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External Hard disk and backup

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Hi. i'm going to wipe my hard drive and re-install windows and my applications cos my computer has slowed down from spyware etc.

Before i do this i need to back up my data, and rather than burn it to CDs, i'm gonna get an external hard drive (EHD) cos i think that it will be useful to me in the future too, so i can use it to back up files regularly.

I have some questions though.

1) I will store music on it too. Is USB 2.0 port fast enough to allow me to play music from the EHD or will this not work, forcing me to store the music on the computer's own hard drive?

2) Will using EHD result in the computer really slowing down in performance?

3) What do i need to back up? Let me explain...Apart from the slow perfomance i have my computer set up as i want it - ie internet favourites etc, and when i re-install everything, i want to set the computer up as it was. Apart from the My Document folder, what else do i need to back up so that i don't need to start from scratch when reconfiguring everything? (Hope i explained what i mean properly :tazz: ).

4) Any suggestions about which EHD to get? I want one that is easily portable, works with almost any computer, is driver-free and works at a good speed. Are there any good EHDs or good product review sites that you could recommend?

5) I've read about fully assembled EHDs, and also about buying the external USB case and then putting an IDE inside it...and i don't know what any of this means!? Can you help me understand, particularly because i don't even know the coorect names of components to search on Google!

6) I use a laptop too - will an EHD powered by the USB drain the laptop battery really quickly. If so, can you get EHDs with AC adaptors?

Thanks alot for your help :)

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I think that an external drive should be fast enough to play music, the data rate is typically higher than that sound.

It will not slow down the machine unless you are using it a lot. Typically an external drive is not as fast as internal drives, but as fast enough for most things.

You can save the settings for many programs, but you will need to reconfigure many things. Because of the way that Windoze works, it is not always easy to save everything. You need to make sure that programs have not saved files under other directories. What I personally do is to get a new disk and/or copy the entire directory before wiping it out so that if you are missing something you can get it back.

I don't have any suggestions on good external drives, although I like the one I have and got another of the same from newegg.com, search for "usb enclosure", the one I have is the HD-360U, USB only, no firewire. It was around $32 before shipping and tax. They also have one with a rebate of $20 until tomorrow, so it costs around $11, it is a white case and is said to be hard to open it. These are case only. You then can get a EIDE drive to put in it or put something you already have, like the current disk.

I would only get an external drive which comes with a power supply.

XP seems to work well with external USB devices.

You can get just the enclosure and then use a normal IDE drive in it, such as what you most likely have in your system now. Many drives have a 3-5 year warranty, whereas the complete units are less. All it means is that you open the case, mount the drive, plug in the data and power cable, then close it up. Make sure you set the driive to be master.

Yes, many (most?) external drives come with AC adapters.
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I have 4 such devices, all assembled myself with external hard drive enclosures and an EIDE hard drive. Three are ADS USB2 hard drive enclosures. I have seen these on the web for around $19.00 us. At the time I got mine they were $54.00 at my local Walmart. One other that I assembled is a USB2/Firewire combo enclosure I got at XPCGear on the web. There are "off the shelf" external hard drives available. Maxtor, Western Digital, Simpletech, Seagate are a few that come to mind. I considered many of these but ultimately, decided it is better to get the enclosure and be able to change out the hd any time I wanted. This has worked well for me. I can back up data, music, video what ever. I don't see any difference running it from the usb2 external hd or the drive inside of my computer case. The way to go is start using google, do a search for "hard drive enclosure" and that will get you started. Try "external hard drive enclosure" if you don]t get the results you want on the first search. There are firewire units out there that are 2 drive, 4 drive, 8 drive. All kinds of stuff to choose from. The ADS enclosure I got will support any size EIDE hd, has a power supply and fan. I would not consider any unit that does not have a fan and power supply. The ones I use are plug and play, and I can move them between my W2K Pro and WXP Pro machines no problem.

Edited by austin_o, 30 December 2005 - 06:54 PM.

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