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Internal or External Hard Drives


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#1 JoeWatson

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 01:15 AM

I have 3 hard drives on my computer. One hard drive named C is only used for my Win XP Pro SP3 operating system and nothing else. A second hard drive I use for all my data, video, files, folders etc. The third hard drive is used for the backup of all my data from the second drive.

I have been recommended by some people to use an external hard drive as I will have a problem if I have a computer crash. I canít see the problem as I am assuming that my C drive only would be affected. The other 2 drives being almost a copy of each other. A crash wouldnít affect these 2 drives.

My understanding of external hard drives is that they are only external because of the portability factor. The problem with external hard drive is usually misuse in handling and cooling. Drives used internally re often more reliable and often have better cooling.

The reason for this post I to ask do I have all my facts right.

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#2 Allan

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 07:36 AM

Yes, you do. If the three internal drives are three separate, physical drives (as opposed to partitions of one drive) then whatever happens to one does not effect the others. Having said that, I'm anal about backups and keep images of my system drive on BOTH internal AND external drives.

#3 dpunisher

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 07:42 AM

I have 3 external hard drives/enclosures, and am not a big fan of them. On the other hand I have 2 docking bays I use with hard drives and I love them. Go figure.

I think that external hard drives are as reliable as how they are treated. Bang them around, let your kid crush walnuts with them, leave them in your car on a hot day, power them up and down for too many cycles, then you are going to have problems. Desktop drives are not made to be smacked around or deal with wide heat ranges, especially while in operation. Hence the reason for a docking bay. The hard drive is external, stays cool, and can quickly be exchanged with another should the need arise. Multiple hard drives, and 1 docking bay= happiness. I keep my hard drives with data in the shipping container everyone uses for OEM drives now (box and the two plastic endcaps) when not in use. I just got a USB3 dock and am like a little kid again. Backups are quick and painless now. If I need to shuffle data between systems, and don't feel like setting them up on a shared network, I have a couple of 16gig usb drives to do that with.

Keeping a backup hard drive in your case is also risky. It runs the same amount as your main drive(s), so wear and tear considerations. Power supply screws up and fries your main hard drive(s), well likely your backup drive is fried as well. If you can lose your backup data when Jr. knocks your case off your desk, then it isn't a backup.

As far as your C drive crashing, be aware that your programs installed on another drive depend on the OS registry/DLLs for their operation. Simply reinstalling the OS on the C partition will render your programs useless. Didn't know if you were hinting about doing that in your original post. Many years ago I made an image of my C partition after a new build, OS only, and a couple months later I had to restore it due to my incompetence. Well, every program I installed after that original C: image was useless. After that, I have one partition for the OS + programs, another partition for data, and a recovery partition. Data is backed up on an external, irreplaceable data is also burned to DVD and stored on a USB flash drive. Triple redundancy on important stuff.

Just an opinion, I could be wrong.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#4 Allan

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 07:48 AM

Many years ago I made an image of my C partition after a new build, OS only, and a couple months later I had to restore it due to my incompetence. Well, every program I installed after that original C: image was useless.


Well, yes - that's correct. That's why disc imaging should be done on a regular basis. You can't just create one image, put it in a safe place, and think you are protected. Personally, I create an image of my system partitions at least once a week and my other partitions at least once a month. I save them to both internal and external drives.

Regarding your assessment of the reliability of external drives, I couldn't agree more - it depends on how you treat them. Of course, that's true of internal drives too. If you bounce your computer around you are asking for trouble. I'm probably going to regret saying this out loud, but I've never had to replace a hard drive (internal or external) in any computer in over 30 years of using computers.

#5 dpunisher

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 07:56 AM

I have been fairly lucky as well. I did have one family member lose their hard drive on a system I built, but I got plenty of "click o death" warnings so I could save what needed to be saved. On my own stuff, I lost a RAID controller one time and lost my data. Oh, and a long time ago, mid 90s, I bought a box of 10 WD drives, I think either 2.1 or 3.2 gig drives in an OEM box. Built 10 systems with them, 4 had the HDs die in a month. That soured me on WD products for years.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)





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