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Re: USB hard drives -- recommendations?

On 1/25/19, Peter Ehlert <peter@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On 1/25/19 9:24 AM, James H. H. Lampert wrote:
>> Fellow List members:
>> Would anybody care to voice an opinion on USB external hard drives in
>> the 2 terabyte size range, for automated backup purposes?
>> We've been looking at the Seagate "Expansion" and the WD "Elements";
>> I've noticed that on Amazon, both have a fair number of negative
>> reviews citing reliability issues. (We recently discovered that our
>> current Seagate had apparently failed on us.)
>> Any opinions? Seagate? WD? Toshiba? Something else?
> I avoid USB drives, in preference to internal drives... speed and security.
> When I use them I am extremely careful, because they all seem to have a
> spinning disk inside, not shock resistant, and subject to early failure
> due to heat.
> I do have several, but they are not what I really Trust to keep precious
> data.
> a separate box that is out of harm is best, even a separate low end
> computer to act as a storage device.
> syncthing is my tool of choice to sync from my laptop to a desktop
> then LuckyBackup on a schedule to Copy the sync folder into a second
> Storage drive.

I've gone the (open, not enclosed) external hard drive route. It's
what I'm using right now. It's a ~4-year-old single bay dock that
handles one 3TB WD fine but mounts and unmounts ENDLESSLY when another
of the exact same make/model is inserted.

The other hard drive feels like it's "swaying" this dock so the hard
drive must keep unseating itself or something. It was my
Life-on-the-fly ah-ha moment about why some of these things are rated
for no more than 2TB. Must be all about the physics of the (totally
cool) momentum going on inside those hard drive cases....

Docks and similar are "hinky" at best. They have unreliable stability
regardless of the brand k/t one's environment's effect on that
external USB connection. In my case, it's a mix of my klutziness and
my dogs always clamoring around right next to me here as I type.

Brand-wise, I've used 3 hard drives mentioned here: HGST, Seagate, and
WD. All three have worked AMAZINGLY under the ongoing duress of
_extreme_ temperature _extremes_.

KNOCK ON WOOD, not one has ever had a hardware failure that was not
Human inflicted. ALL have been bottom dollar refurbished products.

Thanks to being a poverty level techie, my backup picks to date have
been about using a mix of docks and those $10 to $15 wired
contraptions that offer you the ability to dip back into your old PATA
hard drives. On a whim last year, I purchased one of those
contraptions for no reason. It became a $4.52 Lifesaver a few weeks

I was able to use that contraption to yank a *PATA* hard drive from an
approximate 2002 Hewlett Packard laptop, install some Puppy Linux
friendly files, and get back to accessing the Net via (GACK!)
hsfmodem. Until that moment, "that other operating system" had been my
modem provider for years, but it finally met the match of someone able
to crack/hack into it and bring it to its knees.

All Linux now, baby, specifically thanks to that $4.52 spent on one of
the flakiest backup options possibly available

 BUT on the flipside, I have a heartbreaking, Life changing data loss
story related to that same kind of contraption six years ago. Moral of
the story for the archives: ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES, not daily use, but
it doesn't hurt to have one or two laying around just because they're
that cheap. Oh, and they DO actually work. :)

Turns out the contraption I bought is deemed a/an "HDD cable
converter". I call it girl's best friend forever:


That was bought while researching going the server route. I don't
fully understand RAID (yet?), but I do keep hearing about problems
with users losing data when something inevitably crashes.

Those same data losses occur regularly with USB connections. I
mitigate by consciously, regularly unmounting then remounting
partitions like my massive photography backups after new data has been
included. May be a false sense of security, but I haven't noticed any
important data loss ever since pursuing that route toward data

A server type setup could be better (less flakily) hardwired than USB.
That's my interest in it. Prices are *almost* attainable at literally
abject poverty level so surely they're accessible to anyone anywhere
outside that demographic.

Even if a final server choice's hardwire connector is something not
available on a favored laptop or "pad" whoosie-what's-it, there seems
to be no end to the type of 99 cent adapters available to work around
that setback. That CHOICE can open up its own can of worms with
respect to flaky connections that inevitably lead to data loss, but
anyway..... :)

PS I was just looking at that converter listing one more time before
sending this off. $4.52 a while back, and there they claim "No limit
on hard drive capacity".

That's going to at least in part be about that sway that I mentioned
above. With those contraptions, my own hard drives were always laying
flat down on some kind of flat surface. That takes a big byte out of a
hard drive's ability/lack of ability to "sway".

PPS That suddenly reminded me that one feature I find irreplaceable is
when whatever product is chosen uses the computer to provide the power
source instead of the item having to be yet another plug in a surge
protector somewhere.

Occasionally that means having to have two open USB ports instead of
one. I'm all game for that, but... then... that... means... having to
come up with an additional USB hub to cover that... and... have mercy.
*makes my head hurt right about now*

Cindy :)
Cindy-Sue Causey
Talking Rock, Pickens County, Georgia, USA

* runs with birdseed *