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Thread: Using external HD full-time

  1. #1
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    Using external HD full-time

    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering, can I use an external HD full-time just as an internal one or would I run the risk of overheating it or wearing it down from overuse?

    My laptop's screen is broken so it will be away for a few weeks for repairs. I can borrow a friend's company laptop but the problem is I (of course) can't use the OS.

    It doesn't have a cd or dvd drive so I installed Ubuntu on my external HD and I'm running it on his laptop, I have to say it's working great but I am a little worried about my HD since it running all the time.
    I normally use it for backups so all my files or on this thing.

    Anyway what are the risks (if any) of my disk crashing. Should I start burning DVD's just in case?

    I have this HD from Western Digital, which makes pretty good HD's as I understand.
    http://www.westerndigital.com/en/pro...sp?DriveID=329

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebuntor View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering, can I use an external HD full-time just as an internal one or would I run the risk of overheating it or wearing it down from overuse?

    My laptop's screen is broken so it will be away for a few weeks for repairs. I can borrow a friend's company laptop but the problem is I (of course) can't use the OS.

    It doesn't have a cd or dvd drive so I installed Ubuntu on my external HD and I'm running it on his laptop, I have to say it's working great but I am a little worried about my HD since it running all the time.
    I normally use it for backups so all my files or on this thing.

    Anyway what are the risks (if any) of my disk crashing. Should I start burning DVD's just in case?

    I have this HD from Western Digital, which makes pretty good HD's as I understand.
    http://www.westerndigital.com/en/pro...sp?DriveID=329
    Looks like it would probably be fine, but dont use it too intensively. Eg, 10 copies of gimp and 5 copies of open office XD you know what i mean
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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    Quote Originally Posted by Arkaniad View Post
    Looks like it would probably be fine, but dont use it too intensively. Eg, 10 copies of gimp and 5 copies of open office XD you know what i mean
    Yeah ok, but running apps like those would be more memory intensive rather than needing to do a lot of reading and writing to the HD.

    I understand that for example non-stop downloading GB's and moving lot's of files isn't a good idea but even as I'm typing this my HD is still constantly running and periodically stopping for a few seconds while my browser is the only app actively running.

    That's what I am worried about.

    EDIT: Looks like you're new here, welcome to the forums!

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    The hard drive inside your external enclosure is probably just a normal drive, like one that you would put inside a desktop computer, so it shouldn't be a problem. I'd be more worried about wearing out the enclosure...I've never regularly used an external, so I don't know how flimsy they are. You might wear out the connector by plugging it in and taking it out a lot, and I don't know how reliable the chip in the enclosure is either.

    I mean, I work on external drives quite often (at college; a lot of students have them), and I get a lot of enclosures that just stopped working; I can't say if it's just cheap parts or if most enclosures are like that. I haven't noticed a trend of it being the same group of brands that keep failing, either. But I don't think that's a huge concern. If your enclosure dies on you, you can always buy a new one and move the hard drive to it.

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    I've done it before too and I think it should be fine becausse the hard disks in those things are basically just ordinary ide or SATA drives
    If it Ain't broke, break it and then fix it.

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    Quote Originally Posted by maniacmusician View Post
    I'd be more worried about wearing out the enclosure...I've never regularly used an external, so I don't know how flimsy they are. You might wear out the connector by plugging it in and taking it out a lot, and I don't know how reliable the chip in the enclosure is either.

    I mean, I work on external drives quite often (at college; a lot of students have them), and I get a lot of enclosures that just stopped working; I can't say if it's just cheap parts or if most enclosures are like that. I haven't noticed a trend of it being the same group of brands that keep failing, either. But I don't think that's a huge concern. If your enclosure dies on you, you can always buy a new one and move the hard drive to it.
    Forgive my ignorance but what do you mean by "enclosure" in this case? The actual casing of the whole drive or the internal parts which "surround" the disk itself?

    The casing seems very sturdy and the connector seems of a lot better quality than I have seen on similar devices.

    Thanks for the info though, I'll be careful.

    Quote Originally Posted by metalpancake View Post
    I've done it before too and I think it should be fine becausse the hard disks in those things are basically just ordinary ide or SATA drives
    Really? I had no idea, since it can be so easily mounted via a simply usb connection I always assumed external disks were some special tech.

    Thanks to both of you for putting my mind at ease.

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    have you seen those enclosures you can buy? You just put an ordinary HDD into it and it will waork as an ext hard disk.
    If it Ain't broke, break it and then fix it.

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebuntor View Post
    Forgive my ignorance but what do you mean by "enclosure" in this case? The actual casing of the whole drive or the internal parts which "surround" the disk itself?

    The casing seems very sturdy and the connector seems of a lot better quality than I have seen on similar devices.

    Thanks for the info though, I'll be careful.
    The term "enclosure" refers to everything except for the actual hard drive itself. This means the case, the chip inside that converts IDE to SATA or USB, the cable, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebuntor View Post
    Really? I had no idea, since it can be so easily mounted via a simply usb connection I always assumed external disks were some special tech.
    An external enclosure consists of a normal hard drive (or in this day and age, possibly a laptop hard drive or an SSD, mostly to cut down on size), a chip to convert the connection of the hard drive (IDE, SATA) to the protocol you're using to connect it to the computer (USB, Firewire, eSATA), a cable to connect to the hard drive, and screw mounts to secure the hard drive. Some external enclosure even have multiple connection ports on the outside so that you can use it with USB, FIrewire, and eSATA, depending on what kind of ports your computer has available.

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    Quote Originally Posted by maniacmusician View Post
    The term "enclosure" refers to everything except for the actual hard drive itself. This means the case, the chip inside that converts IDE to SATA or USB, the cable, etc.



    An external enclosure consists of a normal hard drive (or in this day and age, possibly a laptop hard drive or an SSD, mostly to cut down on size), a chip to convert the connection of the hard drive (IDE, SATA) to the protocol you're using to connect it to the computer (USB, Firewire, eSATA), a cable to connect to the hard drive, and screw mounts to secure the hard drive. Some external enclosure even have multiple connection ports on the outside so that you can use it with USB, FIrewire, and eSATA, depending on what kind of ports your computer has available.
    I see, very interesting, thanks for explaining.

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    Re: Using external HD full-time

    I run Ubuntu on a Maxtor Personal Basics 3200 320GB hard drive. I haven't had any problems yet. I would say if you want to run it full time on it, it would be the best for it since it cost me only $100.
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