[SOLVED] Query regarding constant use of external backup drive

Apr 19, 2019
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Hi,

I have a 1-TB Seagate Portable External Drive. It contains all my legacy data: documents, videos and music files. However, I don't use it only to store backups. It stays connected to my desktop PC all day [via the USB port] as I watch the videos stored on it or access other documents. Is it ok to use external media this way or is such constant use detrimental?

Thanks!
 

Traditore

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Nov 5, 2013
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Short answer - it's OK.

It would probably fail sooner vs using it only when needed. How much sooner? In 4 years instead of 5? Is that an issue considering you want it to be convenient and always connected?

Like any electronics, the more you use it, the greater the risk of something going bad. Imagine running your coffee machine 24/7 every day.

External media is the same media only connected via USB. It would have the same wear as internal hard drive. The only additional wear would be on the electronics=enclosure which has it's own life expectancy and risks like any electronic device.
 
Apr 19, 2019
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Thanks for the response.

"It would probably fail sooner vs using it only when needed. How much sooner? In 4 years instead of 5?" <= I understand about the wear and tear, but this leads to a concern regarding the backed up data, if or when the external media goes bad. This data is almost 15 years old. So should I transfer it to a new drive every 5 years or so? I guess this is a more general query regarding the backup method/approach to be employed for critical or legacy data.
 

Mandark

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Sep 13, 2002
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You should always back up your data if it’s important to consider using millennial discs For long-term storage. I keep all my stuff in one drive so if my external drive blows up I can re-download everything
 

Traditore

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Nov 5, 2013
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Thanks for the response.

"It would probably fail sooner vs using it only when needed. How much sooner? In 4 years instead of 5?" <= I understand about the wear and tear, but this leads to a concern regarding the backed up data, if or when the external media goes bad. This data is almost 15 years old. So should I transfer it to a new drive every 5 years or so? I guess this is a more general query regarding the backup method/approach to be employed for critical or legacy data.
this is a question of an appropriate method of storing important stuff. For really important stuff you should get a NAS with 2 HDDs, configure in RAID1: one HDD mirrors the other, so that if one drive fails, you always have a complete copy and just replace the faulty drive.

Otherwise, yes, you'll have to always keep in mind that your external harddrive can fail and think about backup and replacement in advance. What if it falls to the floor and stops working? What if...? What if...
 
Apr 19, 2019
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So it's a case of any number of "what ifs" with external media! :) And NAS, RAID, and mirroring sound like dealing with internal paraphernalia, much like any other HD.

Appreciate your suggestions.

Thanks!
 
Apr 19, 2019
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My 0.02.

Backup drives should not be online all the time. What happens when a malware/ransomware actives and starts scrambling stuff? The primary reason for backup is safety right.
Point taken. Traditore did mention about the "what if" scenarios.
Thanks!
 

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