ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

External Hard Drive Backup

Updated on January 20, 2011

External Hard Drive Backup

Having an external hard drive backup is one of the smartest investments you can make to ensure the protection of your important computer data.  There are many other options available for backups, but an external hard drive backup is probably the fastest and most versatile option available.  Unlike a wireless hard drive backup, an external hard drive is not limited by the speed or stability of your wireless connection.  The same thing applies to online backup services.  Using an online service requires that your internet connection be up and running.  This applies to both backing up and retrieving your data.  An external hard drive backup is always there and running with your data usually just a click away.

External Hard Drive Backup - What Size Do I Need?

The short answer is, "it depends". You really need to ask yourself what type of backup you want to perform. Do you want to backup your entire system or do you just want to ensure your most important files are kept safe? Do you have a lot of music, movies, and pictures stored on your computer? For some, a complete system backup is important, but I have found the majority of home users are strictly concerned with the most important data files. The benefits of a full system backup are that if your hard drive crashes, you could perform a system restore from your backup and be up and running again with minimal downtime. The downside is this requires a larger external hard drive and the time it takes to backup your data will be longer. Backing up your most important files on the other hand, also know as a partial backup, will require a smaller external hard drive and your backups will not take long at all. If you keep your files well organized, you could even do this manually as opposed to automatically which will in turn free up system resources for other tasks. The downside to partial backups is if your hard drive does crash, you need to reinstall your operating system and all of your applications before you are able to restore your data. So as a general rule of thumb, if you are looking to do full system backups, an external hard drive that is 2-4x the size of your internal drive is recommended. For partial backups, you could get by with a drive the same size as your system, or even smaller depending on your particular files. External hard drive backups are so inexpensive these days, it really does not make sense to skimp out though.


Take a look at this Western Digital 2TB USB External Hard Drive at Amazon. As of this writing, this drive cost right around $105. The same drive in the 1TB size is $70. So for an extra thirty five bucks, you are getting double the size. Looks like a no brainer to me. The items listed to the right will have up to date prices from Amazon in case they change after this writing.

LaCie 1TB USB2.0 External Hard dRive
LaCie 1TB USB2.0 External Hard dRive

External Hard Drive Backups - USB or FireWire?

There was a time when FireWire(IEEE1394) was the best option for an external hard drive.  With the advances in USB technology though, this is no longer the case.  There is no need to list all the throughputs for data transfer here, but here is an ordered list of which connection will give you the best transfer rate:

  1. USB 3.0
  2. FireWire 800
  3. USB 2.0
  4. FireWire 400
  5. USB 1.0

USB 3.0 is the latest technology and provides the fastest transfer rates.  However, to take advantage of this, you need to make sure the USB port on your computer is also USB 3.0.  If your USB port is a USB 2.0, then your external hard drive will operate at the speed of USB 2.0.  Make sense?  There is a newer version of FireWire in the works, but as of this writing, I do not believe it is available yet.

External Hard Drive Backups - Other Benefits

As I mentioned earlier, not being dependent on wireless or internet connection and speed are two of the biggest benefits of using an external hard drive for backups.  In addition, they are also extremely easy to setup.  On both Macintosh and Windows computers, you simply plug it in and it will show up as a drive without having to install any additional software.  Each drive does however usually come packaged with some sort of backup software if you wish to use that instead of the built in functionality of your operating system.  Another benefit of using an external hard drive is you can unplug it and take it with you.  There are even portable versions available for people that need to do this frequently.  They are a little bit more pricey than the standard desktop model though since they are a physically smaller drive.  For extremely sensitive data though, you can keep one off site in a safety deposit box for example to really keep your data safe. 

You need an external hard drive today!

If you currently are not backing up your important data, you are taking a huge risk.  Hard disk drives having moving parts inside of them (unless you are using an SSD) and these parts will eventually wear down or break.  I have seen it too many times where people become too dependent on their computers but do not take the time to setup a proper backup procedure.  Trust me, the first time you lose your data you will be kicking yourself in the pants for not having a backup plan.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)