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B10Cycle 07-23-06 02:34 PM

Computer Question: Ext. Hard Drives
So, I'm getting a new laptop for school next year and I want a bit of extra space as I have a lot of music and pictures and stuff that's been bogging down my current computer. As such, I've been looking for a way to keep the new one, umm, not so full of my crap.

That said, I've been looking at getting an external hard drive. They're huge and not that expensive. I"ve heard a lot of good things about them, but yesterday in my research I came upon a fair number of complaints about them locking people out from the data and having weird issues.

I can't see any reason they would be any less reliable than an internal hard drive. Does anyone out there with any experience dealing with these want to weigh in? Am I missing something? Is an external hard drive a reasonably reliable means of storing files on a computer? I'm looking at getting a Maxtor or Western Digital, most likely.

catatonic 07-23-06 02:37 PM

There are heat issues with these don't run them 24/7. It's best to only use them as needed.

If you need 24/7 accessibility, look into turning a small older tower style computer into a samba server...then you can add extra capacity for very little, so long as you have free IDE ports, or SCSI if you go that route.

As for "locking" someone out...did they buy some fancy-pants unit with network access, or just a simple USB or Firewire unit?

I have one, but I only use it for backing up my important financial data and such. It's turned off as soon as I am done using it.

bmclaughlin807 07-23-06 03:08 PM

The only time I've seen someone 'locked out' of their data is if they turn on encryption (available only if the drive is formatted NTFS), then their computer crashes, and they have to reinstall Windows. The encryption keys are stored in your Windows user data, so if you lose that, you lose access to said data.

There IS a way to export your keys to a file, so that if your computer crashes, and you have to reformat, you can get all the encrypted data... it's not hard to do, but most people don't realize it's a necessity.

PS: SOME hard drive enclosures have heat issues. I've never used one that has. My external drive is up 24/7 and has been for 6 months now... never had a problem. The internal drive in my server, on the other hand, has overheated twice... had to install another fan to cool it.

I think it has more to do with the hard drive itself than the enclosure. (External hard drives are simply internal drives in an external enclosure) Some drives run hotter than others.

operator 07-23-06 05:18 PM

It'd be better just to burn these things to dvd backups instead of a totally seperate drive.

zx108 07-23-06 05:45 PM

i have a 120gb fantom drives external hd about a foot away from me right now. i like it. i use it for backup only. there is a folder for each person on the computer. it holds everything you need. and if you dont want to keep programs on your comp, you can run them right off your external.

i think it was a good investment. go for it. and you can transport it easy, it is not big at all.

if you decide to i think fantom drives is a good idea. they are cheap and are reliable thus far. i think i have had it for close to two years.

Jerseysbest 07-23-06 05:54 PM

Excuse me if I pry, but what comp do you have now, and what do you plan on getting? If your comp is bogged down now, look into getting one with more memory and space. And a USB 2.0 port at least (dont buy an ebay special with a USB 1.1)

How 'bout getting an Ipod and using that as a storage drive, . I don't have one and probably won't get one, but if I wanted to store all my music some place other than my comp, an Ipod seems pratical, an it'll let you take you music anywhere. And depending on how many pictures you have, they shouldn't take up too much space, especially compared to your music.

zx108 07-24-06 09:43 AM

yea ipods can be used as an external hd becauce that is what they are, just with a music player installed. but they are also two or three times the price of a regular external hd

XC99TF00 07-24-06 01:03 PM

I haven't had a problem with overheating my external HD. I have a 320GB Western Digital that has been fantastic. I partitioned the drive into three 100GB hard drives just so i can reformat portions of it if need be and store the information from one partition on another temporarily if I need to while doing so. I basically have a backup Partition for everything on the laptop's internal HD, a music specific partition, and another partition for extra media, whether it be games or pictures, or anything else. So far no problems, and as for teh overheating, you can stand the Western Digital on its narrow side at least, and it has ventilation on both sides, thus keeping it cooler than if it were just in its side with the biggest surface area.

Another nice feature that may be in some other manufacturer's drives now is two USB ports built into the case of the external drive, so you can daisychain them together if you need more space, or connect other peripherals to it, such as a digital camera or USB mouse or whatever. It also has 2 firewire ports built into it, but I am yet to use those outside of using one for my Ipod. But all in all, I would def. suggest an external, as I have never had a problem with this one nor the previous one I owned.

B10Cycle 07-25-06 12:32 PM

Thanks for all the advice. I have a Gateway desktop now, its about four years old and has a ton of music and pictures and crap on it. I'm leaving this computer at home and going to school, so I don't really care a lot about this computer. It's been getting kind of run down the last year or two, so I've been planning to leave it as just a little e-mail thing for my dad. It'll probably get cleaned out when I go away.

I'm thinking about getting a Dell Inspiron laptop and doing what XC99TF is doing, but with a bit smaller external hard drive.

Thanks for all the advice.

zx108 07-25-06 05:23 PM

Originally Posted by B10Cycle
I'm thinking about getting a Dell Inspiron laptop and doing what XC99TF is doing, but with a bit smaller external hard drive.

go with a mac :D

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