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Which external hard drive would you recommend?

(11 Posts)
kasbah72 Tue 06-Sep-11 14:22:11

We are at storage overload on both our pc laptop and desktop.

This has prevented DH from uploading more music in to his --ridiculously large--itunes account.

This has prevented me from uploading any more ridiculously large photo albums and ridiculously large and evil but essential powerpoint presentations.

All of these things have not been good for marital relations. Of any sort. Or being productive as a self-employed person. Which is obviously not good.

I have done a bit of research in to external hard drives because I guess that is what I need however I am getting really confused.

I basically need a drive that doesn't need too much tech savvy to operate. I want to download everything off both machines so therefore I am willing to pay for ridiculous amounts of storage on the drive.

I also need to make sure that whatever I copy stays within the same tree filing format as I have on my machines because otherwise I will cry get very confused.

Seagate seems to be recommended a lot but someone posted a review about them only copying in to generic photo, document etc files which wouldn't work for me.

Please could you recommend an external hard drive that you think would work for us?

Thank you!


kasbah72 Tue 06-Sep-11 14:23:26

Ugh, apologies for the strike through fail. His itunes account is so large that it even breaks my mumsnet messages. Help is required!

niceguy2 Tue 06-Sep-11 14:33:45

Ok first of all. How big are your current hard disks on your laptop & desktop?

How big is your photo library, music library and documents (inc powerpoint).

Modern hard disks are pretty big so either you are using a ridiculously old drive or you are kleptomaniacs.

I mean I have all my photos since the first time I took photos with a digital camera, I have photos from DSLR sometimes in RAW and fine JPG and my entire library comes to 60GB. My music library is about 10GB. Everything I have from work and home documents is about another 50GB. So I could easily use a 200GB drive and have space to spare. I just recently backed EVERYTHING up including my massive video collection up including HD videos into 1.5TB.

Most external hard drives are practically identical in operation. So get whichever you like which is big enough. If you have a LOT of stuff then get yourself something like this: 2TB Buffalo Drive (Note this drive will need external power).

If you want to maintain the same file structure, I'd use a sync tool rather than a backup software. Personally I love AllwaysSync and it's well worth the $20 for peace of mind.

But be warned....never rely upon an external drive to store documents. It sounds to be fair like you'd be better off with an external drive AND a hard drive upgrade on your laptop & desktop. Do both, have backups of everything. one day you will thank your stars you did it.

kasbah72 Tue 06-Sep-11 15:02:21

OK, so when I say we have loads and loads of stuff it isn't quite at the heady heights of 2 TB yet!
I guess I am paranoid about spending money on something that fits now but that we will outgrow in the next year.

His ipod is a 60gb old one and that is close to being full. Our laptop is only 3gb but the desktop is 500gb I think.

It looks like 1 - 1.5 tb will be be than enough. Thank you.

How does that software work for the sync tool? Do I need to download anything on to the original machines? My laptop could handle a small download but the pc is literally at maximum now and not coping with any messing about at all.

Hard drive upgrade - do I need to go back to the original manufacturers to get that sorted? Sorry for sounding so dim. My pc has a back up drive that I have copied docs and pics to so far but is obviously also getting fuller. I was just planning on backing up v important stuff but then copying things like picasa, my kodak files etc etc on to the new drive and then deleting the equivalent from my hard drive.

Am I mad doing that?

Really appreciate the help.

Thank you!

BadgersPaws Tue 06-Sep-11 15:14:16

"His ipod is a 60gb old one and that is close to being full. Our laptop is only 3gb but the desktop is 500gb I think."

You don't have to keep music in iTunes to keep it on the iPod. With the bigger iPods you often really don't want to do that as it just wastes disk space. You can set the iPod to be manually managed and once the music is on the iPod delete it from the computer. It's what I do all the time with an 80gb iPod and an 80gb laptop.

If you do want to play the music through the computer then you can still do that by connecting the iPod and then playing it directly through iTunes.

So I think you can delete that music, and get 60gb back, ask for more details if you want to do this.

This doesn't remove the need to have an external drive to back things up to, but that's what it should be for, a backup. The data should still routinely live somewhere else.

niceguy2 Tue 06-Sep-11 16:21:30

It sounds to me like you are copying files to a drive on your PC. In which case I'd have to ask are you sure the drive is a physically separate drive? It may appear as a C: D: drive for example but it could be just partitioned that way. Look in control panel -> Administrative tools -> Computer Management -> Disk management and make sure you have Disk 0 & Disk 1.

Because what could happen is if you only have 1 real disk, if it dies, it will take both your files & backups with it.

Additionally you need to think about what you'd do if your desktop gets stolen.

Sounds to me like you need a good clean up more than anything else. What you could do is archive some of the old stuff to the new external disk and then burn to DVD for extra protection.

As for upgrade, you may be better off getting a professional to clone your drive for you. Shouldn't take too long.

kasbah72 Tue 06-Sep-11 16:59:48

Actually a step by step guide to that would be great. His concern is that wiping it from the hard drive risks losing all his music. He collects thousands of old discs and just uploads the songs he likes so this really is his main storage facility.
I guess if I copy it to a new hard drive and then go through steps to delete it from the machine then we at least have it in 2 places.

Actually that's a thought - is it easy to set the new disc so it doesn't delete anything that has subsequently been deleted from the main hard drive it is syncing with?

Thanks so much for the help.

BadgersPaws Tue 06-Sep-11 20:24:31

Here are the instructions from Apple on how to manually manage the music on an iPod:

Once you've done this music can be deleted from iTunes without it being deleted from the iPod. Also when you want to add new music to the iPod you have to drag it from the iTunes library onto the iPod when it's plugged in on iTunes.

Presumably he still has the disks, so in the end that becomes his ultimate back up.

And of course you'll also have the music on the iPod, so that's two places in total (iPod and CD) which is really rather secure. Getting music off of an iPod is a little bit fiddly but it is possible if the worst were to happen.

kasbah72 Wed 07-Sep-11 22:55:09

Thanks for that, much appreciated. Will go through the guide and see what we can do.

GraceK Wed 07-Sep-11 23:07:03

Why bother purchasing an external harddrive? Have you considered using cloud storage instead? We freed up loads of space on our laptop by putting all our photos (on 'friends & family only' viewing) on Flickr for $25 per year. We can let other people access them if we want them too & it's up to Yahoo / BT to back it up every night for us.

I haven't researched storage for music as I'm very old school & still buy most things on cd / lp (hard copy) - much to the annoyance of my husband but I'm sure there are some reliable ones out there. Just find a big provider.

BadgersPaws Wed 07-Sep-11 23:32:10

"Why bother purchasing an external harddrive? Have you considered using cloud storage instead?"

Speed. Copying gigs and gigs of data to an external disk can be slow, copying it to the cloud is going to be even slower.

Space. Apple's iCloud is going to give a maximum space of 50gb. That wouldn't even back up my iPod yet alone the other data on my computer.

Cost. That 50gb of iCloud space is going to cost you £70 a year, every year. For that much money I can buy myself a 1tb (so 20 times the space) drive.

Trust. What happens if the company hosting your data just shuts down? Unlikely with the bigger players, but still it's a worry.

Security. The US Government sees any company who works in the US as liable to the US Patriot Act whether or not your data ever touches US computers. This troubles some people too.

So there are many reasons why wide spread cloud storage is a way away yet. But it's getting closer, and on the plus side you do get that assurance that backups are being taken care of for you.

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