Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hard Drive Heaven

Hi everyone, Heather here to give you a bit of advice on external hard drives.

Last month I wrote up all about flash drives, so I thought a little information about their big brothers would be useful too.

Since we all use different types of computers lets get a few things straight first.

Mac vs PC
Yes they are different operating systems but a hard drive is a hard drive. It will back up differently depending on which you are using and how you are choosing to back it up, but for the better part all hard drives will work on all computers.

USB vs Firewire (1394)
This can hold one of the major differences between the two. All computers have USB ports, but only some (normally Macs) have Firewire ports (on a PC it is called a 1394). And even getting more confusing, depending on how old your Mac is, or which model you have there may be a Firewire 400 or 800 port. These are normally better (faster) than USBs, only in rare situations is USB 2.0 faster than Firewire 800. (But enough of this because Macs only come with Firewire 800 ports now.)

GB vs TB

A GigaByte (GB) is 1024 MegaBytes. A TetaByte is 1024 GigaBytes. (When formated, this is why hard drives seem a little bit smaller than what comes on the box)

So, lets take a look at some of my favorite hard drives.

Western Digital:

They have two (or four depending on how you look at it) pretty cool families of external hard drives. The My Book, My Passport, then a My Book Elite and a My Passport Elite.

The My Book is a stationary hard drive as it requires a power source, but the My Passport will generate power from the USB or Firewire port so it is more portable. They are all available as either USB only or USB / Firewire (more expensive) connections. They also come in all different sizes from 320 GB to 4 TB. The Elite models have a display on the outside of how much space is being taken up on the inside.


Similar to the Western Digital, these hard drives come in a portable and stationary model. All different sizes and you have the option to have a USB or USB / Firewire drive.


I love the Lacie Rugged drive. It has an awesome little grip around it and connects with USB and Firewire. These also come in multiple sizes.

I have also had an Iomega, Buffalo, Verbatum, and G Drive; but these are my top favorite three. I hope you have a little more information about hard drives and if you don't have one, will get one very soon! A rule that I like to live by is this: If your information does not exist in three locations, your information does not exist. All hard drives will fail one day, so keep more than one copy in case the worst happens. Also think about keeping one at a separate location in case you have a break-in, fire, or flood. Hopefully none of those, but a sticky note on your hard drive saying "Please don't take this robber" may not work (but I keep one on mine anyway, hey... a girl can dream, maybe the robber will have a little bit of a heart).

With all of this here is a little insight to my backup plan:

2 computers, one laptop, one desktop. Each has their own dedicated backup drive. One hard drive lives at my mom's house and gets backed up with the essentials about once a month. Contacts, calendars, bookmarks, photos, and email gets synced with MobileMe with both of my computers and iPhone. I also have a portable drive that I keep photos on so I don't have to keep them on a computer and I can switch between both computers. When one hard drive fills up, I buy a larger one, copy the old information to the new one, then take the full one to my mom's.

Now go back up!



Kara June 8, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

Thanks for this post. I have been talking about getting me an EHD, this was very helpful!

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