News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Which External hard drive?

    Posted on CWBillow Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions: What hardware should I get? Which External hard drive?

    Topic Resolution: Resolved

    Tagged: ,

    Viewing 7 reply threads
    • Author
      • #2001401 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’m looking for an external hard drive of at least 5TB.  I keep reading the reports, and everyone likes one or the other, and everyone hates one or the other.


        Chuck Billow

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2001412 Reply
        Da Boss

        Have you started by reading the existing topics on the subject?

        1) External Hard Drive Options
        2) External Hard Drive

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2001419 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        You know, something that might be important?

        What purpose would the external drive be for?

        Portable as in, be carried around, possibly even operated from a laptop on battery? Ruggedness requirements?
        Stationary with performance?
        Stationary with reliability?

        Connectivity requirements – traditional USB, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, wireless, Firewire, …?

        Rough budget category?

        Heh. I was just checking about LaCie 2big… pricey, have to like the concept of mirrored external drive, Murphy will probably sooner or later strike with the management tools required to work with the mirroring. Though I do note that they at least do offer source code for the RAID manager tool.

        A Qnap TR-002 at least is supposed to have physical switches to set it to RAID1 (mirror) mode …

      • #2001705 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        After reading existing commentary, I think Western Digital is the right pick.


        Thanks all.

        Chuck Billow

      • #2002122 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        At that size I would be considering a Network Attached Storage device.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2002316 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        After reading existing commentary, I think Western Digital is the right pick

        +1. I have a 8TB external WD Elements attached to a laptop which is on reading/writing 24/7 .

      • #2002574 Reply


        One thing to watch out for: encryption built into the USB-to-SATA adapter (every external USB drive has a built-in USB-to-SATA adapter). If the USB-to-SATA adapter goes bad, and if you did not first disable the built-in encryption, you will no longer be able to access the data on the drive! I had a co-worker (i.e. an IT professional) who had a Western Digital external hard drive about eight years ago. This happened to him. He was unable to solve the problem, although he tried very hard for a while.

        I have no idea if this is still a problem, but I would definitely disable any encryption which is built into an external USB hard drive before using the drive.

        Some other thoughts:

        * If you ever intend to plug your drive into a computer which is very old (i.e. the Windows XP era or older), keep in mind that the old computer might not be able to read a drive which is over 2TB. That may not be a concern, but I just thought I’d mention it.

        * If your external drive does not have its own power supply (that is, if it draws power only from the USB line), get a name-brand powered USB hub with its own power supply, and plug your hard drive into the hub. Sometimes not enough power is provided through the USB port to adequately power your device; but if your hub has its own power supply, it should have no trouble powering your hard drive.

        * Make sure your USB hub has at least some USB3 ports, so that you can run your drive at its maximum speed by connecting it as USB3. Name-brand is very important here, because USB3 is relatively new, and you want to make sure your hub and any cables work for USB3. I suggest Cables to Go for any extension cables – that’s what you’ll get if you buy them through I have had no-name USB3 cables which were no good for data – they were good only as charging cables.

        Good luck!


        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2002578 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          I wouldn’t expect the USB to SATA adapter to have encryption unless it was a special adapter. An external disk can have encryption but those tend to be pricey.

          cheers, Paul

          • #2002607 Reply
            AskWoody MVP

            WD (and probably others) do use special adapters for many of their ext. drives, some of those drives also include encryption (was auto-installed by default on some WD drives, as was compression = nightmarish if ‘something’ goes wrong), eg:


      • #2258975 Reply
        Canadian Tech

        One of my clients has had an external hard drive failure. The drive needs to be initialized. This particular drive was purchased at a store about a year ago. It is a WD Mybook. The case cannot be opened unless you are willing to destroy the case. I did just that.

        Inside I found a Seagate drive manufactured in 2008. Using recovery software, I found over 200,000 files (none of the backups). The files that were recovered were the same files that you would find in a typical Windows installation.

        Clearly, a older/used drive was installed at the factory.

        I have always been suspicious of those pre-assembled external drives. Simply, because you have no way of knowing what is inside. This is a case that proved my concerns.

        I strongly recommend you “build” your own. It is extremely simple. Buy a top-end external drive housing — available for as little as $30USD. Buy a top-end 3.5″ internal drive and assemble them. Cost is only slightly higher. Assembly is very simple.


        2 users thanked author for this post.
    Viewing 7 reply threads

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Which External hard drive?

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.