Not long ago, I wrote about the ease (and importance) of backing up your system via standard CDs as a viable and relatively simple procedure for most.

However, the number of questions I received afterwards made it apparent that not everyone who owns a computer is comfortable and knowledgeable regarding the process of burning CDs and that many users simply don't know how to find the files that are important to back up in the first place.

Along with these questions, at least one of my readers suggested that I investigate a product they personally used, a portable hard drive from CMS Peripherals. (

Their timing was perfect because not long after acquiring the CMS Automatic Backup System (ABS) Plus my hard drive decided it was time to call it quits. There's absolutely no doubt that the ABS Plus made the process of recovery a much more pleasant experience.

From a physical perspective, the ABS Plus is nothing more than a very handy (and very portable) hard drive. Sizes range from a mere 7 oz for portable models to 2.4 lbs for those intended for use for desktop and server backups. Storage capacities range from 20 GB all the way up to a whopping 250 GB.

What makes the system so cleaver (aside from the fit-in-your-palm size) is the included software that makes backing up your computer a fast and efficient process that requires practically no technology sophistication. If you can figure out where to plug in the cords, then you have all the skills necessary to back up your system.

Speaking of cords, CMS offers a number of choices. You can purchase models that work with USB 1.1 and 2.0, FireWire or even PC card adapters that will connect to just about any notebook manufactured.

I personally choose the 20 GB portable unit ($279 retail) using a USB 2 connector for the simple reason that the USB 2 standard is extremely fast, and is common to both notebooks and desktop computers. In addition, USB allows not only the transfer of data, but also to supply power to the ABS Plus itself.

This allows me to carry 20 GB of data in a mere 7 oz package; which can be used for both back-ups and also for moving data from computer to computer.

While the price of the ABS units is not insignificant, the flexibility and protection offered is certainly a worthwhile value - and perhaps the only way that many will finally be "backed up" with ease.

For more information, you can visit the manufacture's web site at


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale