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  • FIRST POST
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 10:12 AM
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    meer53
    Buying an external hard drive
    • #1
    • 17th Apr 18, 10:12 AM
    Buying an external hard drive 17th Apr 18 at 10:12 AM
    Hi, we have been advised to buy an external hard drive for my daughters laptop to improve storage and performance, she's off to Uni in September and don't really want to buy a brand new laptop. Can anyone recommend which one to buy ? I have no idea but have looked at some 1tb Seagate ones which have mixed reviews. We need one that is idiot proof ! Recommendations welcomed I don't want to go to Currys or somewhere and be sold the one that they have most of !
Page 1
    • psychic teabag
    • By psychic teabag 17th Apr 18, 10:33 AM
    • 2,711 Posts
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    psychic teabag
    • #2
    • 17th Apr 18, 10:33 AM
    • #2
    • 17th Apr 18, 10:33 AM
    Hmm... laptops are good for portability - hanging a disk off the side is going to seriously impair that. Excellent for backup, but ...

    Plus if you're going for a mechanical drive, I'd be wary of it getting banged about while on the move.

    What model of laptop is it, what performance problems are you trying to solve, and who advised you to get an external drive ? The usual advice for increasing performance is to replace mechanical drive with solid-state drive (but those tend to be smaller than mechanical drives - but if you are upgrading an old laptop, I guess a new SSD disk might be of comparable size).

    I have a couple of samsung M3 devices and have had no problem with them. One is attached to an rpi media centre and has been in constant use for - gosh, almost 4 years now.
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 11:00 AM
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    meer53
    • #3
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:00 AM
    • #3
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:00 AM
    Hmm... laptops are good for portability - hanging a disk off the side is going to seriously impair that. Excellent for backup, but ...

    Plus if you're going for a mechanical drive, I'd be wary of it getting banged about while on the move.

    What model of laptop is it, what performance problems are you trying to solve, and who advised you to get an external drive ? The usual advice for increasing performance is to replace mechanical drive with solid-state drive (but those tend to be smaller than mechanical drives - but if you are upgrading an old laptop, I guess a new SSD disk might be of comparable size).

    I have a couple of samsung M3 devices and have had no problem with them. One is attached to an rpi media centre and has been in constant use for - gosh, almost 4 years now.
    Originally posted by psychic teabag
    It's an HP Pavilion2, it's about 2 years old, it's running quite slow and an independant repairer advised her to install Malwarebytes but she doesnt have enough space to do this, she has 2 years worth of college work stored on it. I don't think the size of the drive will bother her, it can go in the bag she uses. We had an issue this week where the laptop told her she was logged on as a temporary user and that her files may be deleted, i think it was from a Windows 10 update reminder. After shutting down and restarting her files reappeared but she would feel more confident if they were backed up somewhere else and the repairman said an external drive would help it run faster ?
    • cajef
    • By cajef 17th Apr 18, 11:12 AM
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    cajef
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:12 AM
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:12 AM
    I have had a Seagate 500GB external hard drive powered by the USB connection to the computer (no external power supply) for several years and never had any problems with it.
    I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
    • agrinnall
    • By agrinnall 17th Apr 18, 11:40 AM
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    agrinnall
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:40 AM
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:40 AM
    If your budget runs to an SSD then that's the best option, but won't be cheap. For external hard drives the last 3 that I have bough have been Transcend Storejet ones because they have some additional shock protection that might save the data if it's dropped or jarred - I did this after losing everything on another less-protected drive.
    • grumpycrab
    • By grumpycrab 17th Apr 18, 11:49 AM
    • 3,696 Posts
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    grumpycrab
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:49 AM
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 18, 11:49 AM
    It's an HP Pavilion2, it's about 2 years old, it's running quite slow
    Originally posted by meer53
    Your options are limited; how much "disk" space has the HP? I'm guessing 64GB - it may be worth clean installing (backups docs and software licenses first!). As far as using an external hard drive, this won't make the HP any quicker unless it currently is full up. If you type "pc" in Cortana/search tell us what it says for Local Disk(C e.g. 2GB free of 64GB
    If you put your general location in your Profile, somebody here may be able to come and help you.
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 12:05 PM
    • 9,285 Posts
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    meer53
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:05 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:05 PM
    Your options are limited; how much "disk" space has the HP? I'm guessing 64GB - it may be worth clean installing (backups docs and software licenses first!). As far as using an external hard drive, this won't make the HP any quicker unless it currently is full up. If you type "pc" in Cortana/search tell us what it says for Local Disk(C e.g. 2GB free of 64GB
    Originally posted by grumpycrab
    I'm not very good with stuff like this but on C drive it shows 28.8 gb used out of 29.1 gb so i assume it's pretty full !
    • grumpycrab
    • By grumpycrab 17th Apr 18, 12:11 PM
    • 3,696 Posts
    • 1,781 Thanks
    grumpycrab
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:11 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:11 PM
    I'm not very good with stuff like this but on C drive it shows 28.8 gb used out of 29.1 gb so i assume it's pretty full !
    Originally posted by meer53
    Oh dear, only 32GB. The technical phrase is "you're stuffed". Buy her a decent bit of kit, don't spend any more money on the HP. Somebody may know tricks to get around this limit.
    e.g.
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2017/jan/05/what-is-the-best-way-to-deal-with-windows-10-updates-on-a-32gb-netbook
    If you put your general location in your Profile, somebody here may be able to come and help you.
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 12:21 PM
    • 9,285 Posts
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    meer53
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:21 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:21 PM
    Oh dear, only 32GB. The technical phrase is "you're stuffed". Buy her a decent bit of kit, don't spend any more money on the HP. Somebody may know tricks to get around this limit.
    e.g.
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2017/jan/05/what-is-the-best-way-to-deal-with-windows-10-updates-on-a-32gb-netbook
    Originally posted by grumpycrab
    Thank you x can't afford a new laptop at the moment so might buy an external hard drive for now.
    • ChuckMountain
    • By ChuckMountain 17th Apr 18, 12:37 PM
    • 177 Posts
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    ChuckMountain
    Yep its full and at only a 32GB its already like to be a SSD so a mechanical external disk is not likely to help speed things up.

    That type of laptop\netbook is always going to be relatively slow so perhaps think about an upgrade.

    However if you are sticking with that laptop then think about how much space it needs going forward. She has lived with 32GB for a duration how much do you need? What is the course is it more about essays etc. which take up little space or does it require editing\storage of videos which require lots of space (and probably a laptop upgrade).

    Depending on the answer to the question I would probably go for something like a flash drive that is only just bigger than the port. You leave it permanently in the machine and less risk of damage etc and much more convenient than a 2.5" hard drive.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SanDisk-Ultra-Fit-Flash-Drive/dp/B01BGTG3JA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523964319&sr=8-3&keywords=small+usb+drive

    This would give you twice the current storage and in reality with Windows taking a lot of space anyway, more than that.

    I am surprised that the independent did not offer something like and to move some of the data off on to this. Having the main drive full on a PC is a bad idea because it can cause slow down. However just adding external storage does not solve you need to then move stuff to free up space.

    This still does not present a proper backup solution in my opinion. If you daughters bag was to get stolen it may well have laptop and external drive (of whatever sort) in it. All work gone ...

    Look at a cloud based backup (the uni might have one) that you can sync the important docs to and recover should the laptop ever be nicked\damaged\virus attacked.
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 12:47 PM
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    meer53
    Yep its full and at only a 32GB its already like to be a SSD so a mechanical external disk is not likely to help speed things up.

    That type of laptop\netbook is always going to be relatively slow so perhaps think about an upgrade.

    However if you are sticking with that laptop then think about how much space it needs going forward. She has lived with 32GB for a duration how much do you need? What is the course is it more about essays etc. which take up little space or does it require editing\storage of videos which require lots of space (and probably a laptop upgrade).

    Depending on the answer to the question I would probably go for something like a flash drive that is only just bigger than the port. You leave it permanently in the machine and less risk of damage etc and much more convenient than a 2.5" hard drive.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SanDisk-Ultra-Fit-Flash-Drive/dp/B01BGTG3JA/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523964319&sr=8-3&keywords=small+usb+drive

    This would give you twice the current storage and in reality with Windows taking a lot of space anyway, more than that.

    I am surprised that the independent did not offer something like and to move some of the data off on to this. Having the main drive full on a PC is a bad idea because it can cause slow down. However just adding external storage does not solve you need to then move stuff to free up space.

    This still does not present a proper backup solution in my opinion. If you daughters bag was to get stolen it may well have laptop and external drive (of whatever sort) in it. All work gone ...

    Look at a cloud based backup (the uni might have one) that you can sync the important docs to and recover should the laptop ever be nicked\damaged\virus attacked.
    Originally posted by ChuckMountain
    Thanks x
    She has now started to store work on OneDrive and her Uni work will all be text, no videos etc, maybe presentations occasionally (she's doing a teaching degree) I think i'll go for the external hard drive but get a professional to clean it up for now.

    I really appreciate everyones help xx
    • lammy82
    • By lammy82 17th Apr 18, 1:24 PM
    • 375 Posts
    • 356 Thanks
    lammy82
    Move everything onto OneDrive and use the OneDrive settings to only store the 'current' stuff on the laptop. Once you do this you might not need the external drive and the associated risk of future data loss.

    But if she does want more space available on the laptop, why not consider a small USB drive like this one, which is less likely to be dropped or lost.
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 1:27 PM
    • 9,285 Posts
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    meer53
    Move everything onto OneDrive and use the OneDrive settings to only store the 'current' stuff on the laptop. Once you do this you might not need the external drive and the associated risk of future data loss.

    But if she does want more space available on the laptop, why not consider a small USB drive like this one, which is less likely to be dropped or lost.
    Originally posted by lammy82
    Yeah, Chuckmountain recommended that one too, i'll definitely have a look at that x thanks x
    • ChuckMountain
    • By ChuckMountain 17th Apr 18, 1:28 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    ChuckMountain
    A couple more things:-

    Onedrive has a local copy of the data normally, so you can work offline when no Internet connection. So for arguments sake if you 1GB of documents on Onedrive, your local PC will have also have 1GB of data.

    In other words it doesn't free any space issue by default.

    I would go for one the smaller flash drives you can leave this in permanently no moving parts to break and no leads to lose. She does not need a 1TB drive that's overkill in this situation.
    • almillar
    • By almillar 17th Apr 18, 1:31 PM
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    almillar
    Yes - I was about to suggest a USB drive, or an SD or Micro SD card would be better, if she has a slot for those. USB drive would stick out unless you get a really slim one, and some SD card slots leave the card sticking out - you wouldn't want this permanently, so choose based on the best physical solution.
    Whatever you do, it should come up as, say, drive D:. You can move your 'User' folder(s) (all your daughters 'stuff' onto D:, and also tell OneDrive about it, then she'll be left with just the apps on the C: drive, and her data on D:. This is a much better solution than having a USB hard drive hanging off it. And remember to BACK UP!
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 4:07 PM
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    meer53
    Thank you all, i'm so pleased i posted on here before buying the external drive. I think i'm going to go for the flash drive option, i'm taking it to a local company tomorrow for them to clean it up or do whatever needs doing to sort it out ! It does have an SD slot so that might be an option too. She's managed 2 years at college with it so far so it will probably be ok with a spring clean and small external device just in case !

    I can't cope with another meltdown like Sunday night when it told her she was logged on as a temporary user and her files may be deleted, then shut down ! My technical knowledge is restricted to "switch it off and back on again"
    • psychic teabag
    • By psychic teabag 17th Apr 18, 4:34 PM
    • 2,711 Posts
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    psychic teabag
    I can't cope with another meltdown like Sunday night when it told her she was logged on as a temporary user and her files may be deleted, then shut down !
    Originally posted by meer53
    That should be sufficient incentive to keep good backups of important work ! If disaster does strike, it will be with zero notice. It's also important that you actually know how to restore the backed-up files.

    It might still be worth buying an external disk, but only for backups, rather than for continuous attachment. I'm not terribly trusting of flash or usb devices, since I've had them spontaneously corrupt more than once. But that might be due to repeated plugging and unplugging - if an sdcard remains plugged in all the time, it may be a bit more resiliant.
    • ChuckMountain
    • By ChuckMountain 17th Apr 18, 4:54 PM
    • 177 Posts
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    ChuckMountain
    That should be sufficient incentive to keep good backups of important work ! If disaster does strike, it will be with zero notice. It's also important that you actually know how to restore the backed-up files.
    Originally posted by psychic teabag
    This I completely agree with, imagine getting close to the end of your course only to lose all your data

    It might still be worth buying an external disk, but only for backups, rather than for continuous attachment. I'm not terribly trusting of flash or usb devices, since I've had them spontaneously corrupt more than once. But that might be due to repeated plugging and unplugging - if an sdcard remains plugged in all the time, it may be a bit more resiliant.
    Originally posted by psychic teabag
    This I somewhat disagree with, partly because it relies on manual connecting the external disk and running a backup. Not an automatic process that backs up potentially more frequently etc.

    USB drives that stick out a long way can be prone to snapping, but equally an external drive can be dropped and will often suffer damage.

    The reason I would not go SD card is that a lot of them are designed to slide into the laptop and then press again to eject. This can have the unfortunate effect of been pressed when working on the laptop especially if on your lap. This can then screw your data up...

    Here is a picture of a USB drive that myself and Lammy82 were talking about. As you can see it doesn't stick out much and has to be pulled out rather than accidentally ejected.
    • meer53
    • By meer53 17th Apr 18, 5:04 PM
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    meer53
    I've had a look at The SanDisk one, it seems like the best option so far. My daughters college have now encouraged them to use OneDrive so she's pretty au fait with that but like most other teenagers, it's always THE biggest disaster in the world at that moment ! Drama queen is an understatement.
    To be honest, i was worried too so need some reassurance it's not going to happen again !
    • ChuckMountain
    • By ChuckMountain 17th Apr 18, 5:34 PM
    • 177 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    ChuckMountain
    Yep with OneDrive you also normally get versioning so you if you accidentally delete the content of you essay and save the file you can still get the old one back.

    Even the 128GB is under 30 and they are quick too. Be wary of older stock at a local retailer as they might be more expensive and slower ...
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