finally switched to 10.5 this weekend and as my old G5 blew up, I had an extra HD laying about that I immediately reformatted as a Time Machine volume. Have to say it’s pretty sweet, although a little disconcerting to hear your HDs rustle to life every hour on the hour.

  5. Jake says:

    To assess the value of this product, it would be helpful to know the HD capacity. At $130 I suspect it isn’t large enough to back up my entire system.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Linux users: fam/gamin + rsync –link-dest

  7. Anonymous says:

    Saying your product works like Time Machine is not a selling point, IMHO. At least once a week, Time Machine fails with a wonderfully useless error message “Time Machine failed to backup”.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wait! your Mac blew up? never do we hear of such things?!!!

  9. Rob Beschizza says:

    The one they sent me is 500GB, and I think (!) it’s the $200 model.

  10. Jack says:

    I think the “multi pc” thing is a misnomer, it isn’t any more “multi pc” than the 250 gig, that is you can still use the 250 gig drive on as many pcs as you want the “multi pc” version is just bigger and has the stand. I have 3 laptops with 40 gig hard drives, why do I need 500 gigs? (I do put things on a network drive with 2 500 gig drives with RAID mirroring)

  11. Ferris says:

    Image backup? It’s already failed with Rebit which is the exact same as Replica. All they did was make the casing look pretty. Continuous backup will also backup viruses and corrupt file systems. No end user product is ever going to work for image backup and restore. Leave it to the techies and IT teams of the world. The restore was horrible on Rebit and I bet it’s the same with Replica. I bought a 1 TB Clickfree drive that covers all my data including large amounts of photos and music on my PC. Easiest thing I have ever used. Backs up only personal content though, and you can transfer it to another PC easily.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Any idea how this matches up with EMC Retrospect’s Continuous Backup feature?

  13. 4649 says:

    Any word on a release date? My boss wants one right away, but a search for “replica” on turned up no good results.

  14. 4649 says:

    Wait (d’oh) I found it on the seagate site. 250 gigs in the single PC one and 500 gigs in the other one.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Any word on whether i could restore my backup to a different pc, say if my laptop got stolen?

    I know this is possible on macs for obvious reasons.

    I have reinstalling all my software again, and i think the chances of my laptop getting stolen are better than the hard drive failing.

  16. 4649 says:

    And as for release date, this from the press release: “Seagate Replica Backup System will be available in May. Please check for more details.” (

  17. winstonsalemdude says:

    Having burned up two expen$ive external drives using Time Machine with my Macbook Pro, I have these questions:

    1. Can you schedule when the synchs happen? You can’t with Time Machine. If you just leave it and forget it, your drive will run so often (every hour of the day) that it will burn out. I lost both a LaCie 1TB and a Maxtor 350gb. Let’s hope Seagate has more wisdom than Apple in this regard.

    2. What is the max size? If you’re a graphic artist, music or video producer, you can easily have a terabyte of data to maintain.

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