If you thought choosing a hard drive was all about the cost per gigabyte, think again. Automatic backup, hardware-based encryption, and Web access are just a few of the features offered by today's most sophisticated storage tools.
For complete system backups
This 5.6-inch device is an ideal data-disaster-prevention tool. Just plug it in and hit OK; it will continuously back up everything, including your operating system, programs, and settings.
COST: $130 (250GB, single PC) to $180 (500GB, multiple PCs)
For automatic backups
Clickfree Backup Drive
There's no software to install or configure; just plug this 4.5-inch device into a PC, and it starts backing up photos, documents, and more. The ingenious Transformer cable ($60) adds the same capability to a hard drive you already own.
COST: $90 (120GB) to $220 (500GB)
For locking down data
The 5-inch Maxtor BlackArmor absolutely prohibits access without the proper password -- not even professional data recovery services can crack it. Easy-to-use software lets users set an automated backup schedule and sync data on multiple computers.
COST: $170 for 320GB
For getting to your data online
Western Digital My Book World Edition
Access your files from the Web -- even if your PCs are turned off. Tech-savvy users can use this 6.8-inch device to back up files remotely, but it isn't easy. The drive can also stream music to an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
COST: $230 (1TB) or $450 (2TB)