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Advice wanted regarding External Drives for Backup

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by daisy43, Feb 21, 2020.

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  1. daisy43

    daisy43 Thread Starter

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    Hi Hope this is the correct forum.
    Seeking advice regarding backing up my photos etc on externals.
    I had 2 My Book externals which I used for backups until last year when one of them stopped working overnight All I could get on it was squiggles looking Chinese to me.

    So I have been wary about the other my book ever since. It is getting slower and hums a lot, is that normal?
    To replace the faulty old my book external I bought a small external to plug in with usb.

    But now I am wondering if to do away with the last my book and replace it with another small external with a bigger GB, before it stops. Do they normally hum?
    Can usb external be left plugged in all the time? As have no power?
    That would give me 2 back ups again Advice would be great






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  2. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    Hi daisy :)

    I also use a 2T WD My Book.
    I can only express my experience with it.

    It's been durable with no issues and sounds no louder than when I bought it, which was 5 years ago or so.
    There is no annoying hum, only a minor one that's not distracting and has been there since new.

    I only turn it on by way of an external switch at the end of a session, for backup.

    These devices don't last forever and there are percentages of early failure greater and lesser from one manufacturer/model to another.

    I've had more problems with Seagate drives than WD drives.
    And yet, I still have a 60 gb Maxtor drive (bought out by Seagate ) in a universal external USB case from almost 2 decades ago, that's still in use and testing shows it to be in good condition ( no SMART data available )

    Some just seem to last longer than others.

    But they all fail eventually. The trick is to replace when you see degradation before a failure. That you would do by periodically checking the drive's SMART data.
     
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  3. Oddba11

    Oddba11

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    A few thoughts.

    First, most external drives aren't ventilated well so having them connected and on all of the time will mean the drives stay warm or can get hot during use which will lead to quicker failure.

    As they are "backup" drives, having them connected and/or powered on is not a good idea. For example, a lightning strike hits your home and fries your computer....and the external drive because it's connected to the computer. Connect the drive, backup the files, then disconnect and power off. My backup drives are only connected during backups, otherwise they sit in the closet.

    As for drive reliability. It's pretty much the same for all major brands. They have all had bad models from time to time. I've had numerous drives of all models and most of my failures over the years have been age related. Prices are pretty cheap. Buy based on warranty and price. Save a few bucks by selecting a drive large enough to give you a little room for growth and not just jump to a drive way larger than you will likely need for your backups.
     
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  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    The above is all good advise;
    1 Do not leave an external drive ON all of the time. Note modern WD drives will pw down on their own after a period of time
    2 Do not leave the external connected. As Jim pointed out, what happens if you have a pw surge, get hit with ransom ware, etc???
    3 If you have two externals, have one connected [pw OFF until needed] and have the other one in a secure/safe place. I use my gun safe to store one of my externals.
     
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  5. plodr

    plodr

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    I store photos on 3 different media: data CDs, sd cards and external hard drives/USB sticks. That way if something dies, I have, hopefully 2 other backups.

    I just converted all my slides from the early 70's to jpegs. I have 2 copies so far. I want to check that I have everything, make a 3rd copy then throw the slides away.

    I own 7 portable external hard drives500Gb, 1TB and 2TB in size. I never let them plugged in. I remove as soon as I am finished.
     
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  6. managed

    managed Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    You can also copy important files to a cloud server such as Google drive.
     
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  7. daisy43

    daisy43 Thread Starter

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    Thanks for all the advice. It's a great help. The my book I still have is about 10 years old. The other my book was 8 years old and failed.
    So am worried this one will too. Always kept them plugged in as hard to reach to plug out & thought they were supposed to stay plugged in. Oh dear. ( simply because every time I create a new file I save it to windows and also to the my book. So would be continuously switching it on and off. I try to have 2 back ups.
     
  8. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    You're welcome. :)

    If that's what you need, that's what you do :)
    My needs are different.

    Consider the hardware as an expendable necessity.
     
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  9. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    As I said the new WD external drives will pw down by themselves after a period of time. This is fine for heat however this does nothing if your system is hit with ransom ware and or a pw surge/lightning strike.
    I would make one copy of data on an external you leave connected and then make periodic backups on a second drive that you have in a secure/safe area. Just think what would happen if you had a fire, flood, whatever???
     
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  10. polli

    polli

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    Had a think lol and decided to transfer some of my pc files onto a external I use for backing up photos etc. And buy a bigger external and transfer most of the stuff on my pc on to it. Just plug it in when I need it.
    As my pc is starting to run slower with having to load some of the files that I use very rarely. I don't want to part with them & I just like to have them handy just in case.:cautious:
    Would that help my pc?
     
  11. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    I doubt it is going to help speed; you have a low end amd APU type processor and only 4gig of ram. It is no speed demon. A system like this is fine for basic use ie email, running office, etc. If you intend on doing video editing or any other stressful endeavor, that system is pretty weak.
    Having multiple copies of anything important is a VERY good plan. Even better when you say you will have the drive disconnected unless it is in use.
     
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  12. daisy43

    daisy43 Thread Starter

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    Thank you all for the help its been very useful.
    I have now got a larger My Passport External and starting to put my most important files on it.
    Quick question though
    I don't use the program already on the external and when I bought a new one in the past I hid them from view
    But I cant remember how I did it :cautious: and also how to see the files again (if I should ever want to in the future)
     
  13. Oddba11

    Oddba11

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    I personally delete all of the supplied files or simply reformat the drive.

    You can't hide them that I'm aware.
     
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  14. daisy43

    daisy43 Thread Starter

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    Thanks Oddba. Thought I had to keep them lol.
     
  15. lynx1021

    lynx1021

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    Just a note, most back up hard drive should be changed after 5 years, getting 10 and 8 years is pushing it. I have an old 500 GB WD external that is about 10 years old but I filled it up and put it up for the last 5 years.
     
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