The Tornado File Transfer Tool Review

In my day job as a computer technician… one of the things I work with is computer data, moving files from one place to another. Depending on the situation, there is more than one way to move said data.? It could involve using, USB flash drives, making DVD-R’s, USB external hard drives, taking apart the computer and removing the hard drive to connect to another computer as a secondary hard drive. All these methods vary in length of time needed to complete the transfer. And as always, a direct A to B is the quickest way to get it done. This where Data Drive Thru‘s?Tornado File Transfer Tool comes to the rescue. It is a file transfer tool that plugs into the USB ports of two computers and bridges a direct connection, so that one can copy files from one computer to another.

The device is a oval like 4.47″ x 3.21″ x 0.85″ silver case with openings on two ends to allow the retractable USB cables to be pulled out.? On the face is a chrome button, when pressed will retract the deployed USB cables. To deploy the USB cables, you just pull on the USB plugs until hearing a click from the device, depending on how close the two computers USB ports are, you can leave the cable at one, two, or three clicks.? The instructions say not to pull the cables beyond the red tape, which is the fourth click. With the USB cables fully deployed, there is a length of about 4 feet to reach from computer to computer, so the two computers will have to be setup near each other.

Upon first plugging The Tornado into the host computer, Windows automatically detects the USB device and sets it up and then it launches the file transfer program which is stored inside the The Tornado body on its circuit board. The same happens on the remote computer and you get on both computers a File Manager type window that has a split view, one of the computers you are looking at, “THIS COMPUTER” and the remote computer is shown as “OTHER COMPUTER”.

On some computers, which I think the autorun feature has been turned off, the The Tornado file transfer program will not automatically launch. This happened on one computer I used for testing. If this happens, you would have to manually start it by going to “My Computer” and clicking on the CD-ROM icon labeled “The Tornado” and then the “StormF1.exe”.

A green LED lights up when the data connection is made with the PC. Etched into the casing?are arrows pointing to the corresponding USB cable. There is an LED for both sides; the LEDs blinks to indicate that a data transfer is taking place.

Copying files is as easy as dragging and dropping, like you normally do with typical removable media on your computer. Drag the folder or highlighted folders from the “THIS COMPUTER” window to the “OTHER COMPUTER” window. It’s that simple.

[Ed. note: I used The Tornado to move files between my Toshiba laptop and Fujitsu Tablet, and as I noted in the Fujitsu unboxing article, having it made data transfer?a cinch.]

How quick is The Tornado? To find out, I tested it between two Windows XP computers with USB 2.0 ports. To copy 713 MB of DVD VOB files it took 1 minute, 25 seconds. To copy the same 713 MB of files to one of my USB flash drives took 2 minutes and 6 seconds. Figure in that unplugging the USB flash drive, moving it to the other test computer, and plugging it in and having it detect will take under another minute and add to that another 2 minutes 30 seconds to copy the files off the USB flash drive. Proof that having an in-between, takes longer than the direct A to B.

I don’t have the timing numbers, but under additional testing with two Windows 2000 computers, The Tornado came through with similar time results. Even USB 1.1 to USB 2.0 transfer was quick too.

The Tornado is a easy to use device, as it is plug and play. If you can drag and drop folders and files, you can copy your files from one computer to another using The Tornado. I recommend The Tornado to people who have both a desktop and a portable computer. It is the quickest and easy way to have your important files on both of your computers. You can also use The Tornado to backup your laptop to your desktop, provided that you have a large hard drive in your desktop computer. Lastly, you can use The Tornado to transfer your data to a new computer before you wipe the hard drive of your old one.

The Tornado File Transfer Tool is available from the manufacturer.
MSRP: $ 59.95
What I Like: Easy to use and quick.
What Needs Improvement: Nothing

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6 Comments on "The Tornado File Transfer Tool Review"

  1. Tyler Puckett | March 19, 2007 at 8:55 am |

    Could you not just buy (or make) a Crossover Ethernet cable? They’re definitely not $60 and all they require is setting up a peer-to-peer LAN between the two machines to copy files. Of course, that only supports 100Mbps (unless both machines has Gigabit Ethernet support), so it may be slower than USB 2.0 (though I doubt it, USB 2.0 has a LOT of overhead associated with it). Another alternative is connecting the two machines with a FireWire* cable, which in this case will act just like a Crossover ethernet cable, and will work at 400Mbps (which, in spite of it’s lower number, is faster than USB 2.0; there’s much less overhead with FireWire). *FireWire == IEEE 1394 == i.Link

  2. renzokuken | March 19, 2007 at 9:37 am |

    Few computers have FireWire port and the FireWire cable alone is not very cheap either.
    Many computer don’t have Ethernet port or NIC plugged, making an xover and setting up peer-to-peer takes at least 3 minutes if you are really in a hurry.
    Almost all computer nowaday have usb port. Plug and play right away will make you feel geeky.
    But i do think $60+ for that is too expensive. 40- will be a happy figure for both sides.

  3. Tyler Puckett | March 19, 2007 at 12:11 pm |

    I’d be willing to argue that Ethernet is more prevalent than USB in older machines. I know a ton of older laptops and even desktops that have 10 or 10/100 Ethernet jacks and no USB (or only USB 1.1) ports.

    I guess I’m talking from the perspective of a Mac: All recent Macs have USB, Ethernet, and FireWire ports. With Macs all you have to do is plug them up with an Ethernet cable (crossover or straight-through) and it automatically sets up a LAN. Firewire works the same way. Macs even have a Target Disk Mode where you can connect both Macs with a FireWire cable, boot one into Target Disk Mode, and it will appear as a removable drive on the other machine.

  4. Tyler, not everyone is knowledgeable with setting up a peer-to-peer. This product, while seeming a bit pricey to some, would be a great help to the the technology challenged. It is true plug and play and no technical knowhow required.

    Also, renzokuken is right, not all computers have a NIC or firewire, but almost all computers come with USB ports.

  5. With desktops built in the last few years they will definitely have both Ethernet and USB, and for the VAST majority of laptops this is true as well. While I wouldn’t say connecting two computers together with a crossover and transfering files is hard by any means, this would still be simpler. nice product!!

    Oh and unfortunately Vista has removed TCP/IP from Firewire in Vista so no speedy transfers there anymore. I have only done it a couple of times but it was fast!!

    Posted from my Treo 750.

  6. Chris Magnusson | March 19, 2007 at 8:54 pm |

    I bought a Belkin Vista transfer cable to move stuff between machines but it requires that Laplink PCsync be installed on each machine. Having the software in the cable itself and therefore not having to install anything is a definite benefit over the alternative.

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