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The Tornado For Easy File Transfer

Transferring files between machines should be easy in these days of Ethernet and wireless networking -- but it's still a pain to fuss with setting permissions, and too often network sharing just doesn't work for mysterious reasons.

In the old days we shared files by connecting two machines with a serial or parallel cable, and used software like Laplink or Symantec PC Anywhere to browse and sync files and folders. In today's networked world these tools are still going strong, now also with remote access and remote control capabilities across the Internet. Laplink also offers PC Mover for migrating to a new Windows PC, not just moving your files, but also installed programs and settings. PC Mover works across networks, USB cables, DVD/CD media, and still good old parallel cables.

But these solutions are still overkill for quickly transferring data between two machines -- you still need to worry about installing and configuring software that you really only intend to use one time.

Which brings us to The Tornado from Data Drive Thru -- a pocket-sized all-in-one file transfer device designed for quick and easy use.

The basic Tornado is palm-sized (4.8 oz), and contains two retractable USB cables that extend to a total length of over 4 feet. Just press the button to zip the cords back into the unit.

But that's just the physical connection -- what about the software?

The real utility of The Tornado is that the software is built in to the unit. There's no separate disc, no installation -- The software simply auto-runs, displaying full-screen browser windows on both systems. You can browse between both systems, and then just drag and drop to copy files and folders, cut and paste to move data, and delete files and folders as well. The transfer is bi-directional -- you can use either system to move files in either direction. (You can also set the local system as read-only to avoid accidents.)

When you plug The Tornado in to a USB port on a PC, Windows mounts it as a removable drive that happens to contain some software. The program, straightforwardly named The Tornado File Transfer Tool, then auto-runs from the device. The software starts very quickly, with no loading delay, and then establishes the connection within a couple of seconds. The File Transfer Tool displays a simple file browsing interface, with expandable folders on the left and file icons or details on the right. Transfers then run quickly over the fast USB 2.0 interface, although it would be nice if the status window displayed some indication of progress towards completion.

The Tornado is available for around $49 for Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, and Vista. A new version, the iTornado, is due out around March for around $79 and will work with both Macs and Windows systems.

The Tornado also is available bundled with PC Eraser software, also from Data Drive Thru, which wipes files from hard drives using U.S. Dept. of Defense standards ($59 bundle, $29 software only).

See my Portable Storage Gallery for details and comparisons on memory cards, USB drives, and hard disk storage.

    Find The Tornado on Amazon.com

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