Recommend external hard drive?

I want to back up my PC, but I'm not sure what to get. I've read lots of reviews where the external HD crashed or stopped being recognized by the PC. What brand of external hard drive is very reliable?

I bought a Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus (500GB), but haven't opened it yet. It does a full system backup (a key feature for me), but the reviews indicate it has some reliabilty issues.


FWIW, I was going to get a WD MyBook. Maxtor drives have always failed me right after the warranty expired, but IIRC, they got bought out by a reputable company.

Do most/all externals come with software? The Maxtor that I bought (and plan on returning) has software that manages files, schedules backups, and will do a complete image copy - OS, settings, the works. I'm looking at the WD MyBook on Amazon, but nobody has said anything about software. Either people aren't mentioning it because it's a given, or it isn't included.

If imaging software does not come standard, can you recommend a good backup application? I bought Norton Ghost, but I have read some bad things about Norton products... like they don't work well, and they're a PAIN to get rid of. What is a good alternative?