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Old 06-05-2011, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 26,362,743 times
Reputation: 6283

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All mechanical hard drives are subject to failure. I had one fail in 18 years; it was nearly 6 years old. I have two external drives that are several years old. I do not use them every day. One is a LaCie Firewire the other is a generic USB drive. I*also back up to*one of my other computers that is not online very often. .

Hard drives are a craps shoot. You can't predict what will happen. the Extenal Drive is your personal off-site Cloud storage. Back the main external periodically. The advantage is the external drive is a lot easier to replace than tearing apart a computer. Cloud Storage offered by big name companies are hacked. When they are, it is quite likely you will lose everything anyway. The only sure method is to keep*a paper copy -IF the information is that critical - and store in a bank vault. .

Note: if you live rural there is no guarantee your ISP won't go off line at the worst*possible moment - because they do. The only constant service I ever had was in a small town served by AT&T. It was off line 20*minutes once in 4 years despite horrendous snow storms and tornadoes. The cable*company was down one week as was the local owned WISP, Living rural as I do, the best I can expect for some type of consistent connection is a Static IP. It is my next step as I have VOIP..

Good*Luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockside View Post
I've had a Maxtor external hard drive for about 3 years backing up all our data. Does anyone have any idea how long these things last? Given the choice, would you buy another external hard drive or switch over to an online backup service like Mozy or Carbonite?
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 25,902,245 times
Reputation: 9219
The most basic rule of backups is to have more than one.

In my experience external hard drives have been less reliable overall than internal drives. But most of the failures have been the electronics and/or power supply rather than the drives themselves.

My theory is that the cases have poor ventilation, the drives are physically moved more often, and the "brick" power supplies are crappy.

I like the hard drive "docks" that have a slot where you drop in a bare drive. The drive sits in free air, runs cool, and is easy to replace if I want or need to.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,707 posts, read 11,301,056 times
Reputation: 7686
How Long Do External Hard Drives Last?

NHDave said several years ago that hard drives last anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 years. I haven't seen anything to make me disbelieve that.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:58 PM
 
3,743 posts, read 11,462,773 times
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Its a given that a hdd can fail at any time, and given the relative inexpensive cost vs your data, my basic rule for the casual computer user is, always buy them in pairs, and back them up off each other. Keep one away from the other and unplugged.
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:10 PM
 
146 posts, read 237,917 times
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Has anyone had any bad experiences with a particular brand? Such as Seagate or WD (Blue, Green, Black).

I've heard people complain about the WD Green drives. I think it was the Scorpio Green but I don't remember too specific.
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:11 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 36,332,431 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peachgeek View Post
Has anyone had any bad experiences with a particular brand? Such as Seagate or WD (Blue, Green, Black).

I've heard people complain about the WD Green drives. I think it was the Scorpio Green but I don't remember too specific.
They all go through good and bad periods. I remember when WD was the one to have, then no one would touch them, but now they're back in fashion. Same thing with Seagate except they're still out of fashion after their firmware issues a couple of years ago. The only knock against WD Green that I know of is that they're not the fastest drive. But that doesn't mean they're not fine for applications where maximum speed isn't required but lower power draw and less heat are more important. Just buy whatever you can get and back your stuff up.
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Old 07-03-2011, 11:43 PM
 
Location: Sarasota-Manatee, Florida
407 posts, read 681,952 times
Reputation: 181
I wonder the same thing. I use Time Machine with my iMac and wonder how long my external will last. Its about 3 years old and still going. Its probably good to have two externals, if one goes at least you have a copy on the other disk.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,325 posts, read 21,212,597 times
Reputation: 5168
I had a external hard drive fail when it was about 3 years old. When that happened I opened a Carbonite account.
I still use an external hard drive for back up, but also have Carbonite on all my computers.
My daughter's external hard drive failed, and it was about 8 years old.

I liked the comment about lasting from 10 minutes to 10 years.
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Old 07-04-2011, 10:20 AM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,260,164 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mensaguy View Post
How Long Do External Hard Drives Last?

NHDave said several years ago that hard drives last anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 years. I haven't seen anything to make me disbelieve that.
True, and they fail at the worst possible time. Three words:

backup
backup
backup
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,723 posts, read 29,308,436 times
Reputation: 12539
I have never had an external hard drive fail, and I have several. But this may be because I only turn the hard drive ON when needed, and then turn it off. I use one hard drive to back-up each computer, and then several other drives to store my photos. Once I turn the drive off, I unplug it from the computer.
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