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External Hard Drives for Dummies?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 zombiewhacker

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 05:44 PM

I'm looking for a 1 TB external drive to back up my Dell Windows 8.1 PC.  Something not only reliable but also dummy-proof, meaning that even a doofus like me can set it up and use it.  

 

I'd like to back up my OS as well, as my Dell computer didn't come with a rescue disk.

 

I've seen a few names on the Amazon and New Egg sites, like the Seagate Expansion 1TB Hard Drive USB 3.0, the WD 1TB Blue My Passport Ultra Portable, etc.  Any recommendations?

 

Thanks in advance.



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#2 hamluis

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 06:01 PM

My suggestion would be to NOT purchase anything sold as an external drive...but simply buy a hard and place it a caddy that will provide you with operability when you need/desire such.

 

The reason I say this is that the manufacturer introduces more points of potential failure...the enclosure, the software used, the internal hardware governing the enclosure...that yield no benefits that a simple D-I-Y connection would not have, IMO.

 

Food For Thought

 

Louis



#3 Gorbulan

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 06:46 PM

I agree with Luis. While I don't like telling people: do-it-yourself! I find that external drives are incredibly cheap. Either the drive or the case dies prematurely. I prefer to buy a drive I know is good quality and is not a refurb. When you establish the right drive, you are free to buy and an appropriate case. Untrustworthy cases/caddies are common, the actual drive not so much.



#4 shadow_647

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 06:54 PM

agreed, don't buy all in ones, get your external box and hdd separately, i don't like the idea of some of the external hdd that are sold were you can't remove the hdd in side if theirs a problem.



#5 ranchhand_

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 11:57 PM

Good advice above.

Here's one I have used for years, plus I use it when I set up clients' backup systems. Comes with USB cable. Use any HDD or SSD you want.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0VN-0003-000H5&cm_re=Orico_docking_station-_-0VN-0003-000H5-_-Product


Edited by ranchhand_, 29 December 2016 - 12:00 AM.

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#6 Gorbulan

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 11:25 AM

I like that case ranchhand. But, it is more of a troubleshooting device, than a dedicated hard drive case.



#7 ranchhand_

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 09:33 PM

I am not sure what you mean by "a troubleshooting device", but that Orico can accept any hard drive you put in it. I use it to do backups of all 3 systems running on my computer, plus drag & drop special critical data that I want stored off-computer and not accessible. When you turn the case off, it is not accessible (so no viruses or hackers can access it). In fact, I have 3 hard drives, one for video backups, one for music and one for sensitive data. I just pop them in and out of the case without the necessity of rebooting the computer.


Edited by ranchhand_, 29 December 2016 - 09:34 PM.

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#8 shadow_647

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 10:35 PM

Think he means this, and i was thinking the same thing my self not a docking bay for hdds but one that's dedicated, this one as well has a mini fan to keep things cool, dont like the ones with out fans.

The hdds tend to bake in side when theirs no fan.

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827993013



#9 ranchhand_

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 11:12 PM

That's correct, I had a couple and had the same problem. However, if you look at the design of the Orico, note that this is not an external enclosure, it is a docking bay. Thus the HDD is totally exposed to the air. There will be no overheats.


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#10 Gorbulan

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 12:44 PM

"Troubleshooting device" because you can conveniently attach/detach hard drives. It is less permanent than a traditional hard drive case, and takes up more room overall. Not ideal as a dedicated backup device.



#11 ranchhand_

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 01:31 PM

Sorry, man, I disagree on both counts. Put them next to each other and they take up the same space (give or take an inch). However, if you want to carry this device around with you to various locations and use it that would be true, it's not as portable.


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#12 zombiewhacker

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 03:08 PM

Thanks for all your suggestions.

 

Anyway, I checked the reviews for the Orico docking station and the failure rates for that device seem to be pretty high as well.  Seems like a case of danged if I do, danged if I don't.

 

I should have mentioned that although my system drive is 1 TB, I've only got maybe 250 GB to back up total (even less not counting the OS).  Could I get by backing my data on USB flash drives?  They're cheap enough that I could keep multiple backups.  Or is that an even worse idea than investing in an external drive?  :smash:



#13 JohnC_21

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 04:22 PM

I would get a 1 or 2TB bare drive and get an enclosure as others have suggested. Use Macrium Free or Aomei Backupper Standard to create a complete disk image. You can create incremental and differential images from the base image to keep your images small. Both allow you to create bootable media to restore the image should the drive fail or you cannot boot due to file system corruption or malware.

 

Macrium Free

Aomei Backupper Standard

 

Note: Another image software is Easeus Todo Backup Free but I have no experience with it. It accomplishes the same backups as the two I linked to.






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