August 1, 2008
Dear CNET members,
Happy Friday everyone! This week's topic is external hard drives and how to use them to back up your data. Before I start, I'd like to point out a few things about this topic. While Ben's questions do ask for recommendations on what external hard-drive brands are reliable and durable, it's almost a moot point to say one brand is better than another, because everyone will have an opinion on their favorites. And we could probably go in circles trying to debate what company has a better hard drive. So, for those of you seeking a brand-name external drive, read what has worked for our members and keep those thoughts in mind, stick with a well-known brand, and run with it. The second point I have to share (which is mentioned in many of our members' answers) is if you are planning on using an external hard drive to back up your important data, you better darn well have another backup of that backup--meaning do not trust your data on your external hard drive to be foolproof, because hard drives can and will fail. And if your only backup fails, you will be miserable! I cannot express this enough. Here is a post by member and forum moderator MarkFlax, on why external hard drives aren't the best backup.
In this week's topic of discussion, a lot of ground is covered by our member answers to Ben's questions--the answers range from brand recommendations and the methods folks use to back up their own data to many great software recommendations to synch up your data for backing up. For instance, member kknudson posts his advice on having a backup plan in place, whereas member rlessmue advises on the simple balance of life regarding storage volume. These are only a few samples of what has been brought to the table. All in all, with this information at hand from our member contributions, it's a great starting point to get a glimpse of what external hard drives are available and what are some available solutions to back up your data. So pull up a comfy chair, and digest and discuss this with your fellow members. I've picked out a few great answers in the Q&A section to get you started, but if you have additional experience or advice to share, bring it on! Thanks everyone for your awesome contributions. Have a great weekend! And don't forget to play it safe and back up your data if you haven't already!
Member Question of the Week
I'd like to get an external hard drive to use for backup of
files and maybe as a main access point for music and photos.
I'm not sure what brands are best or what vendor I should
purchase from. I want at least 300GB but probably more. The
drive should be easily connected and detached, and synching
between the drives for backing up data should be simple (I
don't want to manually search all folders in a directory to
figure out which ones have been updated since last backup).
I'm more concerned with reliability and durability than with
getting the lowest price, as I will be counting on the drive
for file backup. What are some members' recommendations? Is
it a bad idea to use a backup drive for regular access to
music and photos? I play music on my PC a lot and don't want
to wear out my primary drive. Using a Dell Dimension 5150
with Windows XP. Thanks!!
Just some member contributions to get you started, but please read through the all answers!
External Hard drives are important: choose carefully
--Submitted by: newscientist_Au
Have a back up plan
--Submitted by: kknudson
Simple "balance" of life regarding
--Submitted by: rlessmue
Read all member contributions
Thanks to all who contributed!
Previous week's Q&A
I have been noticing a lot of people attaching their PC to
their television now. Most people that I know are only using
it as a monitor for their computer, but I know the technology
is farther along than that. Having all my media on the hard
drive seems like a great way to clear the shelves of the
tacky CD & DVD cases, as well as a way to easily access media
files. I would like to know how far along it is. Is using my
PC as a component to my media center a viable option? Is it
really expensive? What are some of the things that I'm not
even aware of? Any info you can provide would be greatly
Thanks to all who contributed!
Each week we take a look at topics discussed in the forums.
Have fun and enjoy!
More from the forums
Check out next week's question:
Can anyone please explain, in plain English and step-by-step instructions, how to speed up a slow computer? In previous newsletters answers that cover this topic are very confusing. The posted answers say don't use register cleaners, de-fragging won't speed it up, and the most confusing one is, update the drivers! How does a person update the drivers and what exactly is a driver? The answer of "going to a manufacture's Web site to update a driver" is meaningless to me, cause don't know what I am to update or how I find the drivers installed on the computer. All I want is a simple list of methods (step-by-step instructions) for any nontechnical person like myself, to follow and understand in order to speed up my computer and also what routine and steps to take thereafter to keep my computer in good running state. Using a Dell desktop with Windows XP SP2. Thanks for the opportunity to ask a question.
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