External hard drive - which one?(8 Posts)
I need to expand the memory on my laptop (which is our main computer so has tons of photos/music/videos on it) and have decided to go for an external hard drive.
I've been looking on Amazon and reckon I want 500GB and not to pay much more than £60 which narrows the field somewhat, but is there anything I should be looking out for?
I read an article about portable v desktop, but I guess either would be ok for us. It'll just sit in a drawer when not in use and won't be connected to the laptop all the time. It's just for storing files that we don't need all the time.
I can't recommend any particular drives but I do have a bit of advice...
External drives in my eyes fall into two main groups. Those that get all their power from the USB cable that they connect to the computer with and those that need an additional mains cable to plug them in.
It's very handy to have a small drive that only needs the one USB cable as it's very portable. I keep one in my drawer and it's a doodle to set up when I want to use it.
But on the other hand drives that need a separate power cable, which makes moving them a bit of a chore, are usually quicker and can offer a lot more space.
So think if you want portability or if you'll be happy with something sat permanently on a corner of your desk.
I think the portability factor is the biggest thing for us so probably a drive that powers off the USB cable would be best.
I've been looking at Western Digital and Seagate on Amazon. Saw a Seagate one that I liked the price/size off and then read the (minority) one star reviews about drives failing and got put off, but then read one star reviews for other makes (including WD) which also talk about them failing - I guess things do break down.
Definitely portable drive rather than desktop drive.
But word of caution. Never ever ever only have one copy of your files. Especially on a portable drive.
So don't buy the drive as an extension of your collection. Get one as a backup and have multiple copies. I've lost count of the amount of times people I know have shat themselves when their laptop/computer breaks down and they suddenly realise they might have lost all their photos of the kids etc.
I have a Western Digital which is a backup and a LaCie one which is a back-up of that (I also have a USB stick for short term back up). And I email myself stuff, and have online photo storage. Am v twitchy about losing things - can you tell? I slightly prefer LaCie but the WD one is three or four years older, so it's not a fair comparison.
I second NiceGuy though - my sister had a Toshiba one which was about three months old and it died, with all her stuff on. It wasn't the only copy of her most important files, but it was of some other bits. She called Toshiba because it was under warranty, and they said that they would replace it for free but couldn't get her information off it. Luckily it wasn't the end of the world, but if you aren't careful then you could lose everything, despite having been cautious about backing stuff up.
Ha - yes, been there with a faulty laptop. Some of the photos were on Flickr, some had been emailed to friends so were on my Gmail, some were online via Picasa but I'd have lost a lot of ds's baby photos if I hadn't wept & rent my garments in PC World and haggled the manager down to a half price data retrieval (luckily successful).
My photos and important files are now backed up all over the place. This would be mainly for media files - and tbh, (apart from CD collection rips) the way in which many of them were acquired would probably mean that it was karma coming to bite me if they were lost. I wouldn't be putting anything on it that I'd be more than v irritated to lose.
I have a Western Digital MyBookLive 3TB.
It is hooked up to my network (plugs into the router), and all the PCs and laptops are automatically backed up everyday. After the initial setup, I haven't touched it. I haven't had to restore anything, but it looks straightforward enough.
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