External hard disks - need advice

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Mrkvonic, Nov 2, 2006.

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  1. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,
    I recently bought a WD 160GB external hard disk - which is basically a normal disk with a case and usb adapter. I even got 3 year warranty.
    My questions are:
    How often do you think should this drive be formatted? Every time I back up on to it, before copying a fresh batch of files? Never - treat it like a plain hard disk? Any special tips?
    Mrk
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2006
  2. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Why reformat?
    No more need than with an internal drive.
    But do format as NTFS.

    If the drive is to be used only for backup, make 1 partition on the drive.
    Otherwise choose to partitionas needed.
     
  3. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    I'm using an 80GB Western Digital external USB drive on my old box. Not including the initial setup, I've only needed to reformat one partition due to configuration problems with my PC, not problems with the drive itself.
    I don't see where any scheduled or routine reformatting should be necessary unless you want to change partition sizes or file system formats.
    According to their documentation, their external HD shouldn't even work on my system, too old. I'm limited to using mine for data storage and backup images as my USB is way too slow to run applications. It's been a dependable data storage that I badly needed.
    Rick
     
  4. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,
    Thanks for the info.
    I was thinking one partition - several truecrypt volumes on it - or should I make the entire disk encrypted?
    And indeed, when I think of it, no reason for format.
    What about defragmentation - considering encryption.
    Mrk
     
  5. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    It makes no sense to use USB 1.1 with an external hard drive.
    Install a USB 2 card in the computer.

    If you cannot do this, you are way overdue for getting another computer.
     
  6. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    If you are going to encrypt the drive, you betta check that this will not cause problems for the backup software.

    Defragmentation has nothing to do with encryption.
    Get Perfect Disk, check for best price at http://www.raxco.com/. Best price is usually at Amazon.
     
  7. eniqmah

    eniqmah Registered Member

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    I format my external disk all the time, but mine is partitioned. I partitioned mine into 3. 1 partition for back up of system. 1 to back up data. 1 for temporary files. My system backup partition is rarely changed whereas the data partition is backed up frequently and the temp partition gets written to all the time, so these 2 get formatted a lot. I believe this is a more efficient way to handle such a disk, in fact, not just this, but any disk because the wear and tare and fragmentation of a disk can easily be curtailed this way, making it last longer and keep its performance from degradation as much as possible. If it is an external disk, I would power it down whenever I get the chance because external disks don't power down like the internal ones do (internal disks are managed by the OS and power down when they're idle) This is important because if you leave your external disk running over night while your computer is on, the disk will wear out much much faster. Just a reminder from experience, even though I'm sure you know this. Whoa, I'm way off topic. In short, if partitioned, format all you want.
     
  8. Cerxes

    Cerxes Registered Member

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    There is a reason why server drives don´t have power saving modes, because these low power modes cause mechanical stress on the internal components of the drive. By frequently load and unload, it could cause the drive to fail prematurely. Power saving modes are only good for saving battery, not the lifetime of the drive.

    Regards, C.
     
  9. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    That's pretty much a matter of preference, depending on whether your encryption software has any limits on what size partitions it can encrypt. I split mine into 4 partitions, 3 standard, 1 Scramdisk. Depends on what you need. I'd save the encryption for the partition(s) that store personal or sensitive data and format the rest normally. As for defragging and other maintenance, it's the same as an internal drive. I defrag my data partition semi-regularly. The other 3 don't get near the usage so I rarely defrag them.
    Yes, way overdue for new hardware, but I have to make do with what I have for now. Even though I can't run applications from the external drive with the old USB, it's still plenty fast enough for data storage or playing music, and has almost 10 times the capacity of my 2 internal drives, one Windows 98, the other Linux. Even though I can't use it to its full potential right now, it still solves my storage problems.
    Rick
     
  10. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Just an observation re defrag:
    if all you are doing is Storing backups and images there is nothing to be gained by defragging. SOme defrag apps may have problems with USB connections (or is that solid state usb thumbs?)
    Anyway:
    Better just to wipe with reformat if major changes needing new images etc.

    Heh, dont wipe all your back-ups at once :eek:
     
  11. Meltdown

    Meltdown Registered Member

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    I've got a WD 160 GB My Book external hard drive (the same as Mrk's?) which powers down when idle. The My Book series is fairly new, so perhaps that feature is a recent innovation.
     
  12. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    That,s just new to hear for me!!
     
  13. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Sorry but I always though Power off is better for the componenets.
     
  14. Cerxes

    Cerxes Registered Member

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    Besides buying quality hard drives, keeping it cool in conjunction with mechanical decoupling, is the best way of extending the lifetime of the drive. If you can turn off/change the firmware regarding the power saving modes, then it´s even better.

    Regards, C.
     
  15. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    When I re-install my computer from scratch, I do this :
    1. I zero my first harddisk and re-install everything.
    2. I zero my second harddisk and restore my data.
    3. I reformat my external harddisk (couldn't find a zero-tool yet).
    4. I do my backup for each harddisk again.

    I will soon re-install my computer, but this time I will take several CLEAN backups (probably 4 in total) + archived clean snapshots to avoid any manual re-installation in the future.
    These clean backups/archived snapshots are a very important part of my 100% foolproof security setup.

    Of course I have my daily backups also, but I don't consider them as guaranteed clean, because they contain system partitions, that have been on-line.
     
  16. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    What u mean by zero?
     
  17. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I have two WD Raptor harddisks and Western Digital offers several freewares to do things with your harddisks. One of them is a tool that wipes out my harddisk with zeroes. The final result is a new harddisk.
    I use it to make sure that everything is gone, including malwares. Takes 20 minutes per harddisk (74gb).
    This tool can only be used for this brand and type of harddisk of course.
    I couldn't find such a tool for my Seagate external harddisk yet and that is a pity.
     
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