External Storage Guide

GStor Secure Mobile Storage review

GStor Secure Mobile Storage

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Using the Drive

Using the Drive

The drive is based on the popular USB 2.0 interface and it should work on any PC with a USB port since it is also backward compatible with the USB 1.1 standard. Drivers are not needed if it is used with Windows 2000, XP or 2003 as it uses a generic USB controller that Windows would recognize. It is also compatible with other operating systems like Mac OS 9.x (and above) and Linux kernel 2.4 (and above).

Apart from the usual external power adapter, driver disk and USB cable supplied with the drive, you will find two dongles bundled in the package. The dongles are the security keys used together with the drive for encryption purposes and they plug right into the rear end of the drive. Although it uses a common 1394a adapter, it is not FireWire capable as the Excelstor is really just using a common adapter for the dongle's interface. So be doubly sure that you don't plug a FireWire accidentally as it could damage the drive. Each of these keys contains a unique identifier that has to be initialized with the drive before it can be used. Upon powering the drive with the dongle inserted, the unique key stored within the dongle will be written into the drive's Flash memory. The drive will only store up to two keys, so both dongles must be initialized with the drive. After initialization, the keys will be tied to the drive and it cannot be used in other drives.

Since the drive's encryption capabilities are mostly embedded into the drive's hardware, no software installation is necessary. Without the key, the drive would still power up and be recognized in Windows, but the disk volume would either not mount or it appears unformatted. Formatting or partitioning the drive would be impossible, as it would cause Windows to lock up. Thus, there's no way a data thief could have access to your information without the key, and there's no resale value of the drive either since it is locked up by the hardware.

Removing the drive from the chassis and directly connecting it to the PC to extract data will not work either since the hardware encryption is embedded in the hard drive. Similar to what you'll experience without the security key, the drive will be recognized by Windows but you will not be able to see any data and the disk volume would appear to be unformatted.

Since recovering your data is virtually impossible without the access keys, it is very important to keep your keys in a safe location. If you lose one of the keys, you can immediately contact Excelstor's support center to have one of the keys replaced. However, if you lose both keys, Excelstor will not help you recover your data since they cannot be sure if you are the real owner of the device. When that happens, your data and storage device will be permanently useless.