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How reliable are External Hard drives


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#1
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I have been reading that some external hard drives are not very reliable if left on all the time. Mine run 18 hours a day at least and some times 24 hours. What good are they if you can't depend on them. I wonder what would be a better idea?
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#2
Titan8990

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It all depends on what the external drive is and what enclosure it is in. For example, a Western Digital world Book should not be left on all the time. This because the device has no cooling whatsoever. I have a thermaltake enclosure with a standard HDD in it and it has run 24/7 for about 6months with no issues.
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#3
Trippster

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The new WD Mybooks power down when your PC is off.
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#4
Titan8990

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The one I had was a NAS did not connect to a computer. It connected directly to the network. It died after about a month. When I opened it up in an attempt to salvage the drive I saw that there was absolutely no method of cooling. No fan, no heatsinks, nothing. And on top of this the power source was screwed to the hard drive, the primary heat producer of the device.

Edited by Titan8990, 05 September 2008 - 12:21 PM.

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#5
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I have had my WD Book for 1 1\2 years with no problem. I agree that there is a cooling problem. Think I might build me a little cage with a 120mm fan a direct it to them. I believe mine do shut down, because I hear a wine once and a while like it is spinning down.
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#6
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I think I will build my next external HD with a alum. case with fans. I will research what is the best external drive enclosure.
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#7
wannabe1

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Galaxy Metal Gear makes some good enclosures that use active cooling. They will also allow hot swapping, raid configurations (including JBOD), and mixing/matching drives of different sizes. I leave mine running 24-7 and have never had a problem. They are a bit more spendy than some other enclosures, but then, how much is your data backup worth to you?
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#8
SRX660

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My thoughts on this is that anything that moves will eventually fail. The bad part of that is you don't get to choose when it fails. I use external HD's only for short term storage. They are good for transferring a lot of data from one HD to another. My long term storage (more than a month) is to use DVD's. You get 4.5 gigs saved for as long as you want for about 20¢. I have 100's of DVD's with saved data in Diskgear organizer cases at my fingertip any time i need them.

I do this simply because i almost lost 70 gigs of Music MP3's by letting a family member use my external HD to listen to the songs. Months later when i got the drive back, it would not work in any of the 7 computers i have at home. Even installing the HD into a computer would only get me errors. I finally used a Knoppix bootable CD to get the files off the drive. The drive never got mentioned after i asked them what happened to the drive. They just said it worked for them, but the funny thing is it was unplugged and the cables unhooked for over a month before i asked for it back. Live and learn, EH!

Don't get me wrong here, because i still have a 10 year old toshiba 2 gig Laptop HD in an elcheapo USB enclosure that still works after using it for over 3 years now. It's so old that the enclosure uses a mouse port pass-thru adapter to power the drive. I also have a WD 160 Gig Pata External drive i use for saving data when i am reinstall windows on computers. This drive is 2 years old now and still works well. It's just that DVD's won't fail if you take care of them.

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#9
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I do use DVD's for backup and storage especially for my music, but my backup changes everyday. I do keep another HD loaded and ready to go in case of an emergency. My image of my drive is 58 gig, that won't fit on a dvd.
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