Question Recommend external hard drive ?

smalltech

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Hi,

I need a normal external hard drive (non-SSD so it is cheaper) at least 4TB or more for storing backups. Please recommend a reliable one

-no need any software in it (or can remove the software bundled in it, i do not need anything like "one touch backup")
-any size.

I have been using external WD Elements 2.5inch 2TB, but I read some bad reviews in Amazon so just seeking your recommendations.

Thanks
 

Lafong

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Does it have to be the type with a fully enclosed hard drive?

Can it be the type in which the drive is in the open air (a dock) and you can choose which drive to put in it?

Do you intend to leave it connected all the time? Connected and on?

The dock type has advantages in that you have full control over the drive itself and maybe have a bit fewer possible points of failure.

The enclosed type are outright commodities.....I can't recall reading where any of them are better than the other. You might drill google for reviews.
 
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smalltech

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Does it have to be the type with a fully enclosed hard drive?
Not sure what you mean, I am fine with anything. I thought disk comes in a plastic case?

Can it be the type in which the drive is in the open air (a dock) and you can choose which drive to put in it?
I am fine with anything.

Do you intend to leave it connected all the time? Connected and on?
On for 24hours, all the time.

The dock type has advantages in that you have full control over the drive itself and maybe have a bit fewer possible points of failure.
Do let me know more. I am new to dock type. Is it some dock that can hold multiple 3.5inch internal hard disk? What is recommended?
 

Lafong

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https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100008040 50008281 600006258 50002177 50001762&Order=1

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5-inches-SATA-Drive-Enclosure/dp/B01MZC303G

Above are some links to docks and enclosures to give you an idea.

I've owned 2, for 25 dollars or less. Prices are now fairly ridiculous....like everything else.

You buy the drive separately.

Advantage is you can use a fast high quality high capacity drive of your choice......rather than rely on whatever WD or Seagate has chosen to put inside the fully encased "external hard drive" you bought. Those are typically mediocre 5400 rpm drives of some type.

If you are using them with ordinary spinning 3.5 inch drives, you'd likely need the type with an included power supply. I don't think most USB ports supply enough power on their own.....you need to confirm that.

I've never used a dock permanently connected. I just connect mine every couple of months to make a second backup. My first backup is always to an internal, which is a lot faster.
 
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smalltech

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Is the risk of backing up to internal hard drive is that malware could infect the internal hard drive and if there is power supply problems the internal drive could be damaged, an external hard drive could prevent/minimize these problems. Is it true?
 

Lafong

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Is the risk of backing up to internal hard drive is that malware could infect the internal hard drive and if there is power supply problems the internal drive could be damaged, an external hard drive could prevent/minimize these problems. Is it true?
That's possible. Drives can also drop dead for no apparent reason at any time.

I have no idea if external drives minimize these problems. I don't use external drives as primary backup purely because they are so slow. I back up 950 GB several times a day. Takes under 2 minutes to a spinning internal.

I have more than 1 backup, so I'm not ruined if any one of them fails.
 

Lafong

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What are the pro and cons of this type "Sabrent USB 3.0 to SATA External Hard Drive Lay-Flat Docking Station for 2.5 or 3.5in HDD, SSD (EC-DFLT)" https://www.newegg.com/sabrent-ec-dflt-office-products/p/2WA-001J-00014?quicklink=true with a 3.5inch internal hard disk vs those external hard disk e.g. WD Elements, WD My Passport?
Same as I previously mentioned......primary advantage is you get to choose the drive.

Other stuff......failure rate, headaches, quality control, heat issues, your satisfaction level 2 years from now, etc are all unknown and maybe unknowable.
 
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If the hdd is ment as backup only, I do have some advises that should be helpful:
  • Against have the hdd connected 24/7:
    • In case of crypto-virus infection, the data on any mounted hard drive must be considered lost - you'd probably only realize the files are about to be wiped after it's too late.
    • A rotating hdd platter is very sensitive to movement, so you pick it up from the table and move it around may be enough to render it unusable and thereby loss of data.
  • Always use "save removal of hardware". Even the newest wonderful OS'es cannot help to prevent potential loss of data if the hdd are being unplugged while still being written to.
  • Most of todays large hard drives is SMR types. Those offers greater data density but at the cost of bad performance on random writes. This means that if you're copying a huge amount of small files, the write speed appear normal at first, but then drop to a dead slow pace. For large files (i.e. raw photos and video files) this will probably not be a problem. Also copying a small number of small files shouldn't be a noticeable issue.
 
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smalltech

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https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100008040 50008281 600006258 50002177 50001762&Order=1

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-3-5-inches-SATA-Drive-Enclosure/dp/B01MZC303G

Above are some links to docks and enclosures to give you an idea.

I've owned 2, for 25 dollars or less. Prices are now fairly ridiculous....like everything else.

You buy the drive separately.

Advantage is you can use a fast high quality high capacity drive of your choice......rather than rely on whatever WD or Seagate has chosen to put inside the fully encased "external hard drive" you bought. Those are typically mediocre 5400 rpm drives of some type.

If you are using them with ordinary spinning 3.5 inch drives, you'd likely need the type with an included power supply. I don't think most USB ports supply enough power on their own.....you need to confirm that.

I've never used a dock permanently connected. I just connect mine every couple of months to make a second backup. My first backup is always to an internal, which is a lot faster.
What exact dock brand/model did you buy? It seems like some reviews say the dock damaged their hard drive.
If I need to switch on the dock (with hard drive) for 24hours do I need a dock with fan?
 

smalltech

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If the hdd is ment as backup only, I do have some advises that should be helpful:
  • Against have the hdd connected 24/7:
    • In case of crypto-virus infection, the data on any mounted hard drive must be considered lost - you'd probably only realize the files are about to be wiped after it's too late.
    • A rotating hdd platter is very sensitive to movement, so you pick it up from the table and move it around may be enough to render it unusable and thereby loss of data.
  • Always use "save removal of hardware". Even the newest wonderful OS'es cannot help to prevent potential loss of data if the hdd are being unplugged while still being written to.
  • Most of todays large hard drives is SMR types. Those offers greater data density but at the cost of bad performance on random writes. This means that if you're copying a huge amount of small files, the write speed appear normal at first, but then drop to a dead slow pace. For large files (i.e. raw photos and video files) this will probably not be a problem. Also copying a small number of small files shouldn't be a noticeable issue.
How to prevent crypto-virus infecrion?

I have macrium reflect scheduled to do auto incremental backup daily at 4AM. I intend to connect the USB cable permanently to my PC. Is there way to auto schedule the external hard drive to "save removal of hardware" after the backup is done and activate the connection at 3.45AM daily?

I am thinking of a way to prevent "In case of crypto-virus infection, the data on any mounted hard drive must be considered lost - you'd probably only realize the files are about to be wiped after it's too late." Do you guys do a full backup occasionally on another hard drive that is different from the daily backup hard drive?
 

smalltech

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I think I will choose one of these, Seagate One Touch External HDD or Seagate Expansion External HDD or Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch External HDD, which one is better?
 

Lafong

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What exact dock brand/model did you buy? It seems like some reviews say the dock damaged their hard drive.
If I need to switch on the dock (with hard drive) for 24hours do I need a dock with fan?

Rosewill RX301-PU3-35B USB 3.0; December of 2015; 18 dollars; Newegg;

I have no idea how it would damage the drive. You can insert it backwards in which case it might damage the connectors if you tried to force it to fit, but that is user error like using a standard screwdriver on a Philips screw.

You have to read between the lines and discount a lot of stuff you read in online reviews....as you likely know.

Fans and heat:

I have seen complaints about heat on the fully enclosed units that you were originally considering. As well as failures of the included connections and circuit board.

These things aren't exactly the peak of human engineering. That would be the Zippo cigarette lighter or the F4U Chance Vought Corsair. Or the Slinky.

My dock has the drive standing vertically, with the top 2/3 in the open air. I don't leave it on and running for more than a couple of hours at a time while I back up. Other than that, it is in a closet.

If I bought one like you linked earlier in this thread, where the drive is laying down, I'd probably leave the lid open to let heat out. Might help.

I have no idea about the worthiness of any built-in fan on any of these things.

I would encourage you to NOT leave the thing on and running constantly.

You may have decided that is an absolute requirement. I don't know. That may affect reliability and your eventual satisfaction level due to heat. Or not. Roll some dice.

All of which is part of the reason why I use an internal for primary backup and use my dock only for an hour or two every couple of months.
 
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Lafong

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Do you guys do a full backup occasionally on another hard drive that is different from the daily backup hard drive?
I distinguish in my mind between "OS and installed applications" backup and "personal data" backup.

I use Macrium to backup up OS and installed applications. Source is an ordinary SATA SSD containing C and 3 smaller Windows related partitions. Destination is an internal 3 TB spinning drive. I use only full images and always a single image file of all partitions on the SSD. I run this only monthly because my Windows installation changes slowly and because this SSD contains no personal data.......which changes minute to minute.

I use a garden variety "file by file" backup program for personal files. I run it 2 or 3 times a day. Source is my internal NVMe SSD which contains data ONLY. Destination is the same internal 3 TB spinning drive. It is effectively a "drag and drop" of all files from D to the spinning E.

Additionally....I use my dock and a spinning drive occasionally to make another replica of D (ALL personal files). Every 2 or 3 months.

Additionally....I make a monthly backup of my most important personal files to an NVMe in an external enclosure...connected only monthly for that purpose.

None of this is automated. I want to keep my head in the game.
 

Lafong

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I assume those are both spinning drives inside.

One has a USB C connection....that might be a little faster than ordinary USB 3.0.

The external dimensions of the case seem to be identical. One "fabric"; one plastic.

Same warranty.

One is "ultra touch"; the other is "one touch". I have no idea of the distinction. Marketing jive.

Drill into Seagate spec sheets I guess.

Entirely possible the internal drives are identical. Spec sheets may or may not be revealing.

I'd try to get reviews and take them not very seriously. You'll no doubt find horror stories and some level of satisfaction.

By and large you are going to have to take a leap of faith. Reasonable chance you will live happily ever after...depending on your expectations. Speed will likely be underwhelming due to slow RPM discs inside. Maybe that doesn't matter to you.

Cross fingers and so forth.

Maybe you can find benchmark tests of both, but that would not likely tell you about heat, longevity, longer term satisfaction, etc.
 

smalltech

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Do all hard drive allow user to reformat to either exFAT or NTFS?
Do hard drive by default comes in either exFAT or NTFS but the drive do support both exFAT and NTFS?
 

Lafong

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Normally....you'd want the drive to be NTFS.

But they could be ExFat when they arrive...maybe to accommodate Apple users?

I can't recall a situation where a hard drive couldn't ultimately be formatted NTFS, but it's possible you may have issues with an external connected by cable that would require you to use some tool other than Windows.

I've never had formatting issues with anything at the end of a cable, but have had with USB flash drives.
 
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How to prevent crypto-virus infecrion?
The short answer is - you can't. There will always be a new vulnerability that bad guys exploits before being patched.

You should rather ask the question how to make the backup safe from such an incident. That answer will be to always keep a remote copy of the data that isn't directly accessible on the spot.

I have macrium reflect scheduled to do auto incremental backup daily at 4AM. I intend to connect the USB cable permanently to my PC. Is there way to auto schedule the external hard drive to "save removal of hardware" after the backup is done and activate the connection at 3.45AM daily?
Not sure if you can do this in the Windows world but:
  • There may be a way of mount/unmount (that is assign/remove drive letter) for a particular hdd partition. If yes, it may be incorporated in the backup script.
  • Does the backup software have versioning (i.e have a place where all deleted/replaced files are stored).
If those above - AND hopefully the crypto virus cannot access files on partitions not mounted, then you're somewhat safer - but only if you detect the infection at an early stage, because if not - then the very second the backup script runs, the crypto virus can start grinding down all your previous backup files as well.


I am thinking of a way to prevent "In case of crypto-virus infection, the data on any mounted hard drive must be considered lost - you'd probably only realize the files are about to be wiped after it's too late." Do you guys do a full backup occasionally on another hard drive that is different from the daily backup hard drive?
Not sure I'm the correct guy to ask as I use Linux, but I'll try.

First - I don't backup of the full system because no need for that (have other solutions for that). Instead I've picked the folders of interrests. On my personal laptop using for internet/offce tasks there is only one important folder. So I occationally plug in a usb stick and then I run a rsync command. This command take backups, and I've also set it up to make versions of the files, so a pile of old copies of the files are growing, but since this is mostly office files it doesn't matter that much.

Then I have a multimedia computer with images and video materials. I also use rsync on that too onto an external usb hdd. Then I have an old computer standing in a room in another location (this could be a hdd as well but space wasn't a problem) for the sole purpose of having a third backup in case of fatal damage to where I live. This is because there is a lot of family albums and other files not possible to replace without proper backup.
 
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