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External Hard Drive advice please?

763 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  PC_TECH2014
Hi, just signed up to TSG so here's my first question from a not very tech minded member so please be gentle? 馃檪

Ok so, we've had desktops and laptops for years but naively have never backed up our pics or other docs to any other storage devices other than the odd USB stick for a particular reason such as a presentation etc. Recently we have had two major scares with a Windows laptop and MacBook Pro both failing and nearly losing everything.
We have a bit of Cloud storage, some offered as part of our broadband package (never used) and also there's iCloud. My wife has recently also started her own business and so we feel we need to get more savvy to secure both personal and business storage.

My question(s) are what type of External Hard Drive should we go for - HDD or SSD? Reliability, the ability to handle both formats and then speed are probably the three main priorities for us. Can one portable Hard Drive cope with two Windows 10 laptops and a MacBook Pro? If so any recommendations please and how would I even begin to go about making it happen? Formatting, partitioning? If so how do I do it? Or is it safest to get a hard drive for each Laptop/Macbook?

If it helps, our main usage is storing images/video, presentations, written documents and music. We're not gamers.

Sorry if I sound totally thick! Thanks for any help/advice you can give.

Regards.
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I use a SSD for Windows & all my photos & programs. Boot is extremely fast compared to HDD.
If you鈥檙e just going for storage then a HDD is enough.
You鈥檇 have to ensure the HDD can be read on both Windows & Mac by formatting the drive as exFAT
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I prefer mechanical hard drives for backups but something to consider, all means of backup use hardware that is expendable. No matter what, it all wears out and fails eventually.

So, checking storage health over time is a good policy.

And using more than one backup for important data is wise.
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It depends if you want storage or speed if you want speed get a SSD if you want more storage get a HDD
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I agree with John. If you are only using for backup and not actively using the files, a HDD would be a cost-effective option. You may want to consider a Network Attached Storage to allow any machine to connect to. Some have options for RAID so if a drive fails, the others are backed up and the failed drive can be replaced.
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I agree with John. If you are only using for backup and not actively using the files, a HDD would be a cost-effective option. You may want to consider a Network Attached Storage to allow any machine to connect to. Some have options for RAID so if a drive fails, the others are backed up and the failed drive can be replaced.
Thanks James and to all the previous contributors, sounds like a a HDD should do the job then. Network Attached Storage sounds a bit tech for me and I've no idea what RAID is, but sounds amazing :).
Seriously thanks all as was about to spend more money than I needed to, by the sound of it. (y)
I use a SSD for Windows & all my photos & programs. Boot is extremely fast compared to HDD.
If you're just going for storage then a HDD is enough.
You'd have to ensure the HDD can be read on both Windows & Mac by formatting the drive as exFAT
Thank you for the advice, I think HD
I prefer mechanical hard drives for backups but something to consider, all means of backup use hardware that is expendable. No matter what, it all wears out and fails eventually.

So, checking storage health over time is a good policy.

And using more than one backup for important data is wise.
Thanks for the useful advice, HDD it is I reckon.
(y)
This article explains why you need to format the drive to use the exFAT file-system so you can use it for Windows and Mac at the same time :- https://www.anysoftwaretools.com/format-usb-for-os-compatibility/
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I would have 2 hard drives one for Windows and one for Mac. The Mac will run Time Machine which is pretty bullet proof. For windows I would not use the inbuilt Windows backup. I have seen too many failures with the Windows one. As stated either type of drive will do Just make sure you replace them regularly.
I have had brand new drives die within six months so healh checks are a must. So if it is important to you I would look at a NAS drive.
Plenty of people here can help you set it up it is not as hard as it sounds basically follow the bouncing ball.
The advantage of at least a 4 drive NAS as James pointed out the data is spread among the 4 drives so if one drive dies then there is enough data on the other drives to rebuild the dead drive. Cost wise a 2 bay drive would work but you are talking about data you can't afford to loose. The money spent now doing it right is a lot cheaper then spending money later on data recovery. Data recovery companies are really a hit and miss it can cost BIG money and still no result.
Cheers
Peteroz
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I would have 2 hard drives one for Windows and one for Mac. The Mac will run Time Machine which is pretty bullet proof. For windows I would not use the inbuilt Windows backup. I have seen too many failures with the Windows one. As stated either type of drive will do Just make sure you replace them regularly.
I have had brand new drives die within six months so healh checks are a must. So if it is important to you I would look at a NAS drive.
Plenty of people here can help you set it up it is not as hard as it sounds basically follow the bouncing ball.
The advantage of at least a 4 drive NAS as James pointed out the data is spread among the 4 drives so if one drive dies then there is enough data on the other drives to rebuild the dead drive. Cost wise a 2 bay drive would work but you are talking about data you can't afford to loose. The money spent now doing it right is a lot cheaper then spending money later on data recovery. Data recovery companies are really a hit and miss it can cost BIG money and still no result.
Cheers
Peteroz
Wow thanks Peteroz, loads to think about! A little daunted but really appreciate the advice and so glad I stumbled across this site. Regards
This article explains why you need to format the drive to use the exFAT file-system so you can use it for Windows and Mac at the same time :- https://www.anysoftwaretools.com/format-usb-for-os-compatibility/
Fab many thanks, idiots guides are perfect for me!
We have a bit of Cloud storage, some offered as part of our broadband package (never used) and also there's iCloud. My wife has recently also started her own business and so we feel we need to get more savvy to secure both personal and business storage.
Not trying to overwhelm you and I am not one to think the government is out to get everyone but hackers are.
from this site Encrypt cloud data
Most cloud storage and cloud backup providers like Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and Microsoft OneDrive offer some level of encryption-essentially scrambling the contents of files you've uploaded. Unscrambling them requires the encryption key. Most cloud storage providers hold the encryption key on behalf of the user, which requires him or her to blindly trust that the company won't abuse access to your files, lose the key to hackers, or give it to snooping government authorities
PCloud has a special price for lifetime for 2TB for $350.00
There are other choices for you to decide such as gmail, Acronis etc.
Just giving my two cents here:

If you want reliable and stable backups for macOS, getting an external HDD and setting it up with Time Machine is your best bet. Have never had any issues with Time Machine myself, although I haven't used my old Mac much for the past several years.

When it comes to Windows backups though, the default backup utility isn't as reliable as Time Machine is for Macs in my experience. If you have equally sensitive or important data on both the Mac and the PC systems, I would go with a drive cloning software that is free and open source, given the makers of the software permit its use in small business settings.

In terms of specific software recommendations, I would look into Clonezilla. There is a tutorial on how to use Clonezilla on youtube. The best thing about this software is that it's free, both in terms of money and what the developer allows you to do with it. If you need some more friendly and easier-to-use options I can look up some information for those as well, but you'll be much more likely to pay money for those options. So that is something to keep in mind.
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I would try Macrium free.
If you have a lot of data get a personal cloud such as this one which is also Time Machine compatible
WD - My Cloud Home 3TB Personal Cloud

Model
:WDBVXC0030HWT-NESN $159.99

Best Buy SKU:5990202
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