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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Need recommendations for external backup hard drive

    Hi,

    I am planning to purchase a 4 TB external hard drive. Western Digital offers one, but their drive evidently does not have a password reset feature. Can someone recommend a good, dependable drive?

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I recently purchased a 1TB Western Digital external hard drive, because I kept hearing horror stories about Seagate. In fact, I have had two Seagate external hard drives quit working.

    The only thing I've heard bad about Western Digital is that on at least one of their models, the drive is encrypted, AND THE ENCRYPTION KEY RESIDES IN THE USB ADAPTER ATTACHED TO THE DRIVE!

    The reason that is bad is because the most fragile piece of the puzzle is the USB adapter attached to the drive. That is the part which most often fails. And if the encryption key is in the USB adapter, and if it fails, bye bye data.

    I know that this can happen, because a co-worker of mine who is good with computers had this happen to him with a WD external hard drive he purchased a few months ago. He has searched far and wide for a solution so that he can recover his data, but thus far, nothing.

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger Banyarola's Avatar
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    I have several external drives and I find what works best is to buy a hard drive and a enclosure for it and use it as an external drive..

    Every external drive I ever bought, about two of them, failed for who knows what reasons, but my drives in enclosures are still working fine.
    "If You Are Reading This In English, Thank A VET"

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  5. #4
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    Cool

    Can get docking stations for hard drives Icybox do them plus Stardock. The big plus for docking stations is no installing of drives to enclosures and can swap hard drives easily. I have 5 of them and never had any problems (Yet).
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

  6. #5
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    Thank you everyone for your responses. They were very helpful.

    I have had no problems with my Western Digital drives, so a 4 TB WD Drive or Banyarola's suggestion are probably the way I will go. Also, I will look into docking stations/icebox/Stardock .

    Again, thank you for your help.

  7. #6
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    I'd break up 4TB of data into two 2TB drives, just because of the very lengthy job it would be to reconstruct a 4TB drive's contents if anything ever went wrong with it. Enclosures and Docking Stations often add up to more expense than buying preconfigured drives. Get USB-3 or e-SATA if your computer can use those interfaces. That's for throughput (sometimes referred to as "speed"). I also use redundant backup -- mirroring one drive to another -- just in case one copy is on the drive which fails eventually.

    No failures in over eight years with two older WD USB-2 HDDs. I buy the simplest WD drives, with no preconfigured backup or syncing. Encryption is at your own option, but I wouldn't encrypt System Backups because these often won't decrypt reliably in an emergency restore operation.
    -- Bob Primak --

  8. #7
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    External enclosure with fan, USB3 and multiple hard drives

    If you buy an enclosure, make sure it has a fan. I own one that has a fan and one that doesn't. The fanless enclosure makes a 7200RPM drive way hot after a little use even though it's aluminium - this would significantly shorten drive life.

    "Toolless" enclosures let you replace the drive without unscrewing/rescrewing anything.

    So ideally you want a toolless enclosure with a fan. And ideally it should be USB3, since this is the new, much-faster-than-USB2 standard, which won't cost you much more than USB2. Even if your current computer doesn't have a USB3 port (they are colored blue), your next computer probably will. USB3 is backwards compatible with USB2.

    You should also buy a second internal drive for the enclosure - later, if you lack the money now. Then you can back your computer to the hard drives, store one off-site with a close friend or family member, and swap them over periodically. (Any decent backup program will let you encrypt your backups.) So in the event of fire/flood/theft/lightning strike, all of which could wipe out a singe external drive, you haven't lost a lifetime of photographs, documents, etc. A great investment!

    Add a third drive later and you're covered for all disasters for minimal data loss, just swap the drive with the least recent backup out periodically with the offsite drive. The industry term for this is 'grandfather/father/son backup.'
    Last edited by bigbadsteve; 2013-03-21 at 03:32.

  9. #8
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    External HDDs

    I use 8 WD MyBook drives (from 0.5TB to 2TB) and have never had a failure. Had a couple of warnings after power outages, but these have always been recoverable. I also have 2 Freecom Toughdrives (350GB and 500GB) for portable use. Again, never had a failure (except where a laptop refuses to power them....)

    As far as I know, these drives are not encrypted.

    Had a couple of Aria 330GB drives with NAS interfaces that worked for a while before the interface quit (in one) and the non-standard wall-wart power supply in the other.

    Most of my boxes (except the 2TB Mybooks) were built for 'conventional' IDE/USB2 drives, so I've not tried to upgrade the HDDs as there are very few IDE drives bigger than 1TB: virtually all large modern drives are SATA.

    Whichever drive you decide to buy, buy 2 and backup one to the other. That way, even if a particular drive goes bye-bye, you've still got your data. I back up my current files every couple of days and the whole shebang weekly.

  10. #9
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    Enclosures with fans are good, as long as you check the fans from time-to-time. One of my pet whinges is that suppliers tend to use cheap sleeve-bearing fans which seize up after a while (often emits groaning noise before complete failure) rather than more expensive ball- or needle-bearing fans (as used in real servers...). Enclosures designed for fans often get much hotter when their fan fails than non-fan enclosures as they have less free air circulation.

  11. #10
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    Hot Swap caddy

    I had several external HDD, mostly in StarTech eSata cases. But last time I needed more storage, I tried out the Antec Hot Swap HDD Caddy with external eSata port. ( http://store.antec.com/Product/acces...5-30750-5.aspx ) This fits into a spare 5.25" external slot. Hard drives can be hot swapped at will. It even provides a front panel eSata port - though for both the caddy and external port the caddy requires 2 free SATA ports on the motherboard. It works perfectly for me: just as fast and convenient as an internal HDD.

    I now keep my HDDs in the original packing which means they're safely portable to store in an offsite location. It also means that I only have an SSD in my desktop which means fast boot and shut down times (11 seconds to start up): a HDD slows down these times even when the boot is on the SSD.

    It's the best 19 I invested!

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  13. #11
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    backups

    my 1st my book failed but had it backed up to another drive by then and got a 1tb as a replacement under warenty

    You need either esata or usb 3 as full image backups can take a long time under usb 2

    if needed u can add usb 3 and esata cards

    my favorite backup software I have used is mcarium reflect acronis in my opinion is rubish!

    mcarium will back up grub 2 linux ext4 & 3 etc.

  14. #12
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    INEO HDD docking station for 2.5 & 3.5 SATA drives

    The INEO hard drive docking station http://www.ineotechusa.com/product-na317u+_t3527.html is cheap but does a good job. It gives high copy speeds with USB 3, but does work with USB 2 as well. There are no fans to worry about. The unit consists of a base, and you take a drive, orient it in a vertical plane and insert the drive into the base. For backup software I use Macrium Reflect.

  15. #13
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    It's always funny, one person will say that WD drives are pure CRAP and the next responder will praise them.
    But only a very few of those responders are professionals who deal with hundreds of different drives in some really weird applications.

    Having said that, I AM a professional computer tech and I DO have several WD drives, laying around my shop, but every one of them came out of a failed WD external enclosure. I would never buy one! I only use them as temp storage or "Scratch" drives.

    It's pretty easy to back up an entire HD to another drive, either internal (fastest) or external (slowest). There is a lot of FREE software out there to do that. I won't go there!

    But the problem I've seen with 'whole drive backups' is that most people won't take the time out of their busy day to perform the backup, at least not on a regular basis. I remember one bank, years ago, that was taking two hours every afternoon to back up one IBM PC/AT in their Trust Dept. They were running the MS-Backup in DOS and backing up to 5.25" floppy disks.
    I introduced them to PCTools backup and it only took them less than 20 minutes to do an Incremental Backup daily.

    So that brings up my next tip. Once you have a backup (somewhere safe) of your entire C drive, then all you need to do daily is make an incremental backup of your data files. That can simply be what's in My Documents, or it can extend to Bookmarks and saved eMail, etc.
    I have about six locations that I backup daily using a batch file and the old DOS XCOPY command.

    After installing a PCI-USB3 add-on card, I got a Toshiba USB3 External 2.5" drive and a 32 gig USB3 Flash drive.
    I plugged both drives into the USB3 card and I run the batch file every day to back up just the new files or changed files, since the previous backup. It only takes a few seconds, to keep my data backups up to date every day.
    Here is the one line from that batch file that backs up "My Documents".

    xcopy "C:\Documents and Settings\Alexi\My Documents\*.*" "M:\My Documents\" /S /Y /H /R /D

    Drive M is my Toshiba 1TB external drive.

    Drive M is so big that it's an ideal place for my Whole Drive backups for drive C.

    Well, that just my own little backup strategy. Each person has to develop their own, or get an IT specialist to do it for them.
    I set up backup strategies for my customers all the time. Each one is a little bit different, out of necessity.

    Happy Computing!
    The Doctor
    Last edited by DrWho; 2013-03-21 at 10:27.
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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  17. #14
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    I have had the same experience ... ditto on your comments

  18. #15
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    I bought a toshiba 2G external drive two weeks ago for backup...so far, so good....fwiw, I had an external dock, but the connections failed....

    and, does anyone have an opinion on whether to compress hard drives,internal or external?

    Sherm

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