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Dell to offer desktops with backup drives

Dell announced a way to help consumers who've accidentally deleted a file or lost valuable data because of a hard drive crash.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Dell Inc. announced an all-inclusive way Wednesday to help consumers who've accidentally deleted precious photos or lost valuable data because of a hard drive crash.

Starting in November, Dell will install its "DataSafe" option on new Dimension E310 and E510 and XPS 400 desktop computers.

For $99, consumers get a second, 80-gigabyte hard drive inside the computer which acts as a mirror, continually backing up data on the primary drive. Larger disk sizes are planned.

While consumers could conceivably buy an extra hard drive and third-party software and do the same thing, the idea was to make it simple for consumers, spokesman Liem Nguyen said.

"You don't have to mess with any widgets or gears," he said.  "It's ready right out of the box."

Included software will monitor the health of the drives and alert users to any problems. It also will let people restore their computer to an earlier point in time, should problems arise.

DataSafe, however, differs from the system restore function that comes built-in with the Windows XP operating system, Dell officials said.

While the Windows system restore can resurrect important system files and lost settings, it can't recover deleted music clips, family photos or other personal files.

Even if one of the drives fails, the computer will continue to work. DataSafe uses a long-standing technology called RAID, or redundant array of independent disks, to funnel the same information to multiple disk drives simultaneously.