Storage forum


Need the Simplest External Hard Drive

by dou2027437 / March 16, 2013 2:53 AM PDT


I need to back up my MacBook Pro (circa 2012), my PC Desktop (circa 2011) and an older PC Desktop (circa 2005) and I would like something very simple that I can plug into each computer and back up. I have a SeaGate portable hard drive that I bought a year ago, but I had to partition it to work on both the mac and the PCs. I only need 500gb and I want something that is easy and can just be plugged in, doesn't require downloading software onto the computers (if possible), and we're good to go. I was recommended LaCie and Maxstor, but don't want to rely on one recommendation.

My main priorities are:

What are your recommendations? Thank you very, very much.



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All Answers

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Backup never required "backup software."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

To this day I've always wondered why folk use backup software and then later ask how to get their files back when there is trouble with said software.

Since you have the drive, what can't you?

a. Copy what you want to a folder of your choosing?
b. Upgrade the solution in option a with Sync software that leaves the files as-is, ready to copy back when needed?

About security. The first tenant of computer security is (ready for this?) Physical Security. It is not "encrypt your data."

About the issue where folk format their computer and then discover the backup drive is dead. They forgot another tenant of old IT training or lore is that backup is not achieved with one spare copy. You get into a state of backup when there is more than one copy and if at any time there are less than two copies, you are no longer backed up.

That's why you would need at lease 2 of these drives.

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I wasn't clear
by dou2027437 / March 16, 2013 3:27 AM PDT

Hi there, Bob,

I'm a neurovascular surgeon. It's very easy for me to put a patient into hypothermic cardiac arrest, fix a complex aneurysm, and bring them back to lifewith the proper concoction of medications and defibrillation. My point? I am not at all tech savvy. So, I am sure I could watch youtube videos or ask someone for help regarding copying and upgrading, but I want something that is extremely simple. I spent 2 hours trying to get my Seagate portioned and what not. I don't understand this stuff. So, you asking me what I "can't do" is sort of like me looking at you while you're standing in surgical attire staring at an unconscious patient with a pulsatile aneurysm saying, "Bob, what don't you get?" It's not your area of expertise (most likely), just like this stuff gives me headaches.

We all have our areas of expertise, and this is not mine. I don't want to copy files, upgrade solutions, or anything like that. I want simple because I have already invested way too much time into this and I'm frustrated.

I do get your point about having two backups. That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for mentioning that. Probably a stupid question, but should they be two of the same exact drive?

Thank you for responding, Bob, and I apologize for not explaining that I am inept when it comes to this and I don't want to learn right now.


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I hear you.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2013 3:54 AM PDT
In reply to: I wasn't clear

And the problem is a bit more complicated by having different computers. But let me share that I solve that (again) last week at home and will share what I did. I'll also share my mistake along the way so you know that I'm not without fault.

I was getting tired of pulling out the drive to connect and backup. So I ordered a network storage drive and when it arrived I went to work. It was not as quiet as I hope since they used a cheap fan so I re-examined what I had and that's when I discovered I didn't need this new box at all. WHY? Because my router had an USB port and a way to share the drive you attach there.

This is when I went "Doh!" and began the setup for that. Here's something similar to what I used.

OK so now to my router and setup it's drive sharing and that step was done.

Back to my PC and I setup SyncBack to sync what folders I wanted to that drive and let it run.

As I don't have an apple I didn't have to find sync software but looks OK to me.

For the final backup I can sync this in reverse when I feel like it.

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(NT) PS. The solution I used is OS agnostic.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2013 4:03 AM PDT
In reply to: I hear you.
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Hear hear!!
by helsharmar / March 27, 2013 1:11 AM PDT
In reply to: I wasn't clear

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have wanted to say this a million times, plugging in my area of expertise for neurovascular surgeon. I don't know why it's so hard to understand that I don't want to know how to build a TV just so I can watch one. Sure, computers are more complex, but the principle's the same.

I have been reading for decades that I should back up, and I'm still not sure what that means. I understand enough to know that I can't back up on the device that may fail. So where, and how? Is everyone supposed to have an external hard drive? I actually got one, selected by asking someone who works in my husband's IT department. I read the 120 pages of documentation, and I still am not sure how to use it. I'm going to figure it out right after I figure out how to use my cappuccino machine.

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Here's a link to a number of ways.
by wpgwpg / March 16, 2013 3:05 AM PDT
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For Mac Only?
by dou2027437 / March 16, 2013 3:46 AM PDT

Hi there,

Thank you...however, this appears to be for Mac only. Is this the case? Is there anything that is for both Mac and PC? Or is it easier to just have one for each (I know I can partition and kill two bird with one stone...but I don't want toThanks again!


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I admit to not reading all 7583 devices there :-)
by wpgwpg / March 16, 2013 4:03 AM PDT
In reply to: For Mac Only?

Since that link contains 7583 devices, you might want to look beyond the first page. Since you can buy these things pretty inexpensively these days, maybe the best solution IS separate ones. There're lots of possibilities though, some folks back up to the cloud, and there're programs that will back up to networked drives. My problem with the latter two is speed; but if you don't have that much data, it might be practical. I'm not a fan of the cloud myself, but it's something to consider.
You can automate your backups so you could set them up to run in wee hours of the night where speed wouldn't be so important. I once backed up 29 GB over WiFi (wireless-G) just to see how long it would take - it took 2.5 hours. If I'd set that up to run at 3 AM, it'd be finished well before I got out of bed. You probably don't have more new data on a daily basis, and many backup programs do incremental backups (they just backup the updated data in addition to the initial backup).

Good luck.

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Thank you!
by dou2027437 / March 16, 2013 7:02 AM PDT

Ok, now this is making more sense. I appreciate it.

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