Review: StarTech's flash drive duplicator, eraser is fast and simple

The eSATA/USB Portable Drive Duplicator also provides DoD standard flash drive erase capabilities

I've been using a StarTech hard drive duplicator for a couple of years now to clone my computer's drive to other internal drives for testing purposes. Once my OS, apps and data are transferred over to a hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD), I can then use the target drive for review purposes.

The StarTech eSATA/USB Portable Drive Duplicator has been a great tool because it contains no software to slowdown or complicate the imaging process. You plug in a source drive and a target drive, hit the start button, and that's it -- a short time later, you've got an exact copy of your source drive.

So when StarTech asked me to review their USB Standalone Flash Drive Duplicator, I looked forward to it.

StarTech's duplicator clones one USB 2.0 flash drive to one or two thumb drives simultaneously while erasing them at the same time.

The Drive Duplicator also functions as a drive eraser with the ability to wipe up to two flash drives simultaneously. The box has several erase modes, including quick erase, full erase, and secure erase, which follow the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) secure erase standard -- overwriting the flash drive three times to ensure that the data has been completely wiped.

The quick erase function deleted data on the drive without reformatting it; the full erase reformats the drive; and, the DoD erase fully erases the flash drive three times to ensure data is deleted.

To be fair, I'm not sure this product falls into the "consumer" category with a price tag of $212, especially in an era where an 8GB flash drive costs $12. So I'm placing this in the business category of products.

Like other duplicator (cloning) products from StarTech, the Flash Drive Duplicator is simplicity incarnate. The black box is 4.7-in by 5.1-in and one inch high. It has three USB ports and a LCD display. On the exterior of the box is a power plug, an on/off switch, three USB ports (each with a green and red LED light beneath it) and four push buttons. Two of the push buttons let you scroll up or down through a menu of functions on the LCD screen. Of the remaining two buttons, one starts the duplication process and the other is an escape key.

Drive Duplicator
StarTechs Flash Drive Duplicator unboxed. It comes with the duplicator unit, a universal power adapter with three interchangeable heads and an instruction manual

To operate the Drive Duplicator, you plug a source thumb drive and up to two other target thumb drives into the ports, hit start, and the source drive is duplicated onto the two target drives - everything that was on the target drives previously is overwritten. So even if the source drive is copying a 1MB file onto the target drives, everything else is erased in favor of an exact duplicate of the original drive. That's it. Simple.

I can see IT administrators who might want to create multiple copies of software upgrades on USB flash drives. Likewise, marketing professionals and sales people could use this box to make multiple copies of marketing materials or sales presentations for distribution.

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