Review: How DriveBender Voltrons your hard drives into one

I saw this offer on OzBargain for a $10 purchase of DriveBender, so I thought hell, why not? I was looking to try this on my PC, I like reviewing new technology and I can afford to blow ten bucks on this.

(And it’s high time I did my bit towards supporting Australian developers.)

Summary
DriveBender basically works by pooling all your drives into one. So if you had a stack of hard drives in your PC with varying sizes, you could use DriveBender to add all the drives into a pool, and mount it as a single drive. You can add more drives as you go along, which makes expansion really easy.

The good thing is, existing files do not need to be deleted – you can merge the drives the way they are. Formatting is an option, but not necessary.

It also provides redundancy by writing data to two drives simultaneously, similar to how RAID would work. The setup is much easier on this one though.

If you want to stop using DriveBender, there is no catch. The file system is still NTFS, so your files will still be readable after removing the drives from the pool.

Here’s the full feature list.

Example
I have a couple of 1TB hard drives (F: and G:), and a 2TB drive (H:). By using DriveBender, I pool them all into a single drive letter F: that has a total capacity of 4TB.

Caveat
It works on Windows.

Review
Installation was quite straightforward. .NET was downloaded as a supporting component, I had to restart the PC for the .NET install. Everything carried on automatically from there, no fuss no hassle.

Setting up the pooled drive was another kettle of fish altogether. It looked really easy, but I took five tries to get it right. I mucked things up by adding the 1TB drive first, and adding the 2TB drive after. Somehow or other, I ended up with a new drive with no files inside. The DriveBender manager however, showed that the files were still in the drive (somewhere).

So I had a second go at it, removing the drives from the pool, creating a new pool just to be sure I did things right. The thing about creating a pool, you have to restart the manager application. So there were these little hiccups here and there that made things a little messier than it had to be.

The good thing was that everything worked perfectly, soon as I did it right.

Tips on using DriveBender

  • Use the wizard – it makes life much easier.
  • Use the default pool.
  • Always add the drive with the biggest capacity first.
  • If it mucks up and your files disappear from the new drive, do not panic. DriveBender does not delete files unless you ticked the box for a drive format. Remove the drives from the pool and do it again. A little patience sorts things out.

If you have tried DriveBender as well, I’d be interested to hear how you fared with it. For now, I would recommend it as an easy means of merging physical drives into a logical drive at a low cost (with redundancy).

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