External Seagate Drives: A Portable 2.5" and a Pocket Drive

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The Pocket Drive is based around a tiny 1" Microdrive with 6 GB of capacity. With an average price of around ~US$15 per gigabyte, its asset is its size, not its capacity or performance. Like its larger cousin, the physical case is much larger than the drive itself.

In appearance, the Pocket Drive resembles a miniature UFO (much like the power brick for a generation of Apple PowerBooks). The circular design serves a functional as well as an aesthetic purpose: The outer ring (silver) slides around the inner core to wrap and unwrap the cable.

Unfortunately, the cable is barely six inches long, which meant that the drive often dangled from the cable when it was plugged in. This may have been by design — the drive didn't appear to suffer from any ill effects while hanging — but the long term stress on the USB port could be an issue.

The translucent center "button" lights up in blue whenever the drive seeks, and, like the 2.5" drive, seems unnecessarily bright.

Wind and unwind: Cable management is a piece of cake.

Lots of approvals from two/three/four letter agencies.


"Pocket Drive Toolkit" comes pre-loaded on the Pocket Drive. When run, the software installs itself on the host machine and sets itself to start whenever the computer is booted, asking for internet access if a firewall is in place. The software does not show up in the Add/Remove Programs list, but a menu option, accessible from the taskbar, allows the software to be uninstalled.

Without the software, the Pocket Drive functions like any other removable storage, but there are several features that are accessible only through the utility:

  • Create Boot Disc (formats the drive with FreeDos installed)
  • Manage Partition (allows free adjustment of public / encrypted partitions)
  • Restore Factory Default (formats the drive and reinstalls all of the default utilities)
  • Log in to Encrypted Partition & Change Password
  • Write Protect Drive

This utility comes pre-loaded on the drive.

Use the Toolkit utility to log in to the encrypted partition.

The encryption feature of the Pocket Drive is worthy of note because the encryption is done by the drive itself, not the operating system. In fact, unless the user is logged in, the encrypted partition is completely invisible to Windows' partition manager. By the same token, when the user is logged in, the unencrypted portion of the drive disappears, making it impossible to transfer data between the encrypted and unencrypted partitions without using temporary storage while the user logs in or out.

The encrypted ("Secure") and unencrypted ("Public") partitions can be resized at will.

Seagate Pocket Hard Drive (quoted from Seagate's datasheet)
Never worry about your data. This extremely durable pocket drive is designed with unique shock absorbers. Perhaps this is why the casing is so much bigger than the actual drive.
Built-in, retractable USB 2.0 cable is always available when you need it, protected in the sleek, round shell when you don’t. All-in-one integration; no extra cable to carry around.
Just plug this drive into your computer’s USB 2.0 port and go. You don’t need a power supply. Another important one for portability.
Hot-swappable, so you can connect and disconnect without turning off your computer. This should be expected.
3600-RPM drive with 2-Mbyte cache consistently delivers the high performance you need. How long has it been since someone has called a 3,600 RPM drive "high performance"? 10 years? 20?
Works with your PC and Mac. Ok.

One potential use of the Pocket Drive is as a permanent boot image that is hardware independent. Several self-configuring versions of Linux might be suitable. A few of them even boot without requiring write access to the system drive. Combined with the write protect feature, this makes possible an emergency boot disc that is unlikely to become infected with any net nasties. With write protect disabled, it could be a good tool for emergency file recovery. Of course, all such roles can already filled by bootable CD and DVD images, but the Pocket Drive has one advantage: A USB interface that does not require an optical drive to run.

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