Advice regarding backup to external hdd

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Mrkvonic, Nov 23, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,695
    Hello,

    Just bought an external 500GB and I connected it to one of the lan machines via usb, where it will serve as permanent backup storage. I have enabled sharing for other lan machines. I have also fully encrypted it with truecrypt and auto-mount the volume during logon.

    So my questions are:

    1. Do you think keeping it on will prolong its life?
    2. Is there a way to make Window remember the truecrypt volume sharing after it is dismounted each logon. I have to reenable sharing every reboot - it's 7 seconds of work, nothing cardinal, but any idea?

    Mrk
     
  2. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Posts:
    2,295
    Location:
    Cromwell Country
    Have no idea about #2 but would have thought that leaving a hard drive on all the time would reduce its life rather than prolong it. However does this matter if the life of a drive is say 3 to 5 years ? In 5 years from now we may all be using solid state drives with SATA II gathering dust along side the zip drives and DVD players.
     
  3. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,695
    Hello,

    My question is - what is better:


    1. Constant continuous steady wear (average drive life 3-6 years)

    OR

    2. Periodical thermal stress due to infrequent use, plus the wear on the hard drive head lubrication...


    Il mio experience: Most companies / IT friends go for 2, advice the similar ...

    So ... solid state is a good thing and I'll sure be one to go for those when they come out, but for now ...

    P.S. Got 1.6TB storage altogether ... hihihihihihi ... sorry, I'm in a nice mood, had a fabulous steak in a restaurant today.

    Mrk
     
  4. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Posts:
    1,946
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    I'm surprised they would go for 2! My thought is that starting the drive accounts for most of the wear. I doubt simply spinning would ever wear out the drive. There are many side issues though, and I hesitate to bring them up, being as you did not, however, these may make a difference.

    -Is it worth saving the electricity by having it off?

    -In a sense the files are more secure to have it powered down.

    It said right in the manual (Maxtor external) that the hard drive was designed to be running all of the time. There is little doubt in my mind that the hard drive itself will last much longer if left running.

    - Of course indexing service will not used!

    - I think you are better of not defragmenting a storage drive.

    Since I only do backups about once a week, I sometimes turn mine off.


    -HandsOf
     
  5. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    Posts:
    1,695
    Location:
    Texas
    Hi

    Ext. Hdd's do not have a fan + tight enclosure (limited breathing room) equals a hot drive. Heat will reduce the life of the drive, therefore I suggest 'off' when not in use.

    Take Care
    Rico
     
  6. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Posts:
    1,212
    Location:
    England
    Constant continuous steady wear (average drive life 3-6 years)
    Or
    Periodical thermal stress due to infrequent use, plus the wear on the hard drive head lubrication...

    Thats a beauty!

    Kind of like pressing the on and off of your pc. The heating up and cooling down of your motherboard capacitors or left on does more damage.

    I think turning your pc on and off alot each day increases the wear and tear of moving parts like your hard drive so it better left on.
     
  7. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,695
    Hello,
    HandsOff, the IT advice was 2 - stay on all the time - not the reasons that I mentioned in the post after that, sorry.
    Mrk
     
  8. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,041
    Hi Mrk

    I've been using external drives for quite a while. My experience is leave them off. When you turn them let them warm up, use it, and shut it down. When I bought my latest drive, there were a lot of negative reviews of many of the drives. As I sorted thru them, most of the people with problems were folks leaving them on all the time.


    On my oldest drive a WD drive, I used to leave it on all the time. Then it "failed". I shut it down. Next time I tried it, the drive worked fine. Since then I've always kept it off except when needed, with no more issues. That was 3 years ago.

    Pete
     
  9. DCM

    DCM Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Posts:
    234
    I leave my external drives off most of the time. They only go on when I am downloading data from them or uploading data to them. I figure that if there is a virus or maybe even some serious electrical problem, they may be safe if turned off.
     
  10. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Posts:
    3,502
    I agree with turning them off when not being used (obviously not turning it off after 20 seconds of turning it on), unless you use them constantly - in that case i would only turn it off at night, or when i'm away.
    I see no reason to leave them on wasting power.
    How can it live longer if it's always on is beyond me.

    Seagate folks never told me to when i emailed them, they only said the warranty would expire if they find out the HD was subject to high temperature (above limit), etc. which i assume is worst with continuous use.

    I admit i can be wrong, in fact my knowledge of such things is limited.

    EDIT to be clear
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2007
  11. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Posts:
    3,187
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    From my humble position down here with the other planktons my information from my Itechs is:

    On & off increases wear and tear and read accesses and spin ups etc = shortened life, external enclosures need good ventilation/heat sink design in general, no real evidence that fan enclosures make a difference: that has applied up to now but these mega-drives 500G+ and faster spin times may make a difference.
     
  12. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Posts:
    1,946
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    That's OK, Mr. Kovonic -

    I am always jumping to conclusions. Anyway it is an interesting question.


    I'll just throw in that if your HD is hot from just being on, then you have a problem! Most of the heat comes from reading and writing, not just rotating. I to say that some drive enclosures seem small, and don't appear to allow for much air circulation around them. I'm constantly amazed by the efforts some manufacturers will go to to save a penny! My two (working) drives have aluminum enclosures and no fan. The aluminum does a good job transporting the heat away form the HD! I think a small plastic enclosure should have a fan!

    Seagate is in a no win position with respect to advising what will promote long drive life. If they say don't turn it on and off, it makes them appear insensitive to the environment, as well as making it sound as though their drives aren't heavy duty enough (even though they have the best warranties). I think Maxtor's guide dealt with the thorny issue rather elegantly with, "...the drives were designed to be on all the time." It's just a matter of reading between the lines.


    -HandsOff
     
  13. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Posts:
    3,502
    Hello HandsOff,
    Before people start criticizing Seagate, you should note that i didn't say they recommended 1 or the other. That was not the topic, and wasn't mentioned.
     
  14. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Posts:
    1,946
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    I wouldn't dream of criticizing Seagate!
     
  15. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,695
    Hello,

    It's been almost 24 hours since the drive has been plugged in. I have noticed it has a standby feature. If not accessed for some time, it slows down dramatically and idles so to speak. The enclosure is quite big - plastic - not sure about any fans, but there is no excess heat coming out of it. It's the same temp as the room.

    As to my other question - any way of making Windoze remember the sharing of the truecrypt volume after it's been dismounted?

    Mrk
     
  16. Defcon

    Defcon Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Posts:
    332
    The newer external drives from Seagate and Maxtor don't even have an off switch, they just idle down when not in use. Even the old drives used to do that but also had apower switch so that users could shut them off, to do that now you have to unplug the usb or power cord.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,041
    Which is exactly why I wouldn't buy them. They don't think they users are smart enough to turn them off. I bought some new Lacie's which do have the ability to turn them off, and they don't come on when I turn the computer on.

    Pete
     
  18. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Posts:
    2,024
    Sorry to mention but Lacie,s have a bad name,the only drives failed on me are Lacie drives,ever more photographers shy away from Lacie cause of frequent failure,more so then with other brands,also Lacie uses internally stuff from other vendors,they are more focussed on design[slick appereance,Porche]then on function. I think the drives in there need more room to breath because they are cramped in their boxes,guess one of the reasons of a higher failure rate.
     
  19. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,041
    Yep, I've read that, but I've got two of them that work beautifully. But I applied my experience with the western digital drives. I keep em off except when I need them.

    Pete
     
  20. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    I also use the icon "Safely Remove Hardware", where Windows gives me the permission to turn my external harddisk OFF or not. I don't have to kneel though. ;)
     
  21. screamer

    screamer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Posts:
    921
    Location:
    Big Apple USA
    This is probably a moot point since the two opposing camps will never see eye to eye.

    My experience is based on high-end audio equipment. Thermal Failure primarily occurs when a piece of gear is turned on. The initial shock occurring during the surge stage is not withstood by the component in question (either resistor, capacitor...) Over continuous on-off cycles the components suffer from thermal fatigue: ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_fatigue ) and eventually fail.

    This is not a guarantee that "Your" device will fail, it's just presented here as my reason for keeping electronics on.

    I use several (read 6) WD external HDD's. One has been on since 1999 and another since 2001. Both are used every night as alternate BU drives.

    ...screamer
     
  22. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Posts:
    2,024
    My precious data is copied to 3 different ext. drives,largely overcoming the change to total loss of it.Slim change they fail at the same moment.
     
  23. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Posts:
    1,212
    Location:
    England
    Yes, the lifespan of Lacie drives is poor. I heard of so many being sent back to the factory. I don't know if it the USB convertors failing or the hard drives. I opened mine up and it was a seagate. I say WD are best quality then seagate then maxtor. I avoid maxtor at all costs.
     
  24. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Posts:
    3,187
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    :eek: :eek: :D
     
  25. Defcon

    Defcon Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Posts:
    332
    Nearly every external drive, except for certain Seagates, only has a 1 year warranty compared to 3-5 for the internal model, and in most cases the drive is the same. Makes you wonder why? I say the external models are not designed to be run continuously and fail mostly due to thermal issues.

    I have bought enclosures and put desktop drives in them since its cheaper.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.