This review appears in the October 06 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

To the untrained eye, the unassuming ABSplus for Notebook PC looks exactly like an external hard drive. But peer closer and you'll find that's only half the story. Not only is the ABSplus capable of backing up the contents of your laptop's hard drive, but it'll help you to restore it in the event of a catastrophic failure.

It used to be the case that a dead hard drive in your laptop meant the whole thing was a write-off. And with our expert advice hat on we still wouldn't recommend the average user opens up the chassis of a laptop to extract a hard drive.

But the ABSplus contains a standard 2.5in hard drive and, if you've been using it properly, an engineer will be able to remove the casing and exchange the failed hard drive for the ABSplus' unit. Since the ABSplus allows you to back up your Windows and Mac OS (but not Linux) boot files, you should soon have a living, working laptop again.

And this isn't the only way of recovering lost data with the ABSplus. Should the drive have been wiped, but not permanently damaged, you can boot from a recovery CD and the backup drive can begin to copy data to the original hard disk.

The bundled software, BounceBack Professional 7.0, is aimed at all levels of laptop users – you certainly don't need to be an expert to use it. We were quickly creating our first backup and had all of our data protected very soon after that.

The version of ABSplus for Notebook PC we looked is a 40GB model that uses a USB 2.0 connection, but the product comes in higher capacities too. You also have the option to use a FireWire or PC Card interface. And it's been rigorously drop-tested, so you can be doubly sure your backed-up data is safe.

ABSplus for Notebook PC: Specs

  • BounceBack Professional 7.0 recovery software
  • 40GB capacity
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • Windows-/ Mac OS-compatible
  • 126x87x29mm
  • 175g
  • BounceBack Professional 7.0 recovery software
  • 40GB capacity
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • Windows-/ Mac OS-compatible
  • 126x87x29mm
  • 175g

OUR VERDICT

It seems odd trying to justify spending £175 on something you probably won't ever have to use. But if you value your data or want some reassurance that you won't have to start from scratch if your laptop's hard drive decides to fail, the ABSplus could be worth its weight in gold.

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