Bad software design renders Seagate Replica a risky buy

A few weeks ago, I bought Seagate's new Replica backup solution.  I was searching for a drive that could back up both my Sony desktop and my Toshiba laptop in a single solution, without having to invest in expensive software and an external drive separately.  I wanted an integrated solution and I found one!

Or thought I had.

It is and looks pretty slick; it is also nice to have it constantly running in the background, constantly backing up your files and ready to help you recover from a catastrophic hard drive failure.

At least you think it is.  But there is a serious design flaw in the Seagate solution that you need to be aware of before you buy   because there is nothing -- zip, zero, nada -- in any of their literature that alerts you to this defect.

Here's the flaw:

Even though Seagate's literature says you need a drive that is at least the same size as the previous hard drive, that is not entirely accurate.  You see, Replica requires an identical drive partition to the original hard drive, regardless of that drive's ultimate capacity.

My Sony had an older hard drive, and I wanted to upgrade to a drive that has a capacity six times that of the original.  I set up the new hard drive to my larger partition specifications, and then let the replica do its restoration work.

You can imagine my angst when, hours later, I saw the original drive partitions restored -- and tons of unallocated space sitting unused.  Two separate chats with Seagate technicians, on two separate days over two weeks, confirmed what I feared; that the replica cannot accept restoring to a partition greater than the one that it copied.  It cannot be defeated and cannot be tweaked.

I have a few workarounds, but regrettably they all involve making a separate image of the new drive with the "old" partitions; repartitioning and reformatting the new drive; restoring to the new drive partitions; erasing the "old" image from the replica; and then restarting a new backup ofthe new partitions.  I estimate this will take more than a day's worth of work to accomplish.  In other words, engaging in the same behavior I wanted to avoid by buying the Replica.

Seagate could have made this a much more desirable solution by giving the software the flexibility to restore to a larger partition.  I mean, who in this day and age wants to go out and buy an older, smaller, obsolete drive?  Especially when Seagate is in the business of selling hard drives. 

Bad call, Seagate. Bad decision.  Stupid, really.

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
Related:
Fix Windows 10 problems with these free Microsoft tools
Shop Tech Products at Amazon