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Connecting an external hard drive to your PC 24/7??

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March 6, 2013 3:52:16 AM

Hi all,
I just want to know if it is ok to have your external hard drive (thinking about the WD My passport essential 2TB) to your PC all the time (or most of the time)?

Here is more detail on what Im trying to do:
My family is quite big with 16 people living under one roof (12 brothers/sisters and my grandparents) and Im the only guy who know more ITS than the rest of my family. I was put in charge to store all the digital files of my family on my desktop (lots of them are media files from my brother and sisters who studies journalism and Multimedia tech) and these files are constantly retrieved and restored from the drive through a home network (my PC is on 24/7). . My brother has his own hard drive to save data, but he has been putting lots of his files on my hard drive because his ran out eventually. Before I stored files on a WD Blue but it died and ran out of room. Now I'm storing a lot of media files on Seagate Barracuda 3tb (idk what version, but purchased it back in november 2012) but the drive seem to have problems. It started to click and have weird reading noises (and even disconnect itself from the PC) since January. Sometimes when i attempt to restart the computer, the computer would fix error in the drive and sometimes wont even load up. So I think the hard drive needs to be replaced asap and i need to find a solution to this problem. Im thinking between the WD black (5 years warranty) and the WD my passport essential 2TB (2 years). Which one would be a better option?
I kinda need the size (WD my Passport) and stability (my brothers occupied 850 GB on the seagate now and I have 250 gb of movies and musics, dont want to lose them all)
So if I go with the WD my passport and plug it in 24/7, would it die faster? or should I go with the WD Caviar Black?

I know im giving way too much details, but Im open to suggestions.

Thank you
a c 79 G Storage
March 6, 2013 6:02:34 AM

The WD Passport drive does not spin all the time. It goes into "standby" after a short while of it not being used, so don't worry about leaving it connected.

You actually need at least two external hard drives at all times, with the same same data on each of them. This a good insurance when one them fails - - no data is lost.
I have four external 1TB drives for this purpose because I know that external hard drives are less reliable than internal ones, so it's best to be fully prepared.
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March 6, 2013 4:33:29 PM

phil22 said:
The WD Passport drive does not spin all the time. It goes into "standby" after a short while of it not being used, so don't worry about leaving it connected.

You actually need at least two external hard drives at all times, with the same same data on each of them. This a good insurance when one them fails - - no data is lost.
I have four external 1TB drives for this purpose because I know that external hard drives are less reliable than internal ones, so it's best to be fully prepared.


So if i leave the drive connected to my computer, it will be turned on when someone retrieve files or turn off when there is nothing going on?

Also, are you suggesting to raid the hard drives?
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a b G Storage
March 6, 2013 4:52:18 PM

Internal hard drives are the best way to go - less parts, less points of failure.

I would suggest using WD Black drives - I swear by them - great for performance and reliability.

As for RAID, the cost may prohibit the use of them. The simplest forms of RAID are:
RAID 0 - used to stripe drives to a single volume. Three 2TB hard drives become one 6TB hard drive.
RAID 1 - used to mirror drives for redundancy. Two 2TB hard drives become one 2TB volume for use. If either drive fails, the second is ready to go. Two identical drives must be used.
RAID 10 - combines RAID 0 and RAID 1.

With the use of Windows Vista/7/8, the library function can be mapped to a series of drives on any computer. For example, if you put a 2TB drive on your computer, and map a share \\PC\USER1 - you can define the library to save files to this location. Multiple users can share a single location, or you can have multiple shares to keep privacy. Because it is "seamless" to the end user, they can theoretically move from computer to computer and still have access to only their data.

With any setup, I would suggest creating some kind of backup drive (an external is fine) to backup all the files. Programs like SyncBack (http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/) is free - and you can setup a backup schedule to have all the data backed up in case of failure.

Even with RAID 1 or RAID 10, mirrored drives can fail, so a backup is always suggested.
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a b G Storage
March 6, 2013 4:54:13 PM

The other option might be getting a NAS - basically a psudo-computer used only for data storage.
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a b G Storage
March 6, 2013 4:54:50 PM

Don't raid, just perform backups from one drive to another, preferably disconnecting the spare when not backing up (to protect from power surges), and backing up often. If you want a little more security, make sure the backup adds new or changed files but doesn't delete files from the spare - that way if you accidentally delete something and don't realize it, it may still be good on the spare. Over time tho will have to do some housekeeping on the spare since it will never get smaller.
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a b G Storage
March 6, 2013 5:23:53 PM

phil22 said:
The WD Passport drive does not spin all the time. It goes into "standby" after a short while of it not being used, so don't worry about leaving it connected.

You actually need at least two external hard drives at all times, with the same same data on each of them. This a good insurance when one them fails - - no data is lost.
I have four external 1TB drives for this purpose because I know that external hard drives are less reliable than internal ones, so it's best to be fully prepared.



Where did you get the idea that a HDD is less reliable just because it's external? And nobody "NEEDS" at least two external hard drives. There may or may not be advantages for each of us but to tell someone he needs it is completely wrong. There's no harm done by leaving the externals running 24/7/365. If you don't backup regularly you will pay eventually and IMHO HDDS should be retired after 3 years.
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a b G Storage
March 6, 2013 6:50:16 PM

Maybe that would have been better stated as "everyone needs two copies of their *important to them* data." It can be two different HDDs, a tape backup, cloud storage, etc. The bottom line is that it's not a matter of if you will have data loss, it's when. I'm long overdue...
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a b G Storage
March 6, 2013 7:47:44 PM

I have personally lost 3 hard drives in the last year....with my backup strategy, I pop a new drive in the system, load Windows & programs, perform updates, restore from backup - and I am back up and running - with virtually zero data loss within 8-10 hours (Windows and Windows Updates take 5-6 hours of that time, then Office, CS6, browsers, etc...take the other 1-2 hours and data restore about 1-2 hours).

I could cut the downtime to 3-4 hours if I would create a disk image of the drive for the OS/Programs. Data restore is about 2-3 hours total time.

RAID will reduce it to 30-45 minutes, with RAID 1 or RAID 10.

I can't say it enough....backup, backup, backup....
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March 6, 2013 10:43:42 PM

I do understand the point of backing up, but as of now im saving some money for a massive revamp on my desktop also, so I kinda need to save money on other parts (not just the drive itself).
Do you have any suggestion? like what drive or budget drive would be best? I tried the WD Green and we returned it a week later because of the clicking sounds. The Seagate lasts past 30 days return policy so Im stuck with it now. Will soon contact seagate for another HD (seatools and other HDD programs said that it passed all tests, I just dont see how when it clicked like crazy sometimes or d/c itself.)
Here are some of the items im thinking of:
1. WD My passport 2TB
2. WD Caviar Black 1TB
3. 2 WD - Scorpio Black (750 GB x 2)
4. Transcend Super anti shock (1TB)

Other suggestion would be appreciated
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a b G Storage
March 7, 2013 2:03:39 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the drive of choice for me. At $100 for 1TB, it is a good price point for a drive that is high performance and high reliability. Without going to drives that are 2-3 times the price, they are hard to beat. A 5 year warranty comes with them - and after 5 years, I use them for backups.

You can save $20-30 on a drive, but you won't have that reliability and performance - especially when you are sharing the drive across a network with multiple users.
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a b G Storage
March 7, 2013 2:03:45 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the drive of choice for me. At $100 for 1TB, it is a good price point for a drive that is high performance and high reliability. Without going to drives that are 2-3 times the price, they are hard to beat. A 5 year warranty comes with them - and after 5 years, I use them for backups.

You can save $20-30 on a drive, but you won't have that reliability and performance - especially when you are sharing the drive across a network with multiple users.
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a b G Storage
March 7, 2013 2:06:58 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the drive of choice for me. At $100 for 1TB, it is a good price point for a drive that is high performance and high reliability. Without going to drives that are 2-3 times the price, they are hard to beat. A 5 year warranty comes with them - and after 5 years, I use them for backups.

You can save $20-30 on a drive, but you won't have that reliability and performance - especially when you are sharing the drive across a network with multiple users.
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!