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External hard drive

by keyhoti2 / December 9, 2004 5:11 AM PST

If I was to buy an external hard drive, then I suppose I would get adequate installation instructions, but meanwhile ...

Though our computer is currently running very "deep and crisp and even", we had a couple of disasters in the past, i.e. losing everything.

I have noted that recovery programs, such as the one offered by McAfee, require some place else to operate in - currently we run XP SP2 on HDD (C)

Thus my inclination is to go ahead and get an external hard drive, but I would like to have the opinions of more experienced ppl than I am.

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Re: External hard drive
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / December 9, 2004 7:12 AM PST
In reply to: External hard drive


A simple fact...Hard drives die eventually. External or internal, it doesn't matter. Although external hard drives have a genuine purpose because they might work as a backup location for files or as a secondary storage device, I don't depend on them for "permanent" backup purposes. Everyone will have a different way of making backups, depending on their computer use and configurations, but for me, smaller, permanent backups, such as CD's or DVD's work better.

Most newer computers come with Recovery CD's which will restore the computer back to factory condition. If there isn't Recovery CD, then normally a Windows CD, Driver CD's, and all program CD's are provided. That only leaves keep backups of personal documents, pictures, music, etc. I back all of that up to a removable "permanent" media such as a CD or DVD. Nothing major to purchase and I don't need to play with a secondary hard drive...

That said, if you like to transport your data to different locations then an "external" hard drive is the way to go. But remember, EVEN IF you have the external hard drive installed, it's still a good idea to make hard copies to a CD.

Hope this helps.


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Re: External hard drive
by keyhoti2 / December 9, 2004 7:40 AM PST

Thanks Grif.

The reason that I have begun to think about an external hard drive is that I just have not had any success in saving data to a CD, for instance, and though I have little doubt that that is due to my lack of knowledge, I thought that getting another HD would be an easy way round this.

I have seen on-line back-up services offered, but I don't feel comfortable about some third party having my stuff in their data base. Also, of course, it costs.

So does another HD, but at least it remains within my own environment and, in effect (I assume), virtually constitutes having another computer as back-up.

But one computer (as such) is all I/we need, so a relatively inexpensive way to get the benefits of having another computer seems to be getting another HD.

Do these thoughts make any sense?

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Re: External hard drive
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / December 9, 2004 8:33 AM PST


Yep, it makes sense...just as long as you are aware that your valuable backups on the external drive could be lost too...It's always your decision on how to do things and I know lots of folks that use external drives, but imagine what you will do after saving all sorts of special pictures and documents to the external drive because you want to save space on your main drive.....then the external drive crashes...Do you have extremely important data on the computer? I do...

The external drive isn't a bad idea. I still recommend that you become proficient in making permanent copies on a CD. In my case, I've actually got a couple of backup CD's in a safety deposit box (they've got extremely valuable data)...If the house burns down, I'll still have the data somewhere else.

It's always your choice....

Hope this helps.


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Re: External hard drive
by keyhoti2 / December 10, 2004 9:25 AM PST

Hi Grif,

Thanks and it is interesting that you mentioned keeping back-ups in a safe deposit box, because that is sorta what I had in mind for another hard drive.

You might recall that I haven't had a computer very long ... about 20 months.

After less then a year the hard drive decided to give up the ghost ... fortunately under warranty ... so I rather quickly joined the club of those who have lost "the works", so of course I have been contemplating how best to achieve a reincarnation, when the new HD decides to emulate the old one.

What I don't need is extra storage space and I'll try to briefly explain why, because others might find this useful.

I used to be a total novice of course, so it took me a while to understand what "clean disc" and "defrag" did ... but I was a regular user before my HD died and was interested that, after only a few months, free space was down to about 40%, despite having no major stuff which I could think of. It was a bit of a mystery why free space was being "eaten".

Not long after acquiring the new HD I came across "System and Internet Washer" and was impressed.

Well I cannot guarantee that eWasher is solely responsible, but it's a fact that, despite being a far busier user than I was with the old HD and despite having had the new one for longer, these days I have (and keep) about 80% free space.

My inexpert opinion is that it is NOT what you download, nor the files you want to keep which gobbles up free space; but rather the hidden stuff, or else what you just don't bother to clean manually, like temp files and cookies.

Well I run "System and Internet Washer" about once a week (along with Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware SE) and I keep about 80% free space and my system runs like clockwork - click and it is there, unless MSN (for instance) is having an internal problem.

Meanwhile (back at the ranch) if I do get an external HD, then I will use it much in the way you have back-up CDs in a safety deposit box ... maybe, once I have transferred all data to a virtual "second computer", I will put the hard drive in the garden shed, just in case the house burns down.

Back to "free space":

Though I am still floundering around, I note that my "special package deal" computer (about $US 1500, $AUS 1900) has an amazing 40GB hard drive, so that even if I downloaded everything which had ever taken my fancy, it would hardly make a dent.

My impression is that it is what you don't know about which "eats" your hard disc.

I have a friend who has a computer which is SO clogged that it just won't run, so I have shown her (given her) a trial version of eWasher

Of course it won't fully run for free, but she is so impressed that she wants to get a credit card (something she has been quite paranoid about never getting) just for the purpose of buying eWasher.

Well you know far more than I do Grif and I think you have said that you don't like third-party stuff - that you prefer to manage your own system - but I have had real success with eWasher and so will urge even you to give it a shot.

Well though, apparently because of eWasher, I keep heaps of free space and my interface is crisp (given a good firewall, good anti-virus, Spybot and Ad-Aware SE) maybe my rapidly aging "new" hard drive will decide to start pushing up the daisies.

In a roundabout way you have convinced me to get an external hard drive.

I hope that the issues I have raised help others to decide what to do about whatever.

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(NT) (NT) Keyhoti, Good On Ya & Keep Up The Safe Computing
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / December 10, 2004 9:58 AM PST
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