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External Hard Drive for Backups


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#1 Richardf77

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 05:56 AM

I need help choosing a suitable external harddrive for backing up my PC, I have a Windows 7 Home premium 64bit system. The PC is around 4 years old.

 

I have searched various retail sites and am uncertain as to what to choose, both make and specs. I am looking at drives with around 500gb space (same as my PC) and between £40 and £50 sterling (Iam in the UK). Can anyone make any suggestions as to what to go for, or is it more a personal choice? Any other options for backing up my system other than cloud drives which i havent had much sucess with?

 

Thanks

 

 



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#2 OldPhil

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 06:56 AM

I am a believer in having my backups in my possession I have little faith in off site.  One thing I always recommend is a fanned enclosure, I have seen and heard of several heat failures in units without.


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#3 Vesku225

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 06:57 AM

WD mypassport 500Gb costs Around 35-40. I havent personally used it but have mypassport ultra 1TB which costs £60 and can be bought Fromond Currys , PC world for example. I Also have full system back up on cloud.

#4 Scoop8

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 07:24 AM

Richardf77

 

Here's a link at Amazon U.K. for what looks like a nice £34.99 WD "Passport" 500Gb external HDD:

 

WD USB 3.0 Passport 500Gb HDD

 

There's a lot of choices with backup HDD's.  OldPhil mentioned a good point about cooling considerations.  Some Enclosure HDD's can get a little heated if they're running extended duration backup jobs.

 

I agree with OldPhil about local backup control.   I don't have experience with any online backups but it's popular nowadays.  If I was going that route, I'd have redundant local backups in addition to cloud access.

 

I'm also running Win7x64 on 2 home PC's.  You referred to backing up your system.  Are you referring to a complete HDD OS backup or your personal files/folders?

 

I mentioned that because I like to use both approaches with full-HDD backups (Cloning and Imaging) in addition to backing up my important items.



#5 OldPhil

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 07:29 AM

I am waiting for the cloud to get hit, it is only a matter of time.


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#6 Richardf77

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 04:47 AM

Nice optimistic bunch we have here then! LOL Thanks for replies.

 

Looking at the reviews on Amazon most makes seems to have issurs of some kind. Seagate has driver issues, some users find the USB connectors on Toshiba drives dont last long and others are critical of the longevity of WD. I suppose its all chance/bad luck if you have a problem with a particular make. One person might have a nightmare, another find them perfect. pays your money, takes your choice i suppose. Doesnt help deciding though!

 

What about Samsung drives. Are they any good? Found one on Amazon that comes out well.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-500GB-Slimline-Portable-Drive/dp/B008PSEWRG/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1427880528&sr=1-1&keywords=external+hard+drive


Edited by Richardf77, 01 April 2015 - 04:48 AM.


#7 Scoop8

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 05:06 AM

The Samsung drive would be as good as others. 

 

Predicting lifetimes and rating HDD's is one of those topics where the results are almost as large and diverse as the Universe :).

 

I've owned some HDD's that were still running after 15 years and have had one that failed after about 18 months of use.

 

Redundancy is recommended with any backup plan.  That way, when the unpredictable event occurs (HDD failure, malware, user error) , you'll have multiple paths available for recovery.

 

Backups & spare HDD's, my pov :), are best approached with a "plan for the worse, hope for the best" scenario.



#8 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 03:20 PM

WD mypassport 500Gb costs Around 35-40. I havent personally used it but have mypassport ultra 1TB which costs £60 and can be bought Fromond Currys , PC world for example. I Also have full system back up on cloud.

 

 

I agree. Mypassport is a good external drive.


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#9 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 06:36 PM

If you have a very good up-load connection cloud can be a very satisfactory solution but is moderately expensive in the 100 GB to 1 TB range. With a poor or average up-load speed it can take forever to upload your data.

 

The counsel of perfection for backups is that there should be three copies of your data - one on the system your are working with; one local but on a different drive for convenience; and a third off-site to protect against risks like fire and flood !

 

Personally, I use a 2TB external drive for back-ups because I keep two copies of my work against the possibility of  a back-up being corrupted - 'Workfile' and 'Workfile old'. When i go to do a backup, I delete the 'Old' version and rename the newer back-up to 'Old' and then do the back-up. Paranoid, but . . .

 

Nobody will give 100% guarrantees in the back-up business. Any hard drive can fail at any time. Yes, the older the drive the more likely it is to fail but that is not certain. By using more than one drive you reduce the risks of data loss to very low levels.

 

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#10 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 05:20 AM

If you have a very good up-load connection cloud can be a very satisfactory solution but is moderately expensive in the 100 GB to 1 TB range. With a poor or average up-load speed it can take forever to upload your data.

 

The counsel of perfection for backups is that there should be three copies of your data - one on the system your are working with; one local but on a different drive for convenience; and a third off-site to protect against risks like fire and flood !

 

Personally, I use a 2TB external drive for back-ups because I keep two copies of my work against the possibility of  a back-up being corrupted - 'Workfile' and 'Workfile old'. When i go to do a backup, I delete the 'Old' version and rename the newer back-up to 'Old' and then do the back-up. Paranoid, but . . .

 

Nobody will give 100% guarrantees in the back-up business. Any hard drive can fail at any time. Yes, the older the drive the more likely it is to fail but that is not certain. By using more than one drive you reduce the risks of data loss to very low levels.

 

Chris Cosgrove

 

 

This is very good advice; redundancy is key to data storage.


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#11 Richardf77

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 04:43 AM

Thanks for replies. Am looking at a WD drive and have been looking at reviews to find our which one is best, although 'my passport' as recomended above does come out well in Amazon reviews.

 

I totally agree about redundancy re data storage. Whilst i am  a bit lax with backing up other sorts of files, i take a lot of photos and do have multiple copies of them: one on the PC, one on an external HDD, another on a special photo backup drive (which is almost full) and copies on CD-R/DVD-R which are stored seperately from everything else, plus some recent ones 'in the cloud'. Just need do do the same with the rest of my files (documents, videos, music, finance etc). Hence the need for a new external HDD.

 

I have tried cloud backups  and have some files on Google and OneDrive but my connection isnt that fast and it takes a long time to upload even modest amounts of data, never mind the entire contents of my PC! so again i am back to the 'local' solution.



#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 06 April 2015 - 07:27 AM

I used to recommend usb portable drives but no longer because most now have their usb connector soldered to the hard drive PCB. In other words there is no separate bridge card. If the connector gets damaged you are basically out of luck unless you have good solder skills. It is best to purchase a SATA drive and your own enclosure. If the bridge card on the enclosure goes bad you get a new enclosure. I think seagate is the only company now that uses a separate bridge card on their portable drives but I cannot confirm that.

 

http://tidelog.kitamuracomputers.net/2013/05/31/recovering-data-from-wd-elements-drive-when-the-usb-connector-is-broken/

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/292616-32-broken-port-toshiba-external-hard-drive

 

Toshiba has even moved over to the proprietary PCB with the soldered USB connector. Read the the reviews.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Canvio-Black-Accents-External/dp/B004FYC794

 

http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Canvio-Portable-E05A075CAU3XS-Silver/product-reviews/B0049U3S74?pageNumber=3

 

Get a standard SATA drive and an enclosure.



#13 Richardf77

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 03:36 AM

Havent done much about this recently but having to revisit it now. 

 

Still uncertain but reading the topic again, i am attracted to the idea of making up a portable HDD of my own rather than buying a ready made one. A few years ago after a laptop HDD failed i was advised to buy an enclosure to turn it into an external drive to recover the data. I found this a simple process. Also the new drive i bought for the laptop is 2 years old and for the present still working fine. It was a Seagate Barracouda new versions of whic are readily available on Amazon. I am considering getting another one plus an enclosure to make up my new drive.

 

The only other option is WD 'My Passport' drives. These still look agood bet and i could get one easily at a local store rather than online.



#14 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 07:10 PM

There is another possible solution to the risk of hard bonded connector PCBs. I recently had occasion to try and salvage data off, from memory, a laptop hard drive for which I didn't have any appropriate sized connectors on my desktop.

 

I went to my local branch of Maplins looking for a caddy and a staff member suggested I buy this device a Win-Star Communicator C1. It takes both standard 2.5" and 3.5" SATA drives and runs off its own plug adapter PSU and connects by mini-USB to the computer and cost less than £UK 30. This model is USB 2 but they probably make a USB 3 model, at the time I only had USB 2 on this computer. Basically you just pop a bare, naked hard drive in the top and you can read/write to it. Have a look at their web-site -

 

win-star.com

 

Chris Cosgrove


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