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External Drives -- is it safe?

  • External Drive
  • Storage
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Last response: in Storage
June 25, 2012 7:15:21 PM

I'm thinking of adding a 2TB external drive to my system, connected using either USB 3.0 or eSata.

I see that the price of drives has dropped some from last year, but quality control seems to be terrible, at least judging by the reviews on Newegg.

Added to this is that apparently the newer Advanced Format drives don't work with Windows 7 system images, even with the Microsoft hotfix ( applied. And if this isn't mentioned in one of the comments (see, e.g., 6/15/2012 2:03:10 PM comment at it's very difficult to find out. I was thinking of getting a LaCie so I called LaCie to ask if it used a AF drive. They didn't know: buy and try is the only answer.

I've always had good luck with WD drives, but again, there's a lot of negative feedback on Newegg. Is it only Newegg? What about TigerDirect?

So ... what has been the experience here? Should I get a packaged deal like the WD MyBooks or an external enclosure and a bare drive? And if the latter, what drive is least likely to die within a year? This enclosure looks pretty good:

More about : external drives safe

a b G Storage
June 25, 2012 8:38:21 PM

external hard disks are just as safe as internal hard disks. they both have mechanical moving parts that wear and will eventually malfunction.
June 25, 2012 9:09:54 PM

That doesn't really address the question.

I'm sorry, I shouldn't have been so facetious in my choice of a subject line.

Of course any hard drive is subject to eventual malfunction. It just seems as if drives purchased in the last year or so have been failing far more frequently -- and sooner -- than they used to. I'm just retiring a computer that I bought in 2003 and its hard drive (and a 2nd internal WD 200GB drive bought in 2005) are still running fine after 9 years of essentially 24/7 operation. It's hard to reconcile that experience with reviews on Newegg that complain about drives that are often DOA or fail within the first year and often much sooner than that.

What I'm looking for is people's recent experience with hard drives:

- which brands seem more reliable?
- which packaged devices (like the WD Mybook series) use Advanced Format drives and which don't?
- Is Newegg simply failing to pack drives properly for shipment? If so, do other online vendors do a better job?
- Did quality control take a dive at the same time that prices rose because of the floods in Thailand last year? The advice from various industry sources is to wait to buy if you can -- but that's mostly based on price. Has anyone speculated similarly with respect to quality control?
a b G Storage
June 25, 2012 9:18:19 PM

I've literally installed hundreds of hard disks of different brands. WD, Seagate, Hitachi, Maxtor, etc. It has been my personal experience that I've had the best luck with Western Digital. But I have to admit I haven't bought many drives since the thailand flood. drives are just too expensive now :(