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Regular maintenance and error checking on external backup drives?

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#1 gx240


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Posted 09 January 2018 - 10:57 PM

I'm running a Windows 8.1 system and using a few external USB hard drives for backup purposes. Is just running the occasional chkdsk /f enough to catch most potential problems, or should I be using /r routinely to check for bad sectors?
Is there anything else that should be run regularly to ensure the health of both the file system (NTFS) and the physical components of the drive itself? Are there any particular SMART tools I should be checking (CrystalDiskInfo, etc)? What SMART metrics should I be paying particular attention to? I'm just wondering about looking for early potential warning signs of drive failure.

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#2 Kilroy


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 12:30 PM

Odds are when you connect the drive one day it will suddenly fail without giving any advanced notice.


I would only recommend running chkdsk if you're having issues with the drive.  If issues are identified, back up your data and replace the drive.  The same applies if you connect the drive and receive a SMART error.

#3 britechguy


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Posted 10 January 2018 - 01:05 PM

I never do much checking (or any checking, really) on the health of USB external HDDs.


My experience is that they will either do as Kilroy has noted, or they will give you plenty of advance notice that something is up and then at some point have a sudden death.


Mine are all backup drives for material that exists elsewhere.  So long as the initial copy exists, if the backup drive dies all I need to do is to get a new backup drive and redo the backup as promptly as possible.   The possibility of my primary data source and my backup drive failing simultaneously is so remote that I do not concern myself with it.  If something's ultra, ultra important you should have at least two backups of it, with one stored either on the cloud or at a site remote from the source in case of disaster.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763 

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