Recommendations for a portable external hard drive
Thread poster: JaneD

JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:50
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Mar 10, 2012

Hi all,

I'm looking for recommendations for a portable external hard drive (USB 3.0). It need not be very large in terms of capacity, as I will only be using it to backup work and emails, so that's not really the deciding factor.

What IS important is that it must

a) be reliable (I have read many reviews where drives seem to pack up practically before the packaging is off)
b) not install loads of rubbish on the PC hard drive and use up tons of processing time even when not being used

My intention would be to wheel the thing out every couple of days as a supplementary backup to my USB pen drive which I use for daily backups.

Or - given that I don't actually need that much storage capacity - is it perhaps better in terms of lack of clutter on the PC to just go for a large USB drive (48 Gb, for example)?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Jane


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Terry Costin
Netherlands
Local time: 12:50
Dutch to English
+ ...
portable external h-disk Mar 10, 2012

Hi Jane,

I have a Samsung 1000, it's approx. 10 cm long and 6 wide, it retreived all of my data from a crashed laptop I had, you yourself can decide what to keep on your external harddisk.

This one was about 80 euros, it has no buttons on it whatsoever, just the plug that connects to USB.

Kind regards,

Terry

[Edited at 2012-03-10 18:19 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 12:50
English to Hungarian
+ ...
- Mar 10, 2012

JaneD wrote:

a) be reliable (I have read many reviews where drives seem to pack up practically before the packaging is off)
b) not install loads of rubbish on the PC hard drive and use up tons of processing time even when not being used


HDDs hate being tossed around, so portable HDDs, which get tossed around quite a lot, tend to die. If you take care of yours you should be fine. As always, any data you aren't completely happy to lose... have other copies of it someplace else. If you really want it to be rugged, get a portable SSD.

Portable drives don't install crapware on your computer. Many of them come with the manufacturer's autobackup software, but it's all optional. I have a WD and I use the backup sw that came with it.


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:50
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Better use some cloud service. Mar 10, 2012

If you already have a primary backup solution, then just make a secondary backup of your vital data only to some cloud storage like Dropbox.

[Редактировалось 2012-03-10 19:19 GMT]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Solid state drive, probably preferable to cloud Mar 10, 2012

Sergei Leshchinsky wrote:

If you already have a primary backup solution, then just make a secondary backup of your vital data only to some cloud storage like Dropbox.

[Редактировалось 2012-03-10 19:19 GMT]


From a data security and confidentiality standpoint, I suspect we're eventually going to learn that cloud services are riskier than we think. I prefer removable media.

Jane - Some portable HDs now use solid-state technology (similar to the technology in a thumb drive) and these hold up to being transported better than traditional magnetic drives. However, as you noted, depending on how little data you want to back up, it's probably sufficient to buy a few larger-capacity thumb drives and alternate which one you use for your backups (in case a drive goes bad). You can even store one off site every so often, in case of fire or similar disasters.

All my current work, TMs and termbases fit on a 16GB thumb drive with plenty of room to spare.

You can - and probably should - use encryption software (TrueCrypt or similar) to scramble and password the data on the removable drive, in case someone gets their hands on it who shouldn't.

[Edited at 2012-03-10 22:05 GMT]


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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:50
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reason for my query Mar 11, 2012

The reason I was worried about the files installed on the PC is illustrated by the following review:

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/pc-peripheral/3310638/western-digital-my-passport-studio-1tb-review/

in which they state about the Western Digital My Passport that until recently it came bundled with an app that "installed files deep into your computer, and consumed memory and processor resources even without a drive connected"

Hence my concern about buying something that comes with such software. I don't know whether you *have* to use the app mentioned, which is why I'm asking for recommendations.

I also agree with you, Steven, that cloud services are not something I want to be using for my data, as I just don't believe anyone's small print regarding security any more!

Equally encryption software is something I would probably want, and I know that some external hard drives come with this included. But again it's a question of whether the program does what I want it to, and not what the company selling it wants it to, which are two completely different things.

I think I'm leaning more to just buying another straightforward USB key.

Thanks for all the advice so far!


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 12:50
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Once again Mar 11, 2012

JaneD wrote:

The reason I was worried about the files installed on the PC is illustrated by the following review:

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/pc-peripheral/3310638/western-digital-my-passport-studio-1tb-review/

in which they state about the Western Digital My Passport that until recently it came bundled with an app that "installed files deep into your computer, and consumed memory and processor resources even without a drive connected"

Let me repeat: the software that comes with portable hdds is optional. If you don't want it, don't install it.
I use the WD backup sw, it's pretty nice. Good functionality, reasonable UI, version control, didn't miss a beat so far. At the moment, I don't have the drive connected and the sw is using 0% processor power and 15MB of memory. I have 4gigs of memory, I can afford to lose 15 megs. Again, if you don't want it, don't install it.

BTW I don't know why it's a problem if an app "installs files deep into your computer" On windows, every program installs itself in Program Files and AppData, and logs itself in the registry, which is indeed deep in the bowels of the OS. That's the way it works, and I don't think it's too different on a mac... it takes a remarkable level of ignorance to complain about that.
And if you want a backup program to start backing up your data automatically as soon as you connect the drive (which I do), then it has to run in the background even when the drive is not connected. That means it has to use system resources to some extent. CPU usage under 1% and memory usage in the 15MB range is acceptable to me. 15MB could be improved, but with today's RAM prices, it's a non-issue.
To be honest, I'm not sure if I have the dreaded flash version or a newer one. The one I used back in ~2008 must have been the flash version, and it worked fine.

BTW HDD makers generally don't write their own backup programs. They strike a deal with software companies that allows them to ship other people's software with their drives. WD buys its backup sw from a company called Memeo. Essentially, you get a free license with your hard drive, for a program that would cost $30 direct from Memeo.

[Edited at 2012-03-11 11:13 GMT]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Plug and play Mar 11, 2012

JaneD wrote:

Hence my concern about buying something that comes with such software. I don't know whether you *have* to use the app mentioned, which is why I'm asking for recommendations.


External hard drives are generally plug and play these days: you plug them into your computer and the mains and they work. No need to install the "helpful" apps they come with.


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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:50
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The magic words Mar 11, 2012

Steven Capsuto wrote:

External hard drives are generally plug and play these days: you plug them into your computer and the mains and they work. No need to install the "helpful" apps they come with.


That's exactly the kind of thing I was fishing for! Thanks Steven.


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