January 26, 2006

External Hard Drives

External Hard Drive We've just purchased an external hard drive, and couldn't be happier with it. It's cute, too — and sits about 9x6x2 inches.

Why an external hard drive? Well, over the years, we've of course backed up our client work and a bit of our own files onto CD ROMs. The day comes, though, when your own files exceed in size any CD ROM (for instance, a 2Gigabyte email folder). We could, of course, have installed a DVD drive but, last we checked, DVDs are about seven gigabytes — and so wondered how long would it be before even those were too small. Besides, who wants stacks of CDs and DVDs hanging around when you could have -presto!- a huge external hard drive. That's right: while you can get ones with smaller capacity, ours is 320 Gigs. Quite enough to last anyone a while.

The above external hard drive was purchased at NewEgg.com — love buying online: you can do it at any hour, don't have to talk to a sales rep, and it arrives via UPS or another carrier a few days later. That's our kind of ease.

This one connects to the computer via a USB (or Firewire) connection. We just plugged it in and turned it on (the only thing to know is that the computer system gets sluggish for about 30 seconds after you turn on the drive, and then goes back to normal). We didn't even bother to install the software that comes with it; we just started making folders on it and drag/dropping files.

And there's the beauty — you're not burning files onto it, or worrying about CD "multi-sessions" or formats anything else, because this thing is a hard drive, just like your computer's hard drive. Only it's external. Tornadoes coming? Just unplug it and pop it into your escape bag. We figure that, when it gets full, we'll just get another. <grin>

I dunno. We just feel more secure having that happy puppy sitting there, waiting to do its thing.

<Update 6/23/06> I am sorry to say that this external hard drive did not last. We purchased it in January; last week, it started making clicking noises, which generally means the drive is going to fail soon — and, strangely, although it was plugged in but NOT turned on, I could hear the hard drive whirring. It stopped clicking when I unplugged it. Luckily, upon plugging it in again, it still worked, so I got to spend a number of hours copying 20 Gigs of files to another drive.

<Update 7/5/06> A brief search of the Web netted a number of reviews and comments detailing the same problems with external hard drives — but these were not limited to Western Digital. I figure that either the parts were all made by the same company, or that there is something else in common that would cause their computers not to be able to locate the external hard drive (in Windows' MyComputer folder), and other issues. Because unplugging our Western Digital hard drive and plugging it back stopped the clicking and, eventually, I was able to locate it in MyComputer and there seem to be no further problems.

Based upon an observation by one reviewer, my guess is that electricity power surges have something to do with it, of which we have plenty here in L.A. Thing is, you can have good quality surge resistors and UPSes (Uninterruptible Power Sources) which also have surge resistors, but the constant barrage of power surges wears down their effectiveness. My conclusion, after talking it over with our computer network person, is to keep the WD external hard drive and replace all our surge resistors and UPSes.

Added 12/21/07: It's now been two years and the external drive is functioning just fine.

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3 Comments for "External Hard Drives"

  1. External Hard Drive Saves Email! says:

    […] lders got corrupted and I was saved from sheer ridiculous-ity by the happy existence of my external hard drive. I'll skip mentioning what email program I'm using […]

    Pingback posted on 3/20/2006 @ 9:09 am
  2. james robinson says:

    I purchased a western digital 500giabyt external hard drive from buy.com and it was defictive and am getting the runaround big time from both companys
    be careful abuot purchasing from buy.com (never again for me) and be careful about a western digital product as all they will do is replace it with a refurbished product it is bad buisness when you buy a product from a company and they do not stand behind there product

    Comment posted on 12/22/2007 @ 11:56 am
  3. Editor says:

    That's too bad. I hope you get it properly resolved.

    I've normally purchased from BestBuy (offline), and http://newegg.com — and had success with both. I've also got good, solid Western Digital and Maxtor external hard drives.

    Is Buy.com refusing to take it back?

    Comment posted on 12/22/2007 @ 12:03 pm

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