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Victoriagotagun 01-25-2013 11:33

External Hard Drives
I have been thinking about getting one but I don't even know where to start. What are the pros and cons of getting an external hard drive vs saving files/pictures to cds/USB drives?

Also, what are the top brands and who has the best prices for them?


Ralff 01-25-2013 12:16

An external hard drive is usually USB, so basically it's just a really big USB drive.

Pros of an external hard drive are the capacity.

Cons are they're physically larger so some of them just won't fit in your pocket like a thumb drive. The only other con I can think of is that most of the larger external hard drives require an external power source.

captainstormy 01-25-2013 12:21

You may want to consider buying a prebuilt NAS unit. Buffalo sells some units that are really nice for consumers or small businesses.

Basically they are like an external hard drive except they connect to your router via ethernet and every PC on your network can access them. Very handy.

IndyGunFreak 01-25-2013 13:36

Well, if you just want to store some files, a NAS might be a bit overkill. If you want to stream media, etc.. a NAS is the way to go.

srhoades 01-25-2013 15:18

And they are just as prone to failure as any other hard drive, since they are just an internal hard drive in a case. So if you are storing important information on it you need to backup it up as well.

Bushflyr 01-25-2013 15:58

Something else to consider, depending on your space requirements is something like, Dropbox, Google drive, or Amazon cloud. Off site storage is much safer in the event of a disaster and more reliable as they (whoever 'they' may be) have real servers and a professional IT staff.

Pierre! 01-25-2013 23:59

I like these devices:

Backup Storage Inexpensive, Expandable, Portable, and Flexible!

I have 3 now - and quite a few hard drives to use for backups.

Hope that helps ya out!


IndyGunFreak 01-26-2013 06:30


Originally Posted by srhoades (Post 19910292)
And they are just as prone to failure as any other hard drive, since they are just an internal hard drive in a case. So if you are storing important information on it you need to backup it up as well.

This is very true.. having some sort of redundancy in your backup plan is critical.

TexanRon 01-26-2013 14:34

Like anything else, depends on what you want it for. I have a Western Digital USB drive that I use to primarily backup my pictures and financial data. Like other people said, they can, and will, eventually fail. They can also be stolen or burned up when your house catches fire. I also keep a small drive, about 300GB, in my safety deposit box. I bring it home once a quarter and backup everything then back to the bank it goes. It's all the pictures that I do not want to lose. These things are dirt cheap and, if you stick with something like WD, or name brand stuff, they are fairly reliable.

John_NJ 01-26-2013 15:00

I have a WD 500GB external drive. I generally use it for an extra back up. My main drive's are 2 WD 1TB in RAID 1 array.

I guess the need for an external drive will be determined by how much you need to store. You can get 64GB USB drives for 30 bucks these days and that may be enough.

Merlin40 02-02-2013 08:07

I have a Seagate Backup Plus. It's 1TB, and gives me all the room I need. I can set it for backup on the fly, or incremental backups. (weekly, monthly) it is about as large as a Samsung Galaxy III phone. It works for me.

Paul53 02-02-2013 10:04

I have a Seagate 500gb. I use external drives for backup. The Seagate and my current laptop have USB 3.0 ports which are much faster. Flawless. I'd suggest looking to the fastest port on your 'puter and match a drive interface to it. If you have a desktop, you can add a USB 3 card. I hear there's a much faster standard coming soon (isn't there always?).

sappy13 02-02-2013 10:49

I keep most of my files(except financials) backed up mainly via dropbox and my google storage. I also periodically back it up to an external. I would bite the bullet and get an external drive instead of a internal. That way you can always take your data with you if needed. Depending on your router, you could also hook your external up via usb to the router and use it as a nas.

pipedreams 02-02-2013 11:27

If your computer is new enough to have USB3 you might look at those if you buy a USB external drive. The USB3 is considerably faster than the older USB drives. I have a Seagate 1TB drive that is very compact and can easily travel with a laptop.

Whatever you get you need more than one backup to be safe.

Victoriagotagun 02-02-2013 14:21

Thanks for the opinions. Looks like I have a few options to look into.

On the off site safe would the date be?

MikeG22 02-02-2013 18:41

I have a usb drive I do local backups onto and then have online backup with to backup the data there as well. So files stay on the normal computer and I have redundant backups. Everything is encrypted before uploading to the online backup so it's secure. If you get a 2.5" external drive those generally do not need additional power but the 3.5" ones do, so depending on how much storage you need it's something to think about. Also, if you do have and use a usb 3.0 one, make sure you get a long cable if you use wireless to get internet on the computer. It can put out interference that can lead to slow wireless and drops if it sits to close to the computer antenna (a few feet is good).

Texas357 02-05-2013 01:04

Redundancy, and off-site especially, is important.

USB flash drives are convenient, but not good for long-term storage. They will lose the data after about 10 years in theory, if left alone.

Also, CDs/DVDs are not as stable as they were originally thought to be.

Texas357 02-05-2013 01:05


Originally Posted by Victoriagotagun (Post 19941274)
Thanks for the opinions. Looks like I have a few options to look into.

On the off site safe would the date be?

How safe is your parents' gun safe? How safe is a safe deposit box at your bank? All depends on where you put it.

bill4282 02-10-2013 03:25

I have two, a maxtor which is desktop model and a passport external. My maxtor is set to automatically backup. I only hook up the passport when traveling and take it with me so I have my files with me and redundant protection from theft and fire.

duncan 02-23-2013 02:40

Western Digital Passport USB HD $80 for 500G

Have a pair - one for cloning of OS and one for backup

Can fit in your back pocket.

Also have a Passport 1T for the family backup

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