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 Purchasing External Hard Drive
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donna
Working Member

25 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2005 :  12:13:56  Show Profile
Because I have found that the video clips I save from my digital camcorder take up a tremendous amount of space on my computer hard drive, I plan to buy a 200 GB external hard drive unit in order to save my video clips to that unit.
I noticed that some units have an on/off switch. Is there an advantage to this?
Also, should this external hard drive normally be left connected to the USB port on the computer and into the AC power outlet. Or should it be disconnected completely when not in use?
Any opinions on manufacturers? Are there other features I should be aware of?
Donna

Win XP Home SP-2
1.70GHz Intel Pentium M 1GB RAM 100GB HD

D.Oliver
Moderator

868 Posts

Posted - 10/04/2005 :  22:05:58  Show Profile
Hi, Donna.

I don't know it all, but here's my $0.02 worth.

Any USB device can be "hot swapped." That is, they can be plugged in, and unplugged, while the computer is on and running. I would suppose that, in the interest of saving power I would disconnect it and unplug it when you're through using it. An on/off switch will keep you from having to physically unplug the unit after each use, if that sounds like a feature you would like to have.

As far as manufacturers go, I would look to one with a good warranty if you can find one. Some prominent names I think of are IBM, SEAGATE, MAXTOR, FUJITSU (Who?!). As far as I know, any of these should be fine. I haven't been hard drive shopping recently so anyone that wants can jump right into this conversation.

Reliability is the key here also, since if this big drive with all those personal pictures/movies on it goes up in smoke I hope you've thought about some type of backup plan (Maybe save like-picture groups to CD's or DVD's?).

Also, if storage is your primary objective you won't necessarily need the fastest technology on the shelf - speed costs money. Instead, consentrate on, and compare, the various manufacturers MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) time. Longer is better.

Another thought is a series of smaller (100GB?) hard drives can be plugged together. Run a USB cable from your computer to a USB Hub. They usually have 4 ports or so. Then plug in 4 hard drives. Of course you now have a power hungry beast, but you might use 2 drives as backup for the other 2 (assuming the best situation - 4 hard drives).

Hope this helps rather than confuse.

David
old, slow, and confused - but at least I'm inconsistent!
XP-Hm(SP-2) Athlon .5GBRam 160GB Networked 2-Way Satellite
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donna
Working Member

25 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2005 :  13:15:50  Show Profile
I purchased a 200GB Maxtor external hard drive.
I connected it to my computer and it is working properly.

Question 1: Information I read on the Internet about external hard drives suggested formatting the external drive from FAT32 to NTFS. What does that mean, and is it something that would apply for my use?

Question 2: Should I 'partition' the external drive? If I need to do that, I'll have to do some research on what that means and how and why I would do it.

Donna

Win XP Home SP-2
1.70GHz Intel Pentium M 1GB RAM
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D.Oliver
Moderator

868 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2005 :  22:08:33  Show Profile
Hello Donna,

Congratulations on your new hard drive acquisition.

I do not want to confuse you here. I recommend NTFS, but read on.
FAT32 and NTFS are both technical jargon designating the format a hard drive uses to structure the different sectors and tracks of the physical drive. Fat32 goes back to the last version of Windows 95 (Win95C to be exact) and runs on all later versions of Windows except Windows NT.

The NTFS format supposedly gives you a wee bit better hard drive security features and can store data a wee bit better (tighter) than a hard drive formatted using FAT32. Be advised that a Windows 98/ME machine cannot read a NTFS formatted hard drive, BUT a WindowsXP machine using NTFS can read a FAT32 hard drive. This is the meaning of backward compatability in this case. This means that any file transfers between the Win98/ME and earlier machines and WinXP machines using NTFS (if the hard drives are formatted using NTFS) must be initiated by the WinXP machines.

<whew> Try this: Format it using NTFS. Here's how. If it is not already formatted, just choose NTFS formatting if the hard drive initialization program asks which one you want.

If it is already formatted using FAT32, Click START>RUN and type "convert X: /fs:ntfs" (where X is the drive letter - don't type the quotes) and press ENTER. WindowsXP will format that drive to NTFS.

If you have it formatted using FAT32 already and are confused, remeber, you can always format it using NTFS at a later date, but once formatted to NTFS it is harder to format it back to FAT32 without a program such as "Partition Magic."

Keep us posted.


David
old, slow, and confused - but at least I'm inconsistent!
XP-Hm(SP-2) Athlon .5GBRam 160GB Networked 2-Way Satellite
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donna
Working Member

25 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2005 :  23:01:09  Show Profile
Thanks, David, for clarifying the FAT32 vs NTFS issue. I think I have an understanding of what you conveyed.
I currently have the external drive connected to my WinXP and could opt for FAT32 or NTFS; however, since I have Win98 on two of my other computers(not Win98/ME which you specifically noted cannot read NTFS), I will choose FAT32 so that I have the definite ability to move files easily to or from my Windows 98 computers.
The information about Win98 and NTFS incompatability was definitely useful.
Donna

Win XP Home SP-2
1.70GHz Intel Pentium M 1GB RAM
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D.Oliver
Moderator

868 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2005 :  23:38:13  Show Profile
Glad it helped you.

Thanks for the feedback. It's most appreciated.

David
old, slow, and confused - but at least I'm inconsistent!
XP-Hm(SP-2) Athlon .5GBRam 160GB Networked 2-Way Satellite
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